all just a little bit of history repeating

All just a little bit of History repeating…

Having worked in video post-production for a few years 🙂 , I remember when non-linear editing first arrived at the end of the 80’s.

Only for the chosen ones

At that time all video editing was done using tape based edit suites, often with many VTR’s, Vision Mixers and Video Effect systems, all controlled by a computerised edit controller. These “Online” edit suites were very expensive to buy and the hourly rates at facility houses could run into hundreds of pounds per hour.

In an effort to reduce costs, many projects were first “offlined” in low cost tape suites, often using VHS with burnt in timecode to view and make decisions about the edit which could then be replicated in the “Online” suite. But these were still tape suites and so the restrictions of linear editing still applied.

If you wanted to make a change to your edit that affected the length of a shot, you had to redo everything from that point, or copy the whole thing to a new tape.

The feeling of freedom with the first NLE, but…

The first non-linear systems to arrive allowed editors to edit with complete flexibility, effectively they were the video equivalent of word processors. But the early systems had poor picture quality and limited capability. They also came from small companies, not the behemoths of Sony, Ampex, JVC etc and a lot of editors dismissed them as unsuitable for professional work.

I was immediately taken with the possibilities of non-linear and started using a system from Lightworks which revolutionised our workflow. I remember other editors that I knew warning me that I shouldn’t waste my time on a system from an unknown company like Lightworks or Avid, as Sony would be bound to release a system that would out perform them “very soon”. I’m still waiting 🙂

Fast forward nearly 30 years and we now have a similar situation with Cloud based editing, except now the behemoths are Avid and Adobe. Whilst it is still very expensive and complicated to “Online” in the cloud, with full resolution content and sophisticated grading and effects, it is perfectly possible to “offline” edit, using lower quality proxies to view and make decisions about the content before completing the job in a traditional editing system.

Finally, it’s possible!

With the advances in Camera technology over the past few years it is now cheap to shoot HD or even 4K content. This had led to new ways of shooting with multiple cameras which provide more coverage for “reality” type TV shows. This can create a nightmare for the post production team in terms of dealing with all that footage and managing the edit within the tight timescales that are now expected.

The first step in any editing process is simply viewing the material, by getting it into the cloud as quickly as possible you can grant access to as many members of the production team as required so they can start to organise and manage the media.

Viewing, logging, syncing, transcription, translation, sync pulls and rough cuts are all stages in the editing process that don’t need access to the full resolution media and can really benefit from Cloud based access.

As long as the Cloud based system can track and manage the metadata and export it to the finishing suite then it makes perfect sense to do all your initial work in the cloud and then only load the media you need for the online.

The time savings of getting access to your media minutes after it has been shot are substantial, and the cost savings of only ingesting selected rushes in to the online system make using a cloud based offline system a no brainer.

Having seen all the changes in editing technology over the years I am proud to be part of the team that have developed Forscene, the simplest cloud editing system in the world. Using our patented Blackbird codec allows you to view content from anywhere with access to the internet, freeing your team from expensive edit suites and streamlining the post production process. All the initial stages of editing can be carried out in the cloud, saving time, saving money and improving your end result.

Neil Roberts
Solutions Specialist

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  1. As one of the engineers who designed the original online NLE, the Quantel Henry, Harry etc. you have failed to realise why people do not want cloud editing, it is security! For news, I need speed so uploading is simply a waste of time, and for high budget material (drama, feature film) I cannot consider not having my material under lock and key. There is also the cost element, the finest editor/grader/ fx/finishing system is not very expensive and storage arrays are very cheap now. The Avid etc products are effective for offline and news, so why change? The Quantel product driver was real time editing, and had no competition because computers did not have the processing or storage speed. But now a very capable PC is very cheap indeed, and probably adequate for simple tasks.

    1. Thanks for your comments Dave,
      But I think you have failed to understand the benefits of working in the cloud with Forscene.
      We can get media to editors 15 seconds after it has been shot, while the cameraman is still shooting, so there is no time wasted with “uploading” They can edit using the proxies and then export metadata back to where the full resolution material is stored to render for delivery. We can playback an edit that has been created using our proxies without rendering, so sending a copy for review and approval takes seconds. You mention security, our codec is proprietary and cannot be played back outside of our platform.
      We can control access to projects using varying levels of security and can ring fence content within a project so it is only available to certain users. The master rushes are kept secure and are only accessed when a final render is required for delivery.
      In terms of computer power, you can run our editing client in a browser on any recent computer, Mac or PC, and work in real time with zero latency on just a 2Mb/s internet connection.
      This allows complete freedom for the entire production team and allows all viewing, logging, transcription, syncing, rough cut and fine cut editing to take place wherever they are located. Quantel made great systems in their day, but the world has moved on since then.


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