Local Systems and Cloud Access in a Hybrid Approach – Benefits for Set and Facility

Local Systems and Cloud Access in a Hybrid Approach - Benefits for Set and Facility

All of Pomfort’s desktop applications can be used as standalone products to facilitate essential tasks in the areas of media asset management and digital imaging. So far, so good! However, opting for a mix of Pomfort’s desktop applications and cloud service creates entirely new possibilities and benefits – not just on set. When combined, Pomfort’s software products work together as a Distributed Production Library, enabling a streamlined, interconnected approach to working with production information. 

In this article, we highlight the strengths of both these software types (desktop applications/ cloud service) and illustrate how they play together to provide efficiency and peace of mind to professional film productions. So without further ado, let’s talk hybrid!

Pomfort’s Desktop Applications

Pomfort’s desktop applications cover a broad range of activities in the areas of data management and digital imaging from set to facilities.

The Silverstack product family takes care of offloading and managing the original camera footage (OCF). Moving around terabytes of data every day may sound like an activity for a computer center. However, it is actually performed daily at the DIT cart on location – with a compact system, sometimes even on battery power and without cell reception. In addition, the Silverstack applications offer color-managed playback of any professional RAW format, tools for image inspection, and interfaces to a range of devices and systems. With their reporting and transcoding capabilities, the desktop applications create the base for reliable and repeatable (post-)production workflows.

The Livegrade product family covers all monitoring and creative look interaction requirements of the camera department. Livegrade holds together the DIT cart’s hardware setup – ranging from SDI monitors and video routers to LUT boxes, capture devices, and grade panels. Livegrade enables integrated work with camera settings, lighting, and the digital look. It manages all look and color management information throughout shooting and makes that available for dailies  to ensure consistent creative looks from preview monitors to the editing room.

All these features can only be reliably implemented in local systems and integrated into desktop systems tailored to the needs of the film set. 

Pomfort’s Cloud Application

ShotHub started out to give the DIT and colleagues from the camera department access to information gathered on set even after the DIT cart shut down at wrap. With ShotHub, shooting logs and information about camera cards become accessible anywhere. The only things needed are a mobile connection and a web browser. The remote access quickly created benefits, not just for the camera department having a cloud-based “backup”, but in a range of circumstances and locations: Whether you’re on set with an iPad, at the digital lab’s workstation, or on an entirely different content – the production information is always accessible.

While ShutHub mirrors the information and production context of the desktop apps on set, it cannot be a solution in itself. Only when used in combination with Pomfort’s desktop applications, can the real benefits unfold. Collaborative information management is best supported when information is:

  • collected more or less automatically
  • distributed transparently
  • made accessible through a uniform and easy-to-understand data model

This is achieved by combining the strengths of both desktop applications and cloud service into one solution.

Gather the information

The on-set applications move a lot of data – either original camera footage (OCF) or live camera metadata, looks, and LUTs. All this data is analyzed, and information is extracted while the processing happens, without much interaction from the user. Thumbnails are created, vendor-specific camera metadata is extracted, and looks are stored together with their respective color management context. 

The desktop systems accomplish this because they are where the action happens: On set, supporting the DIT’s daily tasks with their features. No manual extraction, conversion, abstraction, editing, and maintenance of metadata and lists is needed. The software does that mostly in the background and for all assets automatically – with in-depth knowledge about a huge range of formats and devices.

Make it available

On-demand access can only be guaranteed if the production information is made available in a system that’s online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  As a central component of Pomfort’s Distributed Production Library, ShotHub covers this aspect. However, not all film sets have a constant internet connection to send that information.

Hence, the upload and sync mechanism of Pomfort’s systems is built to be robust to bad network and offline situations. Data is also always stored and managed locally in the desktop applications. Thus, it can easily be cached until the internet connection is up again. Also, by only sharing metadata about media assets and not the assets themselves, bandwidth is not an issue, and a regular data connection over cellular networks is sufficient.

On the “server side”, ShotHub also implements Pomfort’s production data model that abstracts over all camera formats, look pipelines, and metadata schemes. So ShotHub does not simply act as a repository for metadata files but is a system for managing and sharing structured production information.

Daily summaries provide insights into the amount of footage and formats shot per day, structured metadata about media assets and their distributed file locations, as well as sharable look information and reports. And all that is available to anyone authorized, no matter where and when the information is needed.

Move everyone closer to the camera

With integrated information collection on set, automatic upload to the cloud, and permanent access via web application and API, Pomfort’s Distributed Production Library opens up entirely new possibilities for cross-departmental collaboration: For the first time, anyone in production or post-production can be invited to participate in a workflow as soon as information on set is collected. 

In an industry where almost exclusively digital assets are created and managed, we think this is an essential requirement for streamlined processes. Combining the capabilities of local desktop applications with a permanently available cloud system enables this end-to-end digitalization of the production process.

Summary

In the near future, we don’t see how a web browser can be sufficient to properly support the work and responsibilities found on the film set. Desktop applications and local systems that work tightly with the devices on set and provide the user with the power and flexibility to react to any situation play an essential role in digital cinematography (and will continue to do so). After all, they let you continue shooting also without network connectivity.

With the two automatisms built into Pomfort’s solutions for gathering information on set and providing that in ShotHub, new workflows and streamlined collaboration is enabled – and frees up time for Digital Imaging Technicians to focus on what matters to support the creative process in the camera department.

Check out our dedicated website areas to learn more about Pomfort’s On-set Solution and Facility Solution.

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About the Author
Patrick is head of products for Pomfort’s on-set applications. He combines a technical background in software engineering with practical experience in digital film productions – and a preference for things that actually work.