Creative production

What is cloud video editing and how does it work?

The world of Media and Entertainment is home to some of the most creative minds amongst us. However, content production itself has long been plagued by the uninspiring reality of managing vast amounts of data stored on hard drives, local SAN or NAS, or cloud storage unfit for the high-intensity workflows of video editors.   

The right cloud technology unblocks the limitations associated with traditional on-premise workflows, and opens up a variety of creative and financial advantages to production teams. 

Cloud video editing enables team members to collaborate on projects remotely from anywhere in the world and on any device with internet connectivity. A unique advantage of these distributed workflows is that productions can benefit from global talent, rather than relying on local talent alone. 

That’s why cloud-based editing is becoming the new paradigm for content creation in creative fields as diverse as live news and sports, short form social media, feature animation, branded long form content, commercials, scripted TV or documentaries, and narrative motion picture films. In this article, we’ll explore what cloud video editing is and outline the benefits it can offer to professional video editors.

What is cloud video editing?

Cloud video editing refers to workflows that leverage the cloud rather than on-premise infrastructure. Editors can share their data with the complete toolset of a desktop-based non-linear editor (NLE). The key difference is that the data itself is stored in the cloud, rather than on local devices. With the right software, cloud-based video editing can also include tools installed on virtual machines and performing parts of an editing workflow.

What is cloud video editing?

Cloud workflows reduce the friction typically found in legacy on-prem facilities, lowering the learning curve for new users, reducing costs, and simplifying how content is distributed. Editing in the cloud also enables producers to easily scale their projects and empower team members to collaborate from anywhere in the world.

The 5 benefits of cloud video editing 

Collaborate remotely

The most immediate benefit from editing in the cloud comes with collaboration. Cloud-based systems and storage are inherently accessible from anywhere in the world. This enables both hybrid and fully remote workflows for editing teams. Whether creatives are in the office or working remotely from various locations and time zones, workflows become seamless when files are continuously synced and instantly accessible from cloud storage.    

Save time

While it may seem archaic, shipping hard drives by post remains a common method for sharing data in the Media and Entertainment industry. Although the cloud offers clear advantages when it comes to smaller files (like low-res video proxies), until recently handling large files was an unsolved challenge for cloud video editors due to lengthy upload and download times.

However, recent advancements in cloud solutions have addressed this issue. LucidLink, for example, has pioneered a cloud collaboration technology that provides immediate access to files of any size. This means editors can start working on a file while it’s still uploading, and changes are instantly available to all collaborators. This innovative approach enhances collaboration and saves creatives valuable time.

Save money

With no hardware investment, you will find less need for IT management and therefore less daily financial overhead. Switching to cloud-based video editing and taking advantage of cost-effective cloud storage can see your operational costs reduce by a staggering 80 percent.

Optimize post-production workflows

Cloud-based infrastructure does the heavy lifting for you, and instantly provides access to huge media assets, videos, images, and animations as if you were working off a local hard drive. Any creative, regardless of how performant their own localized compute resources are, can perform editing and heavy duty post-production work directly from the cloud. With LucidLink, editors can even render directly to another workstation or a virtual machine, eliminating render waiting times from their workflow. 

Immediate feedback

Say goodbye to the endless cycle of send, wait, and download as review and approvals occur. With cloud video editing, multiple people are able to view and share time coded, synced video. There’s no need to wait for files to download so notes can be addressed quickly streamlining your productivity.

Cloud Vs On-Premise 

In traditional on-prem setups, video and audio files live either on your computer’s hard drive or attached to a SAN or NAS system within a facility. This approach requires copying large files to hard drives or using file transfer services if collaboration requires working with freelance talent in other locations other than at the facility itself. 

Cloud Vs On-Premise 

Even when working with large amounts of raw video data, editors often need to search, analyze and tag files, preferably in real time. The larger the file, the longer it takes to download, upload, render, or share. High-performance SAN and NAS systems come at a great cost, and that investment quickly lessens in value over time. Beyond the costly hardware investment, these systems still don’t solve the problem of waiting for files to download or distribute.

Choosing software for cloud video editing 

There are many cloud video editing software solutions to choose from. The traditional desktop editors and online finishing systems like Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Blackmagic Design Resolve tend to be favored by professionals in the media and entertainment industry because of their full suite of features and widespread global user base. They all also have versions that work in the cloud.

Choosing software for cloud video editing 

Some cloud video editing tools have been developed to have many of their features accessible through a web browser. All of the processing required to power these tools are performed by virtualized hardware based in the cloud. This type of cloud video editing software is termed ‘cloud-native’ and is different from ‘cloud-based’ video editing tools which are generally those which began life as desktop NLEs.

Working with cloud storage

Working with Cloud storage

Choosing the right storage strategy is vital for any production. An optimal storage strategy for video editing means that you will be able to work with larger file sizes without concerns about delay, data loss, or insufficient capacity. On-prem SAN and NAS systems can be very performant, but those benefits only exist in one location: a facility. The need to collaborate anywhere however is not addressed by these legacy approaches. This is where a cloud-based approach comes in.

Cloud storage solutions give producers the flexibility needed to scale up (or scale down) without locking themselves into proprietary local hardware systems that are far less flexible, and were never designed to accommodate the distributed workflows that are needed today. A cloud platform, optimized for video workflows, enables users to store and access huge amounts of data without creating the concerns that come from storing data on localized resources.

Most importantly, multiple authenticated users can access the same data at the same time using the same cloud platform. They can even edit within the same project simultaneously. The right cloud video editing system and cloud storage combination gives production facilities the flexibility to grow projects fluently and cost effectively according to demand.

Post-production supervisors can design cloud video editing workflows that accommodate the best talent regardless of their physical location. And concerns of storage capacity, connection speed, and reliability are either lessened or completely eliminated.

The best alternative to copying files to a local drive is using collaborative storage. Pioneered by LucidLink, collaborative storage allows distributed teams to work with large files in real-time, from any creative tool, and from any location. 

Using LucidLink for cloud video editing

LucidLink also empowers cloud-based NLEs such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, and Blackmagic Resolve for highly performant remote collaborative editing.

With LucidLink, users can access files within a LucidLink Filespace from a browser from any local NLE application as if stored on a local hard drive. LucidLink makes those files available fast, so that the edit experience feels as smooth as if the files were stored locally.

For example, if you had five editors working on a single video project, the content would be uploaded to a LucidLink Filespace, making the data accessible to all editors in a shared account. Any number of creatives could access and edit the project from their Filespace account without downloading the videos to local storage, and without the danger of inadvertently overwriting files, something that LucidLink protects for seamlessly.

With LucidLink as part of your editing workflow, you can provide your editing team with immediate access for remote work on massive video files. LucidLink also makes the management and provisioning of cloud based storage incredibly easy.

Benefits of using LucidLink for cloud video editing storage

  • LucidLink, a cloud-native solution, is ideal for organizations that want to reap the benefits of cloud storage economics for their applications, file systems and high-performance workloads.

  • With LucidLink, you can access, edit, and collaborate on any size or type of file in real-time from the cloud. That means no wasted time creating low-res proxies or downloading gigabytes of working files to your machine. 

  • LucidLink tackles the twin problems of geographic distance and network latency by providing on-demand access to media files from the cloud. The result is a highly-responsive cloud video editing experience where data is delivered immediately without any latency or delays. This is how LucidLink makes its cloud storage solution feel like you’re working off a local hard drive or network attached storage.

  • Most cloud storage services automatically make local copies of files and then have to sync data any time a change is made, adding an enormous amount of time to your workflow. With LucidLink, it’s simple: data is directly streamed to your system in real-time via a single, centralized cloud repository secured with end-to-end encryption.

In short, LucidLink is the cloud storage alternative for video editors that need immediate, secure access to files.