It’s no secret that we are in the middle of a post-production evolution. Where we work, how we edit, and how we access resources, continue to change and develop. Workforces have migrated to remote work, many permanently. Streaming services are displacing broadcast, creating a demand for more high-quality content faster than ever before. Environmental concerns are pressuring companies to become more sustainable.
What we don’t know is what comes next:
- How should companies invest moving forward—through capital investments and expenses (CapEx) or day-to-day operational expenses (OpEx)?
- Can remote production handle this new wave of projects without slowdowns?
- What about cloud security? Though many (if not most) post-production companies already store significant amounts of data in the cloud, the difference between storing and working in the cloud can still feel novel and untested.
Here, at Avid, we think about what’s next, too, and want to help answer these questions. Consistently reaching out to you, our customer community, for feedback and to hear about your experiences gives us the information we need to know what to innovate, and how to provide support, so that you can advance and grow. Your success is our success.
This article is the first in a series of three articles examining the evolution of production and the economic and operational benefits of moving content creation to the cloud. The articles are based on a whitepaper we published, Avid | Edit On Demand - The New Evolution of Production, and explore trends driving companies to the cloud, why remote post-production workflows make operational and economic sense, and why it’s important to move from a CapEx to an OpEx model.
Trends driving companies to the cloud
One of the biggest issues we’ve heard from Avid customers is how cloud-based video production and subscription-based technologies are changing the way businesses invest in their futures. We believe in the power of the cloud to maximize workflows, collaboration, and outcome. Our Avid | Edit On Demand is helping media and production companies do more with less.
Avid | Edit On Demand is a solution that worked and allowed us to save costs and leap into something that we had planned would take maybe a year and a half or two years—and we did it in five weeks.
-Sébastian Grandsire, managing director, La Fabrique, France TV’s internal productions.
Shifting consumer habits, increased competition between streaming services, and declining broadcast and cable TV revenue continue to drive operational and economic change. Pressure on production companies to work faster while retaining high quality continues to mount. And, the move from working on-premises in studios and rented spaces to working from home or in hybrid environments is expected to remain in place. With flexible pricing, scalability, and continuous updates, Software as a Service (SaaS) and Data as a Service (DaaS) models have become the new business norm and continue to find a foothold in every aspect of today’s ever-evolving market. Companies are rethinking strategy with an eye toward sustainability.
In light of all of these developments, adoption of the cloud as part of a broader deployment strategy is expanding.
Companies that adopt the cloud will bring new capabilities to market more quickly, innovate more easily, and scale more efficiently—while also reducing technology risk.
-McKinsey Digital, How CIOs and CTOs Can Accelerate Digital Transformations Through Cloud Platforms, September 15, 2020
Why moving to the cloud makes operational and economic sense
The “on demand” economy streamlines the supply-demand process, providing consumers with what they need exactly when they need it. People expect immediacy, and the media world has not escaped these expectations. Clients are pushing for faster turnaround times, and technology is improving to make that more doable. SaaS enables production companies to fluidly adapt to client requests and scale up or down as needed. Companies can leave issues like capacity optimization and technology troubleshooting to providers, cutting IT and data storage costs significantly.
The situation one production company found itself in exemplifies the benefits of video editing in the cloud. The client needed six hours of content, shot across four continents, edited and delivered by Black Spot Media in just four weeks—a challenging task by any means. To make the project even more difficult, Black Spot’s production team was remote. John Laskas, creative director/founder of Black Spot, knew that the project, while massive, was doable with the right tools. He turned to Avid | Edit On Demand and its full production environment in the cloud.
“We were able to work across continents, across all the different time zones, as if we were literally sitting in our office,” Laskas explains. “We found no difference at all. And because we could add seats whenever we wanted, our creative directors who weren’t necessarily editors were able to log onto the system and review content in real time. It was a seamless experience.”
Why move to OpEx?
The shift away from CapEx towards OpEx-focused business strategies has accelerated rapidly—and with good reason. Post-production companies traditionally relied on and invested heavily in CapEx, including on-premises servers, workstations, studios, and more. OpEx was usually thought of as day-to-day-only expenses, like salaries and electricity. In this new era of remote work, cloud reliance, and the SaaS tech boom have completely changed the playing field leading to OpEx driving business, while CapEx takes a back seat.
Investing in OpEx gives companies more flexibility, scalability, and often increased savings. Even though this trend toward more OpEx had begun pre-pandemic, the forced global experimentation of cloud-based SaaS and DaaS technology during the pandemic has led to widescale adoption of OpEx as a sustainable investment model.
Many find that it’s not advantageous to invest in new buildings or other physical assets when so much of the workforce is remote. Even with pandemic restrictions lifting, a sizable percentage of the workforce is staying home. Studies reveal that companies offering remote work options produce happier, more productive employees. The long-distance work-life balance model is anticipated to stay.
It is forecasted that 25-30% of the U.S. workforce will be working from home one or more days a week after the pandemic.
-Kate Lister, president, Global Workplace Analytics
Why Avid | Edit On Demand
As the post-production environment keeps shifting, Avid continues to innovate to meet those changing demands. Avid | Edit On Demand is the right tool for its familiarity, subscription service that allows you to only pay for what you need, quick and easy collaborative editing environment, security, and bandwidth.
“I think there’s almost no reason not to go with a system like this,” says Chris Rash, director of post production, Sawhorse Productions and Luminosity Entertainment. “When you factor in cost, the overall quality of life for the people doing the editing not having to leave their house and sit in traffic—it’s such a great way to do it, especially not having to make the kind of investments you’d have to do with building out a physical facility.
I’m sure there will be instances where your director wants to be in the same room as the editors—but they can do that from their house, or they can do it from a facility and connect in via hardline. This is a solution that I will champion going forward.”
MORE IN THIS SERIES
The Cloud’s Role in the Production Evolution
Staying current on post-production trends, including cloud based video production, is key to success. Get details on what’s driving the industry.
CapEx vs. OpEx in the Production Evolution
Post production in the cloud can boost profits, increase efficiency, and optimize enterprise business—if done correctly.