Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, editing workflows were mostly tethered to physical infrastructure and fixed on-premises workstations. While a few forward-thinking organisations were exploring cloud-based workflows, the majority did not see an immediate need to reconfigure their approach. But in many cases those organisations were already upgrading their storage from LTO to digital, undergoing the process of moving at least some of their content to the cloud.
The question then became – if the media assets you are working with are cloud-based, then why aren’t your workflows based there too?
From a storage perspective, both time and resources are saved when content can be kept consistently in the cloud, rather than incurring data egress charges to download it. While the process of referencing media assets has become relatively straightforward, editing in the cloud proved to be more challenging until recently.
For a long time, the common use-case for video editing in a cloud and web environment has been the creation and sharing of short marketing and social videos. The huge file formats associated with broadcast grade content were considered far too cumbersome for online workflows. But as content is now arriving in the cloud, thanks to the huge content demand from OTT and streaming platforms, it seems far more logical to keep media supply chains fully cloud-based.
Most of the current solutions on the market focus on collaboration as the key driver, rather than a pure video editing experience. Tools for collaboration, review and approval are certainly valuable especially in a world where remote working has become the norm. However, for cloud editing to be adopted seamlessly, it needs to integrate with existing tools and not try to reinvent the editor’s workspace.
The impact of Covid has highlighted the need for a new kind of business continuity. Organisations now worry less about the physical premises and more about how their staff will continue to work on projects regardless of where they are based.
The way that teams work is changing, and the best talent will be attracted to employers that offer flexibility. Cloud based workflows are the definition of the new agile approach to content development. Offering the best talent, the chance to work from anywhere.
Companies need to consider tapping into a broad talent pool and operating truly globally rather than from a limited number of office hubs. By decentralizing their editing resources, they can maximise content workflows but also support creativity as well.
Editors have spent years building their workflows and it is not practical to force them to change direction entirely. For editing processes to be seamless, users need to quickly select and make editing decisions based on time coded information, using workflows that sit on top of existing tools.
By connecting with industry standard approaches, cloud-based editing solutions can enable media companies to stay agile and onboard new staff and freelancers extremely quickly. Rather than having to completely reformat their approach editors should be able to transition with minimal disruption, in order to meet the ongoing high demand for content.
To facilitate this shift, solutions need to be cloud native and lightweight. Too many organisations are trying to bolt on solutions that are not built for the cloud. These products may be referred to as "cloud ready" but they have not been designed from the ground up for the express purpose of slotting into a cloud-based workflow.
When designed from scratch, cloud-based solutions can adapt workflows as they evolve rather than offer a band aid to the demands of remote working. It is important that providers are able to constantly iterate and innovate, with updates regularly rolled out and integrated seamlessly. It is crucial that editing solution providers are working with users and listening to their needs, rather than pushing a standardised product.