One giga-reasons why your workflow will change

I’ve once heard someone quip that Google is like a kid with a trust fund and no focus. It’s hard to argue with that interpretation. But yesterday, Google struck a chord with me when they announced an ambitious pilot program to provide 1 Gb per second connections to end customers in select communities. I sure hope my neighborhood in Seattle is one of them.

If Google has their way, we will live in a world where it only takes 5 minutes to transfer a full-length feature film across the internet. It’s fascinating to think how this will change film & motion graphics creation in the future.

The sheer size of video and audio files have always tethered video professionals to their high-powered computers and large storage systems. We seem to consume a near-infinite amount of these resources. These collections of computing power and file storage are so big, it’s not practical to use them from far away. It’s like they have their own gravity, literally pulling people closer and closer.

Immense bandwidth reverses this effect. The resulting efficiency and flexibility will be a huge win for creative people. It also has the power to change our existing tools, including products like After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Consider the implications of massive bandwidth on your workflow. Instead of storing your files in a particular geographic location, your files will effectively be in all locations.

Suddenly, you can live where you want to live, not where your clients are. You can reach more clients in other cities and countries. You can collaborate with your favorite director without moving to L.A for six months. And you can hire the best team, no matter where they live. Our software is going to have to change to reflect and exploit these new ways of working.

Many of today’s complex solutions will wind up as simple-to-use services. Think of your bank of hard drives becoming more like your Dropbox.com account. After a dose of ultra-high-bandwidth steroids, it will be like having a wide-area SAN.

It’s not a stretch to envision an After Effects Render Queue that can pull in computing power from a massive render farm located in another state. And you could do this for a fraction of the cost of installing and maintaining your own hardware — particularly if you only occasionally need the extra resources.

Equally important, the complexity of video software and hardware deployment can also be reduced. In these conditions, you wouldn’t necessarily have to install software, and the computer doing the real work doesn’t have to be under your desk. This kind of flexibility allows creative business to quickly scale to the correct size for the project at hand.

Increasing internet bandwidth is certainly not a new trend. It’s given rise to the web app phenomenon. Most people don’t install email programs any more. There are also many hybrid applications which are installed locally, but now seem completely useless without the internet. iTunes is a great example of a well conceived, connected application.

Gigabit internet bandwidth provides the breathing room for video software to echo these examples and I’m intrigued by the possibilities.

7 Responses to One giga-reasons why your workflow will change

  1. CareyD says:

    Very exciting indeed Michael and something I’ve longed for (and, to a degree, have already been doing with 22mbit today).I see ultra-fast bandwidth enabling greater collaboration for artists like myself, but in the nitty-gritty implementation I see it being used more as a way to keep files synchronized at multiple locations, as solving ‘throughput’ will still not solve ‘latency’ for critical multi-track editing and compositing work. So while a lot of us might not be able to ‘edit directly off the cloud’, it’s still really cool.The negative part of this, of course, is an acceleration of something we already see happening today on a smaller scale. Global competition, especially from countries with dramatically lower costs (and standards) of living will no doubt bring difficulties to the production market pricing structures in western countries. It is a challenge many industries, not just film and video will be facing.

  2. Thomas says:

    Dear Mr. Coleman,I really share your interests in modernity, but what if not every percentage of human beings on this planet is so so mesmerized about Google taking over the world?Please stick in your area, which should be probably After Effects (CS5 and so forth), an stop to fantasize us about things that aren’t in your business at the very time of NOW.Otherwise thank you for concentrating on (hopefully) making After Effects perhaps a world class application in the very near future.

  3. These ideas are happening “NOW”, and I’m glad to see Adobe is paying attention. I work in “the cloud” all the time. I sit at home with a MacBookPro and edit HD footage living on a SAN at my studio or fire off renders to a farm of octo-cores. I am fortunate to live in the San Francisco area and have a fast connection at home (60mb/dn, 15mb/up) and my studio (45mb symmetrical). As I was reading this I saw a Comcast commercial announcing 100mb is coming. This Google announcement confirms things are moving in a positive direction, and having Adobe supporting the cloud would be killer. Just like 3D render farms are practical today (Houdini now supports the Amazon cloud), the same will be common for comping in the future. Why pay for a ton of CPU’s in your office with all of the farm maintenance when you can simply plug a low-power laptop into the internet and render to a farm 100x the size of Pixar. This is going to change the game for big and small studios. Win win situation for everyone. =)

  4. Laurence says:

    Win win situation for everyone sitting on a fat pipe, perhaps.The idea that we can all ‘live where we want to live’ depends entirely on the kind of broadband provisioning in the area – which, in my opinion, will achieve the opposite effect to MC’s glowing utopia. Cities will get it, outskirts won’t.So we’ll still all be huddled around the campfire.And yes, I’m bitter because I only get 3Mbps downstream sync off my Sydney ADSL2+ connection. Bitter like you wouldn’t believe.;)

  5. Chris says:

    I don’t _completely agree that you can live in far-flung areas (where ever you like) and collaborate like you’re in the same room. Video chat might be nice, but nothing beats real live humans in the same room as you to bounce ideas off and look at exactly the same project, and go to lunch with and continue to have creative juices. Surely huge bandwidth will help some aspects of work. But connections with people still matter.[Good point. I guess I could temper my enthusiasm to say that good bandwidth is the next best thing to being in the room. — MC ]

  6. Bruce Allen says:

    Cool. But I hope Adobe doesn’t prioritize the fancy “3 years away” stuff over the nuts and bolts stuff.Example: I have a Metadata window in After Effects CS4 where I can access a million bits of info. Which is completely useless.But I can’t read or write timecode from a DPX file or a Quicktime.EG the most useful metadata is inaccessible.Please just listen to your users. There are lots of simple things you folks could do right now that would improve collaboration over both a local area network… AND over a Googlenet of the future.Thanks for listening!Bruce Allenwww.boacinema.com

  7. gucci says:

    The negative part of this, of course, is an acceleration of something we already see happening today on a smaller scale. Global competition, especially from countries with dramatically lower costs (and standards) of living will no doubt bring difficulties to the production market pricing structures in western countries. It is a challenge many industries, not just film and video will be facing.

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