April 25, 2012 by Paul Trumbore

What Kind of Clouds Are Rolling In?

So the other day I was talking to a client who had just gotten back from NAB. When I asked, “How was it?”, she immediately started talking about that nebulous place that we’ve all heard of yet few have actually seen, The Cloud.

For some time now, there have been various cloud computing solutions available to the video/interactive professional, as well as to the average consumer. Until recently, these solutions have mostly involved content encoding and delivery. But I could tell by the way my client was talking that soon a Cloud would be hanging over my head in other aspects of my professional life.

And sure enough, less than one week later, I’m reading about the latest addition to Google’s pantheon of on-line tools, Google Drive, and how it is going to play nice with the on-line video editing software We Video. Thus we have Dropbox for the video editor. Soon, We Video will show up right next to the other apps Google so graciously lets us use for free. And their cloud storage could replace or complement whatever direct attached storage most editors have whirring away, somewhere in close proximity.

Now certainly this all has a ways to go. We Video is a Flash-based app that feels kind of like editing in iMovie, Version 1, after you’ve had a lobotomy. (Insert your FCPX jokes here.) And the storage scenario is a little pricy, as in $800/month for 16TB. But just think how quickly all that can change, especially now that Google is driving the bus. And we don’t even fully know how Apple’s iCloud and Adobe’s Creative Cloud will eventually fit into the picture.

So at this point, one might ask, “What is the real impact of this going to be?”. A valid question and one to which I’m not sure I have the answer. So when attempting to evaluate any new technology I usually try to answer a different question; “How is this going to help me sleep at night?”. Well, working for a company that utilizes 12 TBs of enterprise class video storage and has, at times, several projects in various stages of production/post-production simultaneously, what helps me sleep at night is the fact that we do nightly backups of all that data. With Google now pushing the Dropbox model to its next logical step, the time may soon come to pass when we would have not just nightly backups of our data, but immediate backups that are automatic and stored off-site. The thought of that makes me wonder if it’s possible to get too much sleep.

And certainly there are implications beyond the less-than-sexy talk of data backup. For this won’t just be a backup of data, it will be an active clone of data that can be accessed from anywhere. (At least that’s how I’m envisioning it based on my experience with Dropbox.) And with the We Video interface, or eventually with other interfaces, (I’m looking at you, Apple, Adobe, Avid and Autodesk.) we won’t just be accessing data, we will be accessing entire projects, making changes, collaborating with other professionals as well as our clients in a way that becomes ever more fluid and immediate.

Just something to consider as we continue to tether ourselves to The Cloud.

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