Paul Babb, President/CEO, MAXON US
Bruce K. Long, CEO and Co-founder, BeBop Technology
Pierson Clair, Faculty, Viterbi School of Engineering, USC
Denise Muyco, Co-Founder and CEO, StratusCore
Emery Wells, CEO and Co-Founder, Frame.io
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on the Buzz we look at IaaS, infrastructure as a service. This has the same power to disrupt traditional media creation as did digital video or NLEs, but what is it? Is it just cloud storage, or is it something much more? Tonight, we find out.
Larry Jordan: We start with Paul Babb, the CEO of Maxon US. Paul defines the three latest cloud buzzwords, IaaS, SaaS and PaaS, then he explains why they’re important to media creators and their potential to disrupt our entire industry.
Larry Jordan: Pierson Clair is a digital forensic investigator. He gets called in when companies have a data breach. He also teaches computer security at USC. Tonight he explains whether the data we store in the cloud is actually secure and what we can do to keep it safe. His answers will surprise you.
Larry Jordan: Emery Wells, the CEO and co-founder of Frame.io explains their cloud based media tools. Frame.io focuses on collaboration, media transfer and review and approval for teams. This week they launch their latest product, Frame.io Enterprise.
Larry Jordan: Denise Muyco is the CEO and co-founder of StratusCore. This is a cloud based service designed for visual effects artists. Rather than run powerful VFX software from your personal computer, you can run it from much more powerful machines, stored in the cloud. Tonight she explains how it works.
Larry Jordan: Moving our tools to the cloud requires a major change in our thinking about where we store assets, the kind of gear we need to buy, and where we can do our work. Bruce Long is the CEO and co-founder of BeBop Technology. Tonight we talk with Bruce about the implications IaaS has for artists, production houses, software developers, and clients.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus James DeRuvo with our weekly DoddleNEWS update. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts – production – filmmakers – post production – and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, the Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: Welcome to the Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry, covering media production, post production and marketing around the world.
Larry Jordan: Hi, my name is Larry Jordan. Tonight’s show grew out of a conversation after this year’s NAB about what were the new technologies that were likely to disrupt media creation, and we realized that cloud based collaboration was one of those services. While the cloud itself is not new, what is new is the number of firms that are using it to provide new services to filmmakers, all revolving around the idea of collaboration. But the cloud is not a perfect place. We read every day about data breaches, malware and inadequate security, so tonight we look at a variety of tools for improved collaboration, along with a deeper look at a new term called infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, and whether the cloud has enough security to keep our assets safe. This is a show you need to hear.
Larry Jordan: By the way, I want to invite you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at the Buzz, quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to filmmakers. Best of all, every issue is free and comes out on Friday.
Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update, with James DeRuvo. Hello James.
James DeRuvo: Hi Larry.
Larry Jordan: It’s wonderful to hear your voice, but I understand you’re on the road today. Where are you?
James DeRuvo: I’m on assignment. I’m covering VidCon, the annual digital media content creator confab in Anaheim, California. Think of it as NAB meets Comic Con.
Larry Jordan: Anybody interesting there?
James DeRuvo: A lot of really big YouTube stars are here, Freddie Wong, Joseph Graceffa, you see them all over the floor, and I’ll give a hint. If you hear 1,000 pre-teenage girls screaming at the top of their lungs, there’s probably a YouTube star nearby.
Larry Jordan: Let’s shift gears from where you are to what the news is. What’s our lead story this week?
James DeRuvo: The big breaking news yesterday was that Adobe acquired the Mettle SkyBox suite of Virtual Reality Tools. These are drag and drop plugins for Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere. Mettle got everybody’s attention because they created the world’s first virtual 360 degree camera for editing within the VR space, and Adobe being that they have wanted to amp up their virtual reality workflows in Premiere Pro, have decided that they wanted to buy it. So they didn’t buy the company, they just bought the SkyBox Virtual Reality suite of tools. Mettle’s creator Chris Bobotis will join the Adobe family and even though support for the existing SkyBox plugins will continue through Mettle, any new purchases will be handled through Adobe after a brief hiatus, and with their new SkyBox VR tools, Adobe is expanding into the virtual reality workspace with a vengeance. It only makes sense that they go after some shovel ready tools designed to easily incorporate into the create cloud eco system.
Larry Jordan: Adobe has taken the lead in VR though Apple has announced that Final Cut will be catching up later this year. I think this is a very interesting acquisition and I’m curious to see what they do with it.
James DeRuvo: We’ll see how it works.
Larry Jordan: What else have you got?
James DeRuvo: Well being as I’m at VidCon this week, Switcher Studio announced a new update, version 3.3 and it only comes out three months after their last update which they announced at NAB. As its main features, it has the ability to connect to up to nine mobile devices that can then be switchable for live video streaming. New controls include quickly adding photos, videos, lower thirds and overlays to Facebook Live broadcasts and YouTube Live. Plus connections to desktop webcams or via Skype for interviews and talking head segments, and motion control via the DJI Osmo Mobile device. Since Facebook and YouTube Live have gotten into the live streaming game, it has exploded and Switcher Studio and mobile Switcher Go apps make it shamefully easy for anyone to start their own IPTV studio. With up to nine IOS connections and switching from an iPad or an iPhone, you literally have a broadcast studio in your pocket.
Larry Jordan: It’s just amazing what we’re able to do with mobile devices these days, and Switcher Studio has been taking the lead. I’m looking forward to hearing how that new version ends up. What else have we got?
James DeRuvo: You know what you can also do with a mobile device? You can make phone calls.
Larry Jordan: Shocking isn’t it? So what’s our third story today?
James DeRuvo: Our third story this week is Filmstro Music, the music scoring app got a big update this week. The music licensing app offers recording soundtrack music that can then be edited for the tone and feel of the music, according to the piece’s momentum, depth and power. So you can take this pre-recorded music and you can tweak it and make it sound different than it originally is. It’s a really interesting concept. They’ve expanded the library to over 60 albums of music and over a selection of different genres with expanded collections and favorites features for organizing, and you now have the ability to buy each track a la carte, or purchase the entire album licensing.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where do they go on the web?
James DeRuvo: All these stories can be found at Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: James DeRuvo is the senior writer for DoddleNEWS and returns with our weekly DoddleNEWS update next week. James, you take care, we’ll talk to you next week and enjoy VidCon.
James DeRuvo: Talk to you next week Larry.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and storytellers. From photography to filmmaking, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Paul Babb is the president and CEO of Maxon US as well as a graphic software technology expert with almost 20 years of experience in 3D animation, visual effects and motion graphics. Hello Paul, welcome back.
Paul Babb: Hey Larry, thanks for having me.
Larry Jordan: Paul, today we are talking about the cloud and collaboration, so to get us started in this discussion, could you define the three latest cloud buzzwords which are IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS?
Paul Babb: Don’t you love that? They have to make the cloud even more complicated by breaking it into sub subjects.
Larry Jordan: Well, as a media person, I’m not sure we can stand on any kind of platform when it comes to acronyms.
Paul Babb: Exactly. Well the AAS is as a service for all these different cloud service models, and yes these three are just different types of cloud service models. I’d say most people are tapping SaaS on a regular basis if you’re using Google Docs or any kind of the Google apps or Microsoft 365. Basically software as a service, SaaS, is a software distribution on the internet. So it’s the ability to use a piece of software that’s not hosted on your own computer, it’s hosted on the cloud.
Larry Jordan: Is that similar to just renting software?
Paul Babb: Well, you can certainly rent software as a service, or SaaS, but it defines that it’s hosted on the cloud, so for instance if you have Adobe Creative suite, but the software is on your machine and you’re subscribing to that, that wouldn’t necessarily be software as a service since it’s hosted on your local machine. You have to download that software and install it.
Larry Jordan: OK, what’s PaaS?
Paul Babb: PaaS is platform as a service. Now, platform as a service is the next level. It’s a pre-defined environment that allows developers to build applications and services over the internet. So for instance, our development team at Maxon is very virtual. There are programmers all over the world, and they utilize PaaS by developing on a particular platform so they can share code, the same code base in the same location, a cloud location, so they can all be contributing to that. That would be something like Atlassian which is great provider of platform as a service. There’s Beanstalk, Windows, Heroku, and Google actually has an app engine I believe that you could call that as a platform as a service as well. It’s a platform that’s been pre-defined, there’s a framework that the developers can work from and deploy products on that service. So they could use that platform to deploy a software as a service for other people.
Larry Jordan: OK, that gets me to the one that I’m most interested in for tonight, which is IaaS.
Paul Babb: Really? The one you’re most interested in?
Larry Jordan: Indeed.
Paul Babb: I would say that IaaS is the base layer. It’s virtual machines, it’s hard disk storage, it’s servers, it’s machines that serve as load balancers. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical server, it can also be a virtual location. But that’s the base level, you’re paying a company to provide you hardware on the fly, on a network, and you’re building from scratch basically, so programmers have to build the complete architecture. They’re responsible for implementing everything on that server.
Larry Jordan: It seems to me that IaaS reminds me of back in the old days when we had mainframes and local terminals which the PC revolution replaced. Is IaaS just another turn of the circle back to emulating mainframes?
Paul Babb: Yes, and you could even call these companies that provide web services to you, I mean the more commercial ones are PaaS because they provide a lot of infrastructure for you, but let’s say I want to build something from scratch. I want to build a website from scratch and I don’t want to use the packaged components that a web service might have, then I might ask to have a virtual machine or actual hardware built for me and access from different locations so that I could build from scratch.
Larry Jordan: We’re going to be talking to a number of companies today that are providing a variety of either IaaS platforms or software as a service platforms, but it seems there’s a number of different communities involved; people that are using the service, the clients of the people, the artists in Cinema 4D terms. There’s also the cloud firms that are providing the service, but the one that nobody seems to talk about are software developers. Does this expansion of software to the web have any advantage to a software developer? Because traditionally you guys have sold software to individual people and now it looks like you’re really just selling licenses to a mainframe.
Paul Babb: Well if we’re providing that kind of service, sure. But there’s positives and negatives to that obviously. For the consumer, there’s very low cost entry. The barrier to entry becomes very low cost, especially if you’re renting on the short term. For the software provider it provides some combatance against piracy. If you’re controlling the environment which, with the software is available, you can control the piracy part of it. But you’re then also selling your software for short term as opposed to long term and, in our case our software sells for over $3,000 and you’re moving from a $3,000 single purchase to whatever it is per month or per quarter.
Larry Jordan: One of the things that strikes me as I was chatting with some of our guests for tonight in other IaaS companies, is it seems like they have the potential to significantly disrupt the way that we create media today in terms of tools get located in a different location, and media gets located differently. Do you see the same thing, or is this really just business as usual running off a different piece of hardware?
Paul Babb: I think in some ways it’s the same order of business, running off a different piece of hardware. But also, there’s going to be a lot of content creators who are not going to want to move the content to a virtual environment, they’re going to want to keep it local because of copyright issues and those types of things.
Larry Jordan: In our next interview, we’re going to talk to Pierson Clair about network security and cloud security, but from your point of view, what are your thoughts on the security of our media and your applications when we move it to the cloud?
Paul Babb: To tell you the truth, like I said, I think that having software as a service as a software provider, will give us a lot of security in terms of piracy. Right now, once we’ve delivered the software, it can be shared, it can be pirated and utilized all over the place. I actually think that there’s a greater potential for us to protect our software much better than we are now and in some ways, once we get to a place where we can offer this and we have the business model for it, we could reach a larger audience because they don’t have to put down $3,000. There’s the opportunity for them to get in that lower cost of entry and try out the software, utilize it, make it part of their workflow.
Larry Jordan: Is piracy still an issue?
Paul Babb: Oh heck yes.
Larry Jordan: I’m going to leave that sit there. Another factor is the speed of our connection to the web. Not only the speed with which we’re able to access these remote service, but getting our files transferred to the cloud initially. How does bandwidth affect the performance of these services?
Paul Babb: I think it’s the most important issue that people are going to have to deal with, especially in the media industry. If you’re going to be editing video or you’re going to be creating special effects on a virtual server, you’re going to have to load the assets that you have to that server. Otherwise you’re not going to get the kind of performance you need to do the work you have to do. So the connection is going to be the most important aspect of this workflow.
Larry Jordan: If you were wearing the hat of an artist for just the next minute or two, when does IaaS make sense? When should you go to running your software on the cloud? And when should you run it locally? How do you make that choice?
Paul Babb: As an individual artist, I don’t think I’m ever dealing with IaaS because that’s very much a customized, I’m responsible for that architecture environment.
Larry Jordan: Let me restate the question. As an artist, when do you want to run your software locally versus accessing one of the companies that provides the software on the web, either software as a service, or as part of an IaaS platform?
Paul Babb: Personally, I would I’m more apt to run locally to do media work at this time. I believe that we are moving quickly to PaaS as a viable platform for content creation, but I think right now I personally would prefer to keep things local at this point.
Larry Jordan: How come?
Paul Babb: I’m not confident in the connection to the internet. It concerns me if for some reason my internet connection goes down. What am I going to do? I could lose valuable production time if I’ve got a deadline and I can’t get back on the internet to reach the assets, or to reach my project files or reach the software to do the work. That could be disastrous. Something goes down or wrong with the internet and I can continue to work if I’ve got my assets and my software locally. But that being said, I’m a little older, I’m in a different generation. I think the mindset’s a little bit different as far as that’s concerned, and I do believe PaaS is an inevitability and maybe eventually SaaS.
Larry Jordan: Inevitability I’ve learned is a very relative term, because it seems like every five or ten years the wheel turns a little bit differently and we find ourselves back where we were before, and I’m getting a strong sense of déjà vu as I listen to your description of these services.
Paul Babb: Let’s not forget it was only three or four years ago that Adobe switched over to be 100 percent a monthly subscription service, and at that time there was a pretty large segment that was not happy about that switchover.
Larry Jordan: I think not happy is a very kind term.
Paul Babb: Yes. And now, it’s somewhat expected. We have not yet moved to a monthly subscription service. We do have short term licenses of three and six months, but we have not moved to a monthly subscription and there’s, there is sometimes some criticism about that. “Why aren’t you offering what Adobe offers?” Well, it’s a different business model. There’s certainly a volume that can be managed in that way, but as I said, I do believe that it will be somewhat of an inevitability.
Larry Jordan: So there’s still interesting things to discover and think about I understand. Paul, for people that want to get more information about what Maxon is doing, where can they go on the web?
Paul Babb: They should go check us out at maxon.net.
Larry Jordan: That’s maxon.net, and Paul Babb is the president and CEO of Maxon US. Paul, this has been a wonderful visit. Thanks for sharing your time.
Paul Babb: Thanks Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Pierson Clair has spent the last decade conducting digital forensic investigations in support of companies who have suffered a breach or other loss of data. His investigative specialties lay in the realm of Mac and mobile devices. Pierson has also spent the last five years teaching classes in information security and advanced forensics at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. Hello Pierson, welcome.
Pierson Clair: Hi there, how’s it going?
Larry Jordan: Well I am looking forward to our conversation, that is a true statement. Tonight is all about IaaS and cloud based collaboration. Increasingly, media creators are being invited to move their assets to the cloud. Given that we are all paranoid by nature, is it possible to keep our data safe once it’s stored in the cloud?
Pierson Clair: The joy of the cloud is you’re trusting your data to somebody else. You are trusting that they can house your data better than you can, and you’re trusting that they will take better steps to protect your data than you can. The cloud is one of those great marketing terms that just means, you can’t put your hands on your data.
Larry Jordan: It’s just essentially a remote server, is what you’re saying, under somebody else’s control?
Pierson Clair: Truly. So we’ve been using email forever. Email is now what’s known as the cloud, we just never talked about it that way, ten, 20 years ago.
Larry Jordan: So how can we determine if a cloud vendor that we want to use is secure enough?
Pierson Clair: The current state of cyber security is pretend and envision for a second that you are that king or queen in the middle ages who has a castle. And you are under siege, and you’ve got to protect your castle against 100 percent of inbound threats. You’ve got to be right 100 percent of the time. The attacker who you may not even be able to see, just needs to be right once. So it’s difficult to say “How do I guarantee that something is secure?” because unfortunately the only way to guarantee security is to have your data on a computer that’s turned off and the computer itself is in a safe or safe deposit box, which unfortunately, really makes it kind of useless as a computing device.
Larry Jordan: If we’re a film maker and we’re shooting a movie which has not yet been released, so we’ve got all these proprietary assets that we’ve created, Amazon and Microsoft talk about how much built in security they’ve got in AWS in Amazon’s case, and Azure in Microsoft’s case, if we’re trying to protect assets which are not otherwise available, is there security enough or do we need to do more? And if we need to do more, can we?
Pierson Clair: That’s a great question. You’ve got intellectual property that you need to protect, how do you do it? Every cloud provider is going to say “We’ve got great security.” But let’s go one level higher. Let’s talk about the content of what we like to see as cyber security hygiene. When you’re a small child you get multiple immunizations. Why? To protect yourself and to protect those around you. So cyber security hygiene starts with yourself, with your own computer. Starts with password policy, starts with what you click on. Could an attacker go after a cloud service? Sure. But why do that if they can send you a phishing email that you then click on. A piece of malware is downloaded to your computer without your knowledge. A key logger exists, it scrapes all of your passwords and it may just log into AWS or Azure or Rackspace as you.
Pierson Clair: So taking a step back and looking at your whole cyber security posture, we like to use a phrase called trust no-one. Validate everything. The biggest thing with the current state of cyber security is the technology itself is quite good, which means that most attacks are now what we call social engineering attacks. Whether this is a phone call that you receive saying something along the lines of “This is Microsoft, this is Google, this is Apple, this is Cisco or this is the IRS” and the next line is something like “Your computer is infected, or you haven’t paid your taxes” and they create this sense of worry. This cognitive dissonance whereby you are then compelled to let them have remote access or to send them money. So many of the attacks we now see against Macs are these social engineering attacks where people are coerced either by a banner ad, by an email, by a phone call, into saying “My computer’s infected, because my computer’s telling me so, so I must call this number, I must give them some money” and all of a sudden the computer wasn’t infected before, but is sure infected now after you’ve given them remote access. Never give somebody remote access unless it’s a guaranteed service provider that you have worked with before. Pair that with, trust no-one, because if you question everything, then you’ll maintain a safer security posture.
Larry Jordan: I got five calls from AT&T yesterday saying that my computer had a bad IP address. I know exactly what you’re talking about. How can we tell if we’ve been hacked? Whether we’ve downloaded one of these malwares that you just mentioned, and what should we do if we are?
Pierson Clair: One of the common misperceptions is that Macs don’t get malware. We have been lulled into the belief that Macs are inherently secure. And yes, they are more secure than your standard Windows installation, but it doesn’t mean that they are a magic shield that nothing can pass through. One, it’s keeping your computer up to date. It’s running patches, it’s keeping those operating updates up to date. It’s also running anti-virus, but anti-virus is only going to stop about 50 percent of attacks. There are far simpler programs, be they things like Little Snitch that will look at just outbound connectivity. “Hey, do you know that your computer’s currently calling out to this server in this geographical location?” On the other hand, if you’re doing really sensitive work, don’t be connected to the internet. Convenient, no. But that way you know that it’s not connected to the internet, so if it’s going to get lost or stolen, somebody has to physically enter your office to take the data that you’re working on.
Larry Jordan: Mac people have been told for a long time, especially media creators, that when we run anti-virus software, there’s a significant performance hit, and because performance is everything when we’re editing media, just because it’s such a complex thing to do in the first place, we’ve turned off anti-virus. How big of a performance hit is there with today’s anti-virus and which companies should we consider using?
Pierson Clair: So there are many great companies out there, and in my capacity at USC I can’t recommend an option, but yes, there will be a performance hit. One of the interesting things is that most anti-viruses allow you to turn off what’s referred to as on-access scanning. And what on-access scanning means is, when you’re working on a file, it’s scanning that file in the background. If you turn off the on-access scanning, you lose a certain level of real time protection, but if you set up scheduled scans, to run say four in the morning when you probably aren’t in front of your edit bay then at least you know that everything that’s changed in say the last 24 hours has been scanned.
Larry Jordan: What references can you suggest for those that want to learn more about data security, that don’t require you to be an engineer to understand?
Pierson Clair: I use Feedly as a seed aggregation service. And I have a Feedly list that’s public, so if you go feedly.com/pclair, so that’s feedly.com/pclair, and I make a couple of hundred resources that I read on a daily basis available, broken down into many different topics.
Larry Jordan: That web address again is feedly.com/pclair. Pierson, for people that want more information or would like to get in touch with you, what do you recommend?
Pierson Clair: They can email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Larry Jordan: The voice you’ve been listening to is Pierson Clair at Digital Forensic Investigator and on the faculty at USC. Pierson thanks for joining us today.
Pierson Clair: Thank you so much Larry for having me on.
Larry Jordan: Emery Wells is the co-founder and CEO of Frame.io a video review and collaboration platform used by hundreds of thousands of media professionals and companies like Vice, Buzzfeed and Facebook. Hello Emery, welcome.
Emery Wells: Hey Larry, wonderful to be back on the show.
Larry Jordan: It is always good to hear your voice, and thanks for joining us tonight. How would you describe Frame.io?
Emery Wells: I think you did a really good job. It’s a video review and collaboration platform and in real world terms it means that we act like a command central for all your videos while you’re working on them. So you have large files you need to share, you have work in progress to share, you need to communicate around that work in progress, you need to manage all the versions and the back and forth, we have lots of integrations with the desktop creative tools like Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Final Cut. So we really just handle all of that in one cohesive platform. If you weren’t using something like Frame.io you’d probably be using a mish mash of a few different tools for file sharing and something when you want to share work in progress. Frame.io really just streamlines that entire process.
Larry Jordan: We’re talking to a number of companies that all facilitate collaboration. What makes Frame.io different from other collaboration companies?
Emery Wells: Frame.io is the largest and most popular service of its kind, and I think that one of the things that’s really resonated with our customers is, I think they feel that we really get it. We can always do a feature to feature comparison of what Frame.io has that another solution doesn’t have, but I think when users use it they feel that it was made by people who get it, because the people who made it are post production professionals that have been doing this all their lives. That’s what I did prior to starting Frame.io, I owned a post production company. And then we also just happen to have a really great product.
Larry Jordan: We’ve heard a lot today about issues with security when we store stuff to the cloud and slow internet connection speeds. What can Frame.io do to reassure us that you have sufficient security for our data and our projects?
Emery Wells: Well we’re certainly investing heavily in security. It’s a really important topic I think when events like the ‘Orange Is the New Black’ leak, or in the news, it’s something that’s always a concern, but when events like this happen, it becomes something that’s really top of mind for everyone. And it’s both a challenge for a solution like ours, and also an opportunity. It’s a challenge because it makes people wary. “This is happening out there in the world, and how do I know it’s not going to happen on Frame.io?” It’s an opportunity because we really investigate where these leaks happen. It typically comes from negligence. It’s from organizations whose core proficiency is really not software or software security, and when you use a solution like Frame.io you’re putting your content in the hands of people who are spending a lot of time trying to ensure that your stuff is safe. In most cases, or maybe all cases, it’s going to be safer than even storing it on your local network because local networks are not secure as we’ve discovered with the ‘Orange Is the New Black’ leak.
Larry Jordan: What minimum internet bandwidth do we need to use Frame.io effectively?
Emery Wells: It really depends on how you’re using it. We recommend that a 10 megabit connection is kind of the minimum, but also sufficient. If you’re using it for work in progress that’s totally fine, you can upload mp4s and certainly review any of the video that’s on Frame.io. If you want to share big, high quality camera original files, then you’ll want a faster connection. The good news is Frame.io is able to saturate the available bandwidth that you have, so if you’re on a gigabit connection, you can fully saturate that bandwidth and you can move some very serious 50 gig, 4K pro res files. Frame.io can handle that. We have an accelerated uploader.
Larry Jordan: I was struck that you guys announced a new product this week called Frame.io Enterprise. What is it and who’s it for?
Emery Wells: Frame.io Enterprise is all the core collaboration features of Frame.io with all the additional security permissioning and identity access management features that larger organizations need to deploy Frame.io. So from the beginning we wanted to build a product that was accessible to individuals and small teams, but we immediately had all this interest from larger media organizations like Turner, and like Vice, and when you’re deploying Frame.io at that scale where you have thousands of users using it, a number of new challenges crop up.
Emery Wells: One of the big challenges is just, how do we give each functional group a space for them to work in Frame.io that feels contained for their stuff, but then how do the admin have an overview of everything that’s going on in the organization? So Frame.io Enterprise introduces the idea of use, and a team is like a mini account within Frame.io so the people on that team, only see the projects for their team, but you could also be on multiple teams and the admins are able to manage everything from one central location. We do have additional security features like single sign on, and actually we added a security feature that’s available not just to Enterprise, but to everyone which is the ability to remotely disable active sessions. So if somebody loses their device, you can log into the admin console, and just log them out of all active sessions.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information about Frame.io where can they go on the web?
Emery Wells: They can go to Frame.io.
Larry Jordan: That keeps it simple. That’s Frame.io and Emery Wells is the co-founder and CEO of Frame.io, and Emery thanks for joining us tonight.
Emery Wells: Alright, thanks so much Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Denise Muyco is the co-founder and CEO of StratusCore. She founded StratusCore in 2011 to enable artists and content producers to take advantage of emerging cloud technology to streamline the content creative process and make it more cost effective for artists and studios alike. Hello Denise, welcome.
Denise Muyco: Hello, welcome to you and thank you for having me on your show.
Larry Jordan: I’m actually looking forward to our conversation. I’m glad to have you with us. How would you describe StratusCore?
Denise Muyco: A way for both individual freelancers and studios to bring content production into the cloud. Specifically it’s a way for digital artists to use services, and when I say services I mean both the software and hardware services, to create content. So when we talk about our core services, that’s anything from storage to render or compute processing, to moving content and to creating the content which is the actual workstation and connection with the software, that’s what we mean by content creation.
Larry Jordan: Why? I mean, why can’t we just work with our own personal gear on our own personal computers, in our own personal little office?
Denise Muyco: About 70 percent of the market really can’t afford those upgrades, both on the hardware and the software side, so they’re usually late to the game in terms of using the best tools or the most efficient tools. So, what StratusCore does, is it enables all of those both individual small companies, and large companies, to get access to the latest and greatest tools.
Larry Jordan: But I feel sometimes like I’m at a carnival where there’s barkers on either side saying, “I’ve got the greatest service, I’ve got the greatest service.” It’s like there’s thousands of cloud vendors out there. Why should I consider StratusCore?
Denise Muyco: For two primary reasons. We’ve been doing this for the last six, seven years now. We are a purpose built platform for the content creation community and what I mean by that is, we’ve been doing this from the ground up for years. The ecosystem itself that we have created and developed with our partners include both different cloud companies, and as we know cloud companies are not all created equal. We also have our own private infrastructure and we also are able to work with on premise infrastructure. So having that hybrid cloud is really the right solution for this industry, and as it relates to talking about the software components, we’ve worked for many years to earn the trust and respect of large companies, and small companies like Autodesk and small companies like Shave and a Haircut. We have worked with multiple software vendors that support this ecosystem.
Larry Jordan: What are we actually using from StratusCore, and what are we actually storing on the cloud?
Denise Muyco: We call them the four core services, and those are storage, render processing, work station and transit. Those are the four core services that people are using. When it comes to what software are people using, the software is the usual suspects, or the most popular software. So when you’re talking about what’s being used on a workstation, so it’s anything from Adobe all the way through to say Houdini in terms of content creation software. So that’s step one. Step two, what people are also using, we’re talking about storage, storage can be used in two ways. If I already have existing content that I want to use StratusCore services for, whether that be rendering or I want to use a different software to finish out a creative asset, I basically move that existing file up into our cloud storage, and you can begin working on it. So it’s two ways in which you get content into the cloud. You can start from creating it in StratusCore or you can move it to StratusCore and you can do something with that content when it’s up in the cloud.
Larry Jordan: Well if we move our assets up to StratusCore, how do we keep them secure?
Denise Muyco: That is a very important component of StratusCore and is one of the pillars in our company. There are three ways in which we look at storage. Data at rest, motion and storage. We secure them in basically two different ways. One is through our private network and the other is through access control. Those are the two primary ways in which we can lock down one’s very valuable assets.
Larry Jordan: How are StratusCore services priced?
Denise Muyco: It is variable. So it is based on an on demand way, another is through what we consider more of a SaaS based approach which is if you know one’s going to be using the service over and over, the pricing gets more efficient. We also have longer term contracts so if there is an entire project or production that is utilizing our services and several are collaborating, we can get very efficient on using all of our services.
Larry Jordan: If I’m just using StratusCore for a short period of time, when that contract is over, what happens to my assets?
Denise Muyco: You have the choice to either extend storage or you can pull all of those assets down.
Larry Jordan: If we wanted to do long term work with StratusCore, how do we budget for ongoing expenses? Is there a spreadsheet or something we can use to help us figure out what we need to build into our production budget?
Denise Muyco: Yes. That’s a great question. We actually have a pricing calculator for that.
Larry Jordan: What would you say to a producer who’s paranoid about losing their assets, to reassure them that it’s safe to store their assets on your service?
Denise Muyco: This does come up a lot. What I do say is there is a higher risk right now in a way that content production is done today which is people can walk out with actual assets on USB sticks. What’s great about StratusCore is it is stored up into the cloud and unless you have permissions, you cannot pull those assets down.
Larry Jordan: Denise, for people that need more information, where can they go on the web?
Denise Muyco: You just go to www.stratuscore.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, stratuscore.com and Denise Muyco is the co-founder and CEO of StratusCore, and Denise thank you for your time today.
Denise Muyco: Thank you Larry.
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Larry Jordan: Bruce Long is the co-founder and CEO of BeBop Technology. He’s a technologist, inventor, entrepreneur. His extensive experience includes work at Deluxe and Technicolor, Ascent Media and CBS as well as founding successful businesses, including Next Element, Encore Video, Encore VFX and co-founding Cloud Takes. Bruce, I get tired just reading your resume. How you doing today?
Bruce Long: I’m filled with energy. I’m doing great thank you Lord.
Larry Jordan: Let’s start at the beginning. What is BeBop?
Bruce Long: BeBop Technology is a platform that lets you do post production on your laptop or on your PC. The tricky part is your laptop or PC is actually connecting through a small internet connection completely securely to a computer in the cloud and the computer in the cloud has the editorial or post production software. So, it’s a cloud solution Larry.
Larry Jordan: This is analogous to what we did 30, 40 years ago with terminals and mainframes, where I’m just running a dumb terminal on my end and the software’s happening in the cloud, on the mainframe.
Bruce Long: That’s a great example, yes absolutely. I think Cray Computers would be very proud to say that they were the forerunner to BeBop Technology. But we do do a lot of explaining when really all we’re actually doing is working on a powerful computer in the cloud. It’s the mystique around the cloud gets in the way sometimes. But really, we love the idea of just providing people a more powerful computer on an hourly basis, that’s really what it’s about for us.
Larry Jordan: I want to come back to that, but before I do, why did you decide to start the company? You’ve clearly started plenty of others that you could have picked from.
Bruce Long: I have a long history in the entertainment space, and post production specifically, although I ran National Lampoon for a little while too. I really felt strongly that the financial models in our industry were just getting crushed. The off the shelf computer and software marriage has been really great for the industry but not so great for the institutions, so what we are trying to do is move away from the tradition of brick and mortar and come up with a solution that supports both the post production facilities, the post production talent and I guess most important, content creators.
Larry Jordan: I think there’s another one which is software developers, and I want to get into that in just a minute. But before we do, as we’ve heard earlier in the program with some of our other interviews, there are a large number of cloud based tool vendors available. What makes BeBop unique?
Bruce Long: The exciting part for us is we’re totally agnostic, whether it’s the public clouds. We’ve worked on Amazon, and we worked on Microsoft Azure as well as IBM and a bunch of others. But we’re also agnostic to the tools. We have a bring your own license model, so we can work with any of the softwares that are being developed to work on the edge in the cloud and we worked on a bunch of different visual effects and post production softwares.
Bruce Long: My goal really having spent so many years in our industry, is to take the softwares that our creative talent have been using on an everyday basis, and transition them to the cloud. And the biggest reason is because we want to make sure that artists that are not in the mainstream cities, that are not in mainstream environments, even guys and girls that don’t have access to really expensive equipment, still can compete and contribute to content creation. I think we’ve seen a huge decentralization of Hollywood, and empowering the individual I think is the key to the transition. So BeBop really makes sure that any individual wherever they are, they could be in the Ukraine for all I know, can do editing or color correction or visual effects on the BeBop platform. So it’s sort of empowering the individual, and by doing that, I think we also empower the industry.
Larry Jordan: OK, but now I’m confused. I’ve got my software, I’ve got a license for the software, I’ve got a computer that the software runs on. Why would I transfer it to BeBop? I’ve got everything I need right here at home, whether I’m in the Ukraine or Florida or Hollywood.
Bruce Long: That’s a great question Larry. I think that it’s not always that easy. I think that the industry as we transition to larger file formats like 4K, augmented reality and virtual reality and HDR high dynamic range and 20 20, all these things are really pushing the envelope. But I think a simple example is, if you’re going to edit a 4K television show, and you’re going to do it on a small laptop, you’re either going to be working on a pretty compressed image, or you’re going to be spending some time rendering it, pushing the horsepower of that computer.
Bruce Long: In this scenario you’re actually getting a really powerful computer. We could actually allow you to edit, color correct, do visual effects in 4K or even 8K in real time. It’s because the computers in the cloud are so powerful. So certainly we love the fact and every day have people editing and doing color correction on small projects, but when you get up to features or high end television, it’s really just not viable on a small laptop without a whole bunch of extra investment in hardware.
Larry Jordan: But the flip side is, if I’ve got a feature, and I’m shooting even a 200 to one shooting ratio which seems small these days, I’m generating multiple dozens of terabytes of data, and if I have to upload that through a standard web uplink, it’s measured in weeks not measured in hours. How do we solve that last mile connection problem?
Bruce Long: That’s a great question, I love the way you said that. That you’re uploading, it’ll take days even weeks. That is the challenge that I think people face, especially in the past four or five years, because they really didn’t want to play out through the satellite. The transition is really happening way before we talk about production. So what’s happening is distribution has migrated to the cloud, I think we all know, we’re all very aware of Netflix and Amazon. But I think what we don’t realize is so many of these cable companies, the Discovery channels of the world, are all migrating all of their content to the cloud.
Bruce Long: So the challenge is really not about getting the content to the cloud. It’s about getting the entire ecosystem to the cloud. So the way we see it is, of course I’ve been shooting for years on sets, so taking a few terabytes a day, migrating that up to the cloud as it simultaneously goes to the cutting room, is the work process that we see a lot. And for us, we love the idea that once it’s in the cloud, it’s virtually impossible, I say virtually, to get your hands on. The thing that happened with so much of the piracy with the motion pictures, and the television shows that were in the press the past few weeks, I think that has obviated the need to put the ecosystem in the cloud.
Bruce Long: So just to answer your question really directly, of course we support Aspera and the Signiants of the world for that uploading part of the solution. We also really think that the proxies of 4K and 8K are getting fantastic, and they’re probably broadcastable, so it’s a really powerful solution to send the content each day to the cloud and even have the cutting room drives mirrored to the cloud. We see a lot of that. The short answer is that we’re migrating content to the cloud every single day and we have our own proprietary tools and we use public tools to do it, but that’s not as much of a problem as it is distribution. The real challenge we have is getting all the tools we have up into the cloud so anyone can work on it, anytime and still make their delivery deadlines.
Larry Jordan: But looking at this, and looking at the pricing models of Aspera and some of the other companies you work with, sounds like BeBop is more of a studio solution and not the independent filmmaker solution who can’t afford the big pipes to go up to the web, and can’t afford the regular fees that Aspera charges. So it sounds like this is something that we need to aspire to but it’s outside the reach of an independent.
Bruce Long: I’m glad you said that, because I think that’s the horns of the dilemma that BeBop and the industry both are facing. And that is, is there really a good solution if it only works for an Enterprise customer or a studio? I think my answer to that is no, it doesn’t work, so we really are driven and committed to making sure that, remember BeBop can use a small 20 megabit internet line to connect to our platform, and I’m very proud of the fact that we have eliminated the cost of uploading into BeBop. So BeBop has delivered a product called BeBop Rocket which is our competitor to Aspera and Signiant and that solution is completely free and no charge for any individual doing post production or visual effects on the BeBop cloud. So that’s how we solve that.
Bruce Long: But you know, I want to move forward and I want you to imagine or envision an ecosystem of content that doesn’t differentiate between the big users and the small users. I suppose today that ecosystem lives at YouTube, but I think quickly we’re going to see Amazon and Netflix have a lot of very high resolution, high dynamic range material that still is streamable over a very small line. And that transition in technology not only protects the creatives in the hinterlands, and I think you’re having editors and colorists from all over the world working on major projects, and part of the reason is because once the content’s in the cloud, when they’re in the cloud it takes away the barrier to entry. They don’t have to be in the approved post house or the most secure editorial bay. They can be in BeBop. So we’ve eliminated the cost of the upload, we’re actually celebrating using proxies. The rate at which we can get those uploads done even at 4K, and then lastly we believe that once the content’s in the cloud, it empowers the individual as well as the collaboration of a large group.
Larry Jordan: Let’s flip this around. You ran a post house which is Encore Video. How does a post house benefit from BeBop? It sounds like you’re actually threatening your business.
Bruce Long: Well, I’d like to think that BeBop is going to co-exist for a long time with both the brick and mortar solutions and the cloud solutions. You’re right, I ran Encore and I worked for a long time at both Technicolor and Deluxe, and I take really seriously my friends that work in those environments. I’ve always felt the difference in those companies, big and small, was their talent not their equipment, and so what I believe is that these facilities that are being so challenged by their price points and the costly overhead, I think are going to reinvent themselves.
Bruce Long: I like to think that my friends at Technicolor and Deluxe, as well as my friends at the 16, 19s of the world are going to have an opportunity to reinvent themselves and drive the talent into BeBop platforms and really bring closer the relationship between their talent and the creatives themselves. I think collaboration is still absolutely imperative in what we do, and so you’ve got a lot of collaboration tools build into BeBop so that facilities and cutting rooms and all these organizations can deconstruct the post production models because I think the days when we had to have one colorist for dailies, another colorist for final color, an editor for offline, another editor for online. We’re seeing so many projects done with a smaller group of creatives that are empowered to work across multiple areas. So I think as those models change, we’re trying to keep the tools abreast of those changes, so we have a lot of tools where one person’s cutting and another person can look over their shoulder in a secure environment. We have a lot of digital streaming tools that allow you to cut and do visual effects and color correction using a really small internet connection.
Larry Jordan: Well there’s another group that I think is impacted by this and that’s software developers. As we reduce the number of people who are buying tools because the tools are now in the cloud and you access the tool when you need it, and you don’t when you don’t, their revenue’s going to fall. What’s the incentive for them to work with you to provide cloud based tools, and how do they make money in the future to continue developing them?
Bruce Long: My answer to that is that our goal, and I’ll use DaVinci as an example, for Blackmagic and DaVinci to have BeBop resell a license on the cloud and in time increase the number of users they have by having people both on hardware and on the cloud, and having those be different licenses. Today you’re absolutely right. The bring your own license model which is what most of the software guys are using, is challenging because it doesn’t give them the lift on the cloud that we think is there. So I spent a lot of time lobbying those companies you just mentioned, to encourage them to deliver me a license which I can resell on the BeBop platform and make sure that we’re always growing their user base.
Bruce Long: I’m really sensitive to making sure that we don’t ever cannibalize these licenses. Certainly, I’m working really hard with the guys in the software companies to have them make that transition to the cloud, get their software up there, and then get me empowered to start licensing new licenses because you’re absolutely right. My dream, forgive the cliché, is that this wave of the cloud bring revenue and blue sky and fresh opportunities to all of the Adobes and Blackmagics of the world, to all the Foundry and Nuke softwares of the world as well as to the creative talent that uses it.
Larry Jordan: For people that want more information, where can they go on the web to learn more about BeBop?
Bruce Long: It’s beboptechnology.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word, beboptechnology.com and Bruce Long is the co-founder and CEO of BeBop Technology. Bruce, thanks for joining us today.
Bruce Long: Thank you so much Larry.
Larry Jordan: As Pierson Clair described, tonight the cloud is simply a remote server with a fancy name. But because of its remote capability the cloud is providing increasing opportunities for media creators to collaborate, share tools and expand their reach. We still need to be concerned about security and insufficient internet bandwidth can make using any of these services very frustrating, but like the introduction of the NLE in the mid 1990s, cloud computing can provide new and faster ways to tell our stories.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank my guests this week, Paul Babb, the CEO of Maxon US, Pierson Clair from the USC Viterbi Engineering Faculty, Emery Wells, CEO and co-founder of Frame.io, Denise Muyco, CEO and co-founder of StratusCore, Brian Long, CEO and co-founder of BeBop Technology, and as always, James DeRuvo the senior writer for DoddleNEWS.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website, at digitalproductionbuzz.com and be sure to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuzz and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you.
Larry Jordan: Our producer is Debbie Price, my name is Larry Jordan, and thanks for listening to The Digital Production Buzz.
Larry Jordan: The Digital Production Buzz is copyright 2017 by Thalo LLC.