Sunday, November 20, 2011

Natural disasters and the future of post

It starts in Japan. The Fukushima area was devastated by the tsunami. Along with thousands of dead and injured, the tsunami caused heavy damages on the Sony manufacturing plant causing a shortage of professional recording media, mostly HDCAM and HDCAM SR tapes.
The shortage of physical media helped realizing the importance, and now necessity, of file based workflow. It's said that nothing boosted the on going tapeless trend as much as the Japanese tsunami did.
So the tapeless era kicked in. Everyone who wasn't there yet got forced in and the hard drives were spinning like there's no tomorrow.
Until, another natural disaster struck. Just as we got used to save out masters and FTP our programs instead of writing the to tape. Just as we ordered a few extra terrebytes to our SANs and got used to the ease and simplicity of fast, random access, cheap drives, disaster struck the second time. This time flooding Thailand and washing those hard drive manufacturers with it.
Hard drive prices are rocketing and upgrading the old SAN is now much more expensive, if at all possible.

As far as the video/film production industry concerns, this couldn't have happen in a worst timing. Or has it.
Maybe this natural disaster can be turned, just like the first one, to our advantage. Maybe this event can drive a new paradigm once again. The industry evolved from tapes to drives. Maybe the time is ripe for another revolution - from drives to the cloud.
There are already quite a few cloud based e d i t o r s. At worst they're gimmick, at best they're a proof of concept. But they're definitely going that direction. Adobe has already started offering their software as a service. For now it's mostly for still images, but it won't be long until they, and others will offer professional video oriented products.
It's called taking lemons and make lemonade. Or maybe take the flood and make it into a cloud. Whatever you call it, the future is there.
And if you claim, correctly, that cloud based editing is also dependent on drives. Well it is, but Google, Amazon and Apple probably have a few spindles at hand. At least until the next disaster strikes.

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