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Are You Ready to Take Advantage of Post Production in the Cloud?

Published: March 31st 2017

(Excerpted from: http://www.digitalcinemasociety.org/essay/are-you-ready-to-take-advantage-of-post-production-in-cloud)

James Mathers
Cinematographer and Founder of the Digital Cinema Society

No longer a vague concept for the future; Post Production in the Cloud is here now and getting more practical by the day. While questions of content security and bandwidth have been keeping all but early adopters from taking advantage, many in the Industry are starting to see the benefits of this technology and preparing for widespread deployment.

After running into him at the HPA Tech Retreat, I was explaining my dilemma to my old friend Lance Maurer, CEO of Cinnafilm. His company, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has long been creating some of the highest level software for image processing in the Industry. Their tool sets can be found working in most top Post facilities to perform such functions as format and frame rate conversions, runtime retiming while also controlling grain levels, de-interlacing, scaling, de-noising, along with removal of dust and interlace artifacts. In short, they have specialized in helping post facilities fix problem video and transform outdated formats up to the optimum in quality, which is just the kind of help I was looking for.

Cloud computing and bandwidth have now advanced to the point where Cinnafilm has decided to offer their services directly via a Cloud platform they are calling PixelStrings. Now anyone, from any location with an internet connection, can take advantage of these high-end offerings. Whether they are major Studios or boutique operations, they can help to insure optimum image quality on any screen.

PixelStrings will initially be available in the public Cloud on AWS (using S3 storage), and eventually on other Cloud platforms as well. In addition, it will be available for private Cloud integrations through various partners and an API. PixelStrings will be on a pay-as-you-go basis, by-the-output-minute for just the services you require. Pricing will be very competitive and include all processing, software fees, and compute costs, but will not include data storage or egress charges.

PixelStrings is in active beta test now, which proved to be excellent timing for me. Lance offered to apply his best medicine to my tired, old demo video. I simply uploaded the material to PixelStrings and shortly after was able to download the much improved material, now in full HD with vivid color and very little of the previously noticeable grain and artifacts.
Once the service goes live to the public by Fall of this year, it will be followed by an IMF option available in early 2018, and full DCP outputs by the second quarter of 2018. The goal is to offer creatives the power to fix, convert, or optimize their content, and then to deliver the best-looking IMF and DCP packages possible.

It will still be a challenging undertaking, but would border on the impossible without such a Cloud workflow. So the question remains, are you ready to take advantage of post production in the Cloud? I know I am.