Video: A Cloudy Future For Post Production

Even before the pandemic, post-production was moving into the cloud. With the mantra of bringing your apps to the media, remote working was coming to offices and now it’s also coming to homes. As with any major shift in an industry, it will suit some people earlier than others so while we’re in this transition, it’s work taking some time to ask why people are doing this, why some people are not and what problems are still left unsolved. For a wider context on the move to remote editing, watch this video from IET Media.

This video sees Key Code Media CTO,Jeff Sengpiehl talking to Bebop Technology’s Michael Kammes, Ian McPherson from AWS and Ian Main from Teradici. After laying the context for the discussion, he asks the panel why consumer cloud solutions aren’t suitable for professionals. Michael picks this up first by picking on consumer screen sharing solutions which are optimised for getting a task done and they don’t offer the fidelity and consistency you need for media workflows. When it comes to storage at the consumer level, the cost usually prevents investment in the hardware which would give the low-latency, high-capacity storage which is needed for many professional video formats. Ian then adds that security plays a much bigger role in professional workflows and the moment you bring down some assets to your PC, you’re extending the security boundary into your consumer software and to your house.



The security topic features heavily in this conversation and Michael talks about the Trusted Partner Network who are working on a security specification which, it is hoped, will be a ‘standard’ everyone can work to in order to show a product or solution is secure. The aim is to stop every company having their own thick document detailing their security needs because that means each vendor has to certify themselves time and time again against similar demands but which are all articulated differently and therefore defended differently. Ian explains that cloud providers like AWS provide better physical security than most companies could manage and offer security tools for customers to secure their solution. Many are hoping to form their workflows around the Movielabs 2030 vision which recommends ways to move content through the supply chain with security and auditing in mind.

“What’s stopping people from adopting the cloud for post-production?”, poses Jeff. Cost is one reason people are adopting the cloud and one reason others aren’t. Not dissimilar to the ‘IP’ question in other parts of the supply chain, at this point in the technology’s maturity, the cost savings are most tangible to bigger companies or those with particularly high demands for flexibility and scalability. For a smaller operation, there may simply not be enough benefit to justify the move. Particularly as it would mean adopting tools that take time to learn so, even if temporary, slow down an editor’s ability to deliver a project in the time they’re used to. But on top of that, there’s the issue of cost uncertainty. It’s easy to say how much storage will cost in the cloud, but when you’re using dynamic amounts of computation and moving data in and out of the cloud, estimating your costs becomes difficult and in a conservative industry this uncertainty can form part of a blocker to adoption.

Starting to take questions from the audience, Ian outlines some of the ways to get terabytes of media quickly into the cloud whilst Michael explains his approach to editing with proxies to at least get you started or even for the whole process. Conforming to local, hi-res media may still make sense out of the cloud or you have time to upload the files whilst the project is underway. There’s a brief discussion on the rise of availability of Macs for cloud workflows and a discussion about the difficulty, but possibility, of still having a high-quality monitoring feed on a good monitor even if your workstation is totally remote.

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Ian Main Ian Main
Technical Marketing Principal,
Teradici Corporation
Ian McPherson Ian McPherson
Head of Global Business Development,
Media Supply Chain
Michael Kammes Michael Kammes
VP Marketing & Business Development,
BeBop Technology
Jeff Sengpiehl Jeff Sengpiehl
Key Code Media

Video: It all started with a Reddit post…

A lively conversation today on updating workflows, upskilling staff, when to embrace the cloud…and when not to. Started by a discussion on Reddit, we hear from CEO of Canadian service provider Nextologies, Sasha Zivanovic and co-founder of Nxtedition, Robert Nagy. The discussion, hosted by Adam Leah, starts by tackling the question of how to deal with legacy workflows. The initial disagreement seems to come from the two approaches. Robert’s pragmatic approach acknowledges that legacy workflows can be functional and dysfunctional and the decision on whether to start again or transition lies in whether your current workflow works without constant human intervention or not. Sasha agrees that dysfunctional workflows, ones that fall apart if key people are away, need to be dismantled and reworked at the earliest opportunity. Otherwise, he feels that education is key in ensuring that you teach people how to use the new technologies available and how to create good, robust workflows on which you can really base your future business.

Indeed, for Sasha education is the key because, in his words, ‘there is no 1-800 Amazon’. Being progressive and moving your workflow into the cloud may be the right way forward, but understanding that the cloud providers are only providing infrastructure means that if any little thing doesn’t work, you will need your own staff to explain it and resolve the problem. Even big players who may have access to named Engineers will still have far too many smaller issues that they themselves will have to deal in order to allow their named resources at the cloud provider to work on the higher priority/bigger problems and designs being discussed. Moreover, lack of education is more likely to lead people simply to go with what’s easy namely making something work using free/low-cost hardware and software. Sasha’s point isn’t that free things are bad, but that often the solutions based on getting OBS up and running are often not robust and may accept more compromises such as latency of image quality, than needed.



Robert and Sasha go on to discuss this question of what quality is good enough directly, both advising against superfluous quality as much as recommending avoiding workflows that under spec the stream. Quality needs to come down to your brand, the video’s context and the technical capability of the workflow. To speak to the latter, both Robert and Sasha point out the folly in demanding archives and contribution happen in the ‘house format’ such as 25Mbps. Such bitrates may make a lot of sense on-prem, but for streaming or some cloud workflows are counterproductive and don’t deliver a better result to the viewer. Your brand does need to be considered in order to set a lower bar for the content, but usually, the venue of your video is more important, agree Robert and Sasha, where a YouTube Story would attract a different quality to a Vimeo post to a long-form OTT asset.

The larger concern raised in this conversation is the ‘bifurcation’ of the market. Looking at this from a service provider’s point of view, Sasha sees that the tech companies have increased the size of the market which positive. But with that comes problems. The ease of access to the cloud increases the ability for small players to participate but there is still a high-end place in the market where tier-1 broadcasters play who do benefit from the cloud, but still requires a high investment in time and design to create it along with high Opex. This doesn’t mean overall there is no cost-benefit to those broadcasters, often there is and sometimes it’s not cost they are optimising for. But it’s the gap that concerns Sasha, where those not engaging like tier-1 broadcasters tend to graduate to the bottom end of the market which has much lower revenues than before. Whilst The Broadcast Knowledge would suggest this is where Sasha can prove the worth of his company, anchoring the bottom of the market at a low cost does reduce the opportunities for companies such as Nextologies to charge a sufficient amount to cover costs and maintain competitiveness. Robert and Sasha both agree that that success with clients nowadays is achieved through partnering with them and following, helping and encouraging them on their journey. The value of such a long-term design or product partner is worth more than any single workflow.

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Sasha Zivanovic Sasha Zivanovic
Robert Nagy Robert Nagy
Lead Developer & Co-founder,
Adam Leah Moderator: Adam Leah
Creative Director,

Video: Examining the OTT Technology Stack

This video looks at the whole streaming stack asking what’s now, what trends are coming to the fore and how are things going to be done better in the future? Whatever part of the stack you’re optimising, it’s vital to have a way to measure the QoE (Quality of Experience) of the viewer. In most workflows, there is a lot of work done to implement redundancy so that the viewer sees no impact despite problems happening upstream.

The Streaming Video Alliance’s Jason Thibeault diggs deeper with Harmonic’s Thierry Fautier, Brenton Ough from Touchstream, SSIMWAVE’s Hojatollah Yeganeh and Damien Lucas from Ateme.

Talking about Codecs, Thierry makes the point that only 7% of devices can currently support AV1 and with 10 billion devices in the world supporting AVC, he sees a lot of benefit in continuing to optimise this rather than waiting for VVC support to be commonplace. When asked to identify trends in the marketplace, moving to the cloud was identified as a big influencer that is driving the ability to scale but also the functions themselves. Gone are the days, Brenton says, that vendors ‘lift and shift’ into the cloud. Rather, the products are becoming cloud-native which is a vital step to enable functions and products which take full advantage of the cloud such as being able to swap the order of functions in a workflow. Just-in-time packaging is cited as one example.

Examining the OTT Technology Stack from Streaming Video Alliance on Vimeo.

Other changes are that server-side ad insertion (SSAI) is a lot better in the cloud and sub partitioning of viewers, where you do deliver different ads to different people, is more practical. Real-time access to CDN data allowing you near-immediate feedback into your streaming process is also a game-changer that is increasingly available.

Open Caching is discussed on the panel as a vital step forward and one of many areas where standardisation is desperately needed. ISPs are fed up, we hear, of each service bringing their own caching box and it’s time that ISPs took a cloud-based approach to their infrastructure and enabled multiple use servers, potentially containerised, to ease this ‘bring your own box’ mentality and to take back control of their internal infrastructure.

HDR gets a brief mention in light of the Euro soccer championships currently on air and the Japan Olympics soon to be. Thierry says 38% of Euro viewership is over OTT and HDR is increasingly common, though SDR is still in the majority. HDR is more complex than just upping the resolution and requires much more care over which screen it’s watched. This makes adopting HDR more difficult which may be one reason that adoption is not yet higher.

The discussion ends with a Q&A after talking about uses for ‘edge’ processing which the panel agrees is a really important part of cloud delivery. Processing API requests at the edge, doing SSAI or content blackouts are other examples of where the lower-latency response of edge compute works really well in the workflow.

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Thierry Fautier Thierry Fautier
VP Video Strategy.
Harmonic Inc.
Damien Lucas Damien Lucas
Hojatollah Yeganeh Hojatollah Yeganeh
Research Team Lead
Brenton Ough Brenton Ough
CEO & Co-Founder,
Jason Thibeault Moderator: Jason Thibeault
Executive Director,
Streaming Video Alliance

Video: Workflow Evolution Within the CDN

The pandemic has shone a light on CDNs as they are the backbone of much of what we do with video for streaming and broadcast. CDNs aim to scale up in a fast, sophisticated way so you don’t have to put in the research to achieve this yourself. This panel from the Content Delivery Summit sees Dom Robinson bringing together Jim Hall from Fastly with Akamai’s Peter Chave, Ted Middleton from Amazon and Paul Tweedy from BBC Design + Engineering.

The panel discusses the fact that although much video conferencing traffic being WebRTC isn’t supported, there are a lot of API calls that are handled by the CDN. In fact, over 300 trillion API calls were made to Amazon last year. Zoom and other solutions do have an HLS streaming option that has been used and can benefit from CDN scaling. Dom asks whether people’s expectations have changed during the pandemic and then we hear from Paul as he talks a little about the BBC’s response to Covid.



THE CTA’s Common Media Client Data standard, also known as CTA 5004, is a way for a video player to pass info back to the CDN. In fact, this is so powerful that it can provide highly granular real-time reports for customers but also enables hints to be handed back from the players so the CDNs can pre-fetch content that is likely to be needed. Furthermore, having a standard for logging will be great for customers who are multi-CDN and need a way to match logs and analyse their system in its entirety. This work is also being extended, under a separate specification to be able to look upstream in a CDN workflow to understand the status of other systems like edge servers.

The panel touches on custom-made analytics, low latency streaming such as Apples LL-HLS and why it’s not yet been adopted, current attempts in the wild to bring HLS latency down, Edge computing and piracy.

Watch now!

Peter Chave Peter Chave
Principal Architect,
Akamai Technologies
Paul Tweedy Paul Tweedy
Lead Architect, Online Technology Group,
BBC Design + Engineering
Ted Middleton Ted Middleton
Global Leader – Specialized Solution Architects, Edge Services
Jim Hall Jim Hall
Principal Sales Engineer,
Dom Robinson Moderator: Dom Robinson
Director and Creative Firestarter, id3as
Contributing Editor,, UK