The events of the last two years have transformed our personal and professional lives, challenging us to find new paths to continue moving forward. For many in the content-production industry, this translated to a pivot to the cloud, either fully or in a hybrid scenario. At the same time, this meant cloud providers, technology partners, creative vendors and studios had to come together to establish new workflows and processes supporting the secure and rapid creation of high-quality content. The end result is more advanced, comprehensive solutions that are making the cloud more approachable for creative teams.
Cloud adoption in content production has steadily grown for years, as the economics of cloud-based pricing and an OpEx approach to resources began to prove more advantageous than standing up physical infrastructure, depending on the use case. At the pandemic’s onset, we saw that rate of adoption noticably accelerate, and in the last 20 months, the key learnings we’ve uncovered are feeding into the technology we are making available to studios and artists, and posit for a bright future for customers working on cloud-based productions.
Historically, content production, post and tool development have operated in silos. Data was passed around, with great difficulty, between the various parts of the production, making it difficult to manage and optimize. In the last few years, we’ve started to see how the cloud is helping to connect these previously disparate pieces. Camera-to-cloud technology and simplified paths have made it easier for productions to send raw footage directly to the cloud. There, post vendors can do their magic and collaborate with other creatives, remotely, and without having to transfer data. We can bring the artists to the data instead of the other way around. Many of the entertainment industry’s most used tools are now cloud-compatible, if not cloud-optimized. These developments have allowed creatives to continue working in their preferred manner, albeit with more flexibility, freedom and access to near-infinite compute resources.
In a similar vein, by bringing tool creators and users closer together, developers are better informed to create tools and solutions that meet their users’ unique needs. At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we have a dedicated internal creative studio, FuzzyPixel, that helps inform development across a range of AWS for M&E services. For example, earlier this year, as we were preparing to launch Amazon Nimble Studio, a new service that enables a full cloud-based creative studio to be spun up in mere hours, FuzzyPixel artists used the technology behind Amazon Nimble Studio to create a :90 animated short film titled Spanner (pictured). The project featured heavy atmospherics, detailed hair and cloth simulations, and an intricate airship. Alongside other users, early customers and technology partners' input, the feedback of the FuzzyPixel team has helped shape the development of Amazon Nimble Studio as they also use it in production for their next project, set to debut in early 2022.
As cloud-based production matures and services like Amazon Nimble Studio make it more accessible, creative studios will be able to reach deeper into the cloud and leverage services that make use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create greater efficiencies in their workflows. At the same time, cloud technology partners will also be able to harness these capabilities to build out their tools and features, creating an end-to-end creative ecosystem in the cloud with a wealth of possibilities.
Antony Passemard is the general manager of Amazon Nimble Studio (https://aws.amazon.com/nimble-studio).