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This story was created in paid partnership with Seagate
From blockbuster films to TV streaming series, digital media — and the data storage necessary to support it — plays a more integral role in entertainment than ever before. Over the past few decades, film as a medium has gone increasingly digital. The days of shooting on celluloid or videotape, stored on shelves or in vaults, are long gone, with disks and clouds dominating the storage landscape. In fact, in the next two years, total market demand for entertainment and media digital storage is projected to more than double, skyrocketing to $10.9 billion, with cloud storage revenue alone estimated at $3.7 billion by 2024.
As Dave Mosley, CEO of Seagate Technology, explains, “The sum of data generated by 2025 is set to accelerate exponentially to 175 zettabytes [175 trillion gigabytes]. More data is created per hour now than in an entire year just two decades ago.” And as video resolution and frame rates continue to increase, storage capacity and performance needs will also grow at a staggering rate. To put it into perspective, when 8K film appears, each hour of film will amount to 86,000GB of capacity — an almost unimaginable amount of data to process and manage if you’re shooting hours of footage.
With pandemic-related set disruptions and the move to virtual productions, the need for high-capacity storage is clearer than ever before. AR/VR experiences like NBA XR Courtside brought fans “courtside” at an NBA game filmed in 360 degrees. Film and TV productions are using AR to “merge” virtual sets with actors on a greenscreen stage in real time, allowing for multiple sets on the same stage and faster production. And streaming content providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime are now offering their original content in 4K.
So what new tools are available to manage these massive amounts of data? The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California explored a new storage-as-a-service solution while making Ripple Effect, an ambitious live-action short film that was envisioned as a test bed for virtual production technology. While filming, the production team relied on a low-bandwidth internet connection that made streaming backups to the cloud impossible. Rather than compromise the integrity of their footage by not backing up production data, producers backed up all their cameras on-site using Lyve Mobile Arrays from Seagate.
During production, about 12 terabytes of data per day was generated at the project’s peak. Filmmakers were also using Alexa LF large-format cameras that produced about 2TB per hour of HDR and ARRIRAW footage. Regardless, three backups were created after every scene, with two files eventually stored in the cloud and one remaining on portable drives.
Ultimately, the efficient and secure transfer of footage from device to cloud helped producers provide their editing team remote access to the data — allowing the postproduction work to begin in real time and greatly cutting down postproduction cost and time. Ripple Effect demonstrated that Seagate’s Lyve Mobile can easily and reliably execute fast, high-capacity data transfers; promote remote collaboration; and support enterprise-level media workflows.
As we know, the need to manage large-scale data goes beyond film production. Live experiences and digital archiving, for example, are rapidly developing the need for high-capacity data transfer and storage. For CyArk, a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people with historical cultural sites, the challenge of collecting, storing and managing large amounts of data has always been one of their top priorities.
While museums can shelter works of art from deterioration, cultural heritage sites like Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Jerash in Jordan are exposed to the elements — at risk of rapidly disappearing in the face of natural disasters, climate change or war. In order to maintain these impactful, irreplaceable works for future generations, CyArk digitally scans and re-creates these sites to preserve them in our cultural memory forever. The process starts with creating a point cloud, which is done by bouncing laser light off surfaces at the site. 3D scanners then capture that light, measuring millions of points per second to create a 3D data set, then connecting the dots to form a solid 3D model.
Similar to the film industry, even though they have the advanced equipment — like 3D laser scanners — to make it happen, one major obstacle that stood in their way was the ever-growing need for data storage and transfer. An even a bigger challenge was posed by the digital transformation urgently needed in the midst of the pandemic. Due to the incredible amount of data created from their projects to date, moving and storing these digital archives for backups and remote collaboration while keeping the data intergirty is non-negotiable. Luckily, the reliable and expandable storage solution, Seagate’s Lyve Mobile, came into play and enabled CyArk to securely transfer mass data in days, saving them weeks of lost production from network transfer delays.
Right now, data’s role in media and entertainment is becoming more and more important every single day. And as that role grows, the industry will face challenges in managing the vast quantities of data required to create immersive experiences, transferring the data that can be accessed by far-flung postproduction teams, and storing that data securely, no matter how much capacity is required for each project.
The post-pandemic world of media and entertainment relies on modern technology that can ingest, transfer and store massive data sets that can be easily available, like the solutions offered by Seagate. It depends on safe and accessible data, secure encryption, and easy-to-use multi-interface connections. In today’s world, it’s crucial to have the right tools to make data-intensive workflows possible. And with their cutting-edge technology and decades of experience, it’s easy to see how Seagate will be an excellent partner for all your data solution needs for years to come.
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