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Editing and the Cloud by Bob Pank H istorically video editing has been one of those operations shaped by technology. For decades it depended on VTRs to play and record. You had to go to an edit room, usually darkened and with loads of buttons and winking lights, to get your edit done by a video editor. It was not cheap. Then, with video stored on computer discs, editing went nonlinear, was much faster and more flexible, the control interface became a GUI and costs started to come down. Storage technology will always play a big part in shaping all types of video, and now motion picture, editing. So what was tape, then disc can now become cloud, why not! A big difference is the connection. For any professional use the video or movie will be expected to maintain a high quality of pictures and sound. In traditional edit rooms it is simple to connect a coax cable and get live uncompressed HD-SDI data speed at 1.5Gb/s. That is not going to work with the Cloud! In practice the full resolution unedited footage can be loaded into the Cloud – a process that may well be slower than real time – and then the Cloud video editor works with proxy images via the internet. When the edit decisions are finalised, then the full resolution edited footage can be delivered from the Cloud – again, taking significant time – back to the editor. Such Cloud-based services are readily available and increasingly used. The workflow suits the wide range of productions that have time, days or weeks, to complete the edit. Advantages include collaborative working from anywhere on the internet and, probably, low costs. So if your ‘Northern Lights’ documentary is being shot in Yellow Knife, Fairbanks and Tromso the footage can be uploaded to the Cloud editor and work can start right away – in the warmth of London. Removing considerable storage and transport issues for the shot footage and saving time. But what about working with any live or near live programming, such as news and sports? In these ‘fast turnaround’ productions the classic Cloud editing model, described above, is too time consuming or expensive, so typically the upload and download times would take far too long. However the ability to have wide access and collaboration in the editing process would still definitely be of great benefit to the production. Quantel has been providing nonlinear editing systems for news and sports for the best part of two decades. Its recent launch of QTube, essentially video editing software for PC, Mac and iOS platforms, enables any logged- on client to edit broadcast quality footage that’s held in a Quantel sQ broadcast server somewhere that is connected to the internet. QTube accesses the sQ server via the public internet, automatically adjusting picture quality according to the speed of the connection, to always enable fast operation. This workflow is rather different to the widely used ‘traditional’ Cloud editing model as the sQ server is recording the video live – it is a live video server. QTube users can start working on new content as it arrives, as a video or as a file delivery, which can then be almost immediately exposed by the Cloud. There is a delay, or latency, between the live recording of media on the sQ server and the frames being accessible to QTube clients anywhere in the world. This is reported to now be down to under 20 seconds. Then all the QTube tools can be applied, 28 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BA073JAN13.indd 28 11/01/2013 14:17