Amy Lounsbury, Director of Marketing for Acorn Cloud, by CHESA, sat down with Skip Levens, Marketing Director of Media and Entertainment for Quantum. CatDV, one of the most adopted MAM platforms in Media and Entertainment, is now a Quantum company. CatDV is a solution inside Acorn Cloud. We appreciate Skip sharing with others the key benefits of video collaboration tools today. Let’s jump into our discussion!
Question: You and I go way back. You have been working with media and entertainment companies for over two decades. Why don’t you give me a review of your background in the industry?
Answer: I’ll give you the super-compressed version. I was working at a Silicon Valley real estate company in the late 1990s selling million-dollar houses to tech moguls. I was using the NeXt computer. We were one of Steve Jobs’ largest customers. That operating system blew me away. When Steve returned to Apple, I said I’ve got to get to Apple. And I did. In late 1999, they hired me to teach internet and web serving on Mac OS8.
Apple had this initiative to build their own IU servers followed shortly by Fibre channels speeding up data transfers and Xsan storing the data. These innovations, together with Final Cut software, allowed team members to do awesome editing and television and film production. Prior to these innovations, you could not compete in the industry unless you had a massive facility and spent big dollars. These innovations democratized video production and you saw the rise of independent film and video production companies.
Almost every industry realized that they needed tools to track their digital assets. In those days it was called DAM. Over time, it morphed into becoming richer and richer until it was a full-blown media asset management tool. The technology just kept getting better and better. And here comes CatDV. CatDV was the first digital asset management system to focus on video media assets.
Today, video collaboration tools, including cloud and remote technology have come along and changed the landscape all over again. It’s really exciting to see.
Question: Video editing, as we all know, has moved to a remote workflow faster than we all expected. We saw it coming but it is now here. Tell me, what are the key benefits of collaboration tools today, given this demand for editing remotely and in The Cloud?
Answer: While each team values different things, one significant benefit is that your video assets are no longer housed on one workstation or external hard drive. Your data is protected from physical accidents and your digital assets are managed, backed up and available to the full team. So, your management of digital assets is much improved.
But cloud-based systems also include collaboration tools. The best video collaboration tools never limit the workflow, the creative vision, or how your production teams want to execute it.
It is the job of platform designers, experts, and integrators to help serve that vision by making all aspects of video production go quickly, smoothly, and as seamlessly as possible. Creatives are chasing that flow, the mental state where time flies by. In that flow state where things feel like real time, they are creating efficiencies and using tools instinctively. That’s what everybody wants.
The integrators and workflow designers at CHESA and Quantum worked towards the goal of helping creatives hit that high-performance state where they work faster and more smoothly, where collaboration is seamless because they are not fighting the tools.
Question: Research shows editors expect to work in real time, even working from home remotely, as much as possible. What would you say to someone who needs a workflow for their production and post-production team who is spread out across the US, wants high performance, good data backup, fast data transfers for multiple users, shared storage, and data security? What should they be looking for?
Answer: They should be looking for high performance, good data backup, fast data transfers for multiple users, and data security.
Many remote users will be working on cable modems so bandwidth or network connection is an obstacle when working on large video files remotely. A platform that can build a mezzanine or proxy version is essential. It allows team members to work with these much lighter-weight files that they can throw around and make projects in the context of their workflow.
Video production and post-production require powerful asset management, automation, and collaboration tools. You are managing large volumes of digital media. Your video files and other assets must be accessible to everyone else on the team because there are a lot of other functions that need to happen. And of course, data security is essential.
Question: With so many different types of video collaboration solutions out there, a NAS (network attached storage) workflow in a hybrid scenario, on-prem and in The Cloud, is trending. How do you see CatDV and Acorn Cloud helping bridge the gap?
Answer: When a production team is designing a workflow, they’ve got a couple of different platforms they can rely on. I’m impressed with how the CHESA team has leveraged their expertise with Acorn Cloud. Take CatDV which works well out of the box but has so many points where it can be adapted and extended and built out and customized. Acorn Cloud saves time in implementation and has also integrated several different workflow tools including CatDV, Lucid Link, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Smaller production companies get the benefits of all the expertise that CHESA brings to bear for their very well-known content creator customers.
When video production companies contact you, sign up, and take advantage of this expertise right away they can rapidly recreate this flow state. Their production people are seamlessly using these cloud-based tools and automatically having files organized, managed, tagged, protected, archived, and retrieved precisely when needed. The perfect balance of cost, scalability, and economics.
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Acorn Cloud is more than a workflow; it is a solution with full support and services behind it. Contact us today to see how Acorn Cloud can transform your video collaboration process.
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