Remote or not?
Before we look a the technology used to adopt remote editing lets make sure we know the difference between remote editing and editing from home.
Remote editing would imply that you're operating a system that is remote from you, be that through a remote desktop connection or through a service or virtual solution provisioned in the cloud.
Editing from home implies that your editing system is physically with you in its entirety. You have a workstation, monitors and storage to allow you to work from, Whatever you do, editorially or otherwise, the results are only held on the system in front of you. You are in effect editing and operating as an island. Your work will need to be wrangled and merged carefully to get a collaborative finished project.
Both of these approaches can be used to produce a project with a home-based team. However, the remote access solution allows for a more streamlined process and scales very well (at a cost.) for teams that can run into the hundreds in the case of most major newsrooms found across the world.
Editing at home, however, reaches its limits very quickly with more than 3 editors becomes time-consuming to manage and maintain as the majority of the sharing will need to be done manually.
Core Essential - Broadband
No matter if you are working from home or remote editing a fast reliable internet connection speed is essential.
Fibre for the best internet experience
There are some basic you need to understand about your broadband.
Broadband packages are described in download and upload speeds in megabits per second. The download speed is how fast you can download data to your computer (download rushes) and the upload speed is how fast you can send data (upload a TX master) to the internet.
A typical example for a home broadband package would be 100Mbs down and 20Mbs up. While this might be OK for smaller setups, if you are moving a lot of data into the cloud then a better speed would be 100Mbs down and 100Mbs up. Some locations may also offer greater speeds, perhaps 1000Mbs down and up!
In any case, try and ensure you have the best speed you can get/afford and if you are working from home as a group ensure all users have a suitable connection.
Ensure that the broadband package that is used is also unlimited, as the amount of traffic flowing over the connection may well exceed the capped amount in a very short period of time..
INFO: Your connection speed is governed by many local factors. Where you live, the connection to your house, the time of day you connect to internet and even your service provider all have a bearing on what you can receive and send as a data rate. It’s also worth noting that if you share this data with other household devices and users then the performance of your machine’s connection will also be affected.
Remote Editing Technology
To achieve a remote workflow there is one common tool that is used. A remote connection to your edit suite. This is irrespective of it being a physical machine sat in your office or a virtual workstation, based in a data center somewhere in the cloud.
This is perhaps the quickest and cheapest solution for adopting a remote solution. Remote desktop software packages can be deployed onto the edit suits which then allow users to remote back into them from home and operate them as if they were in front of them.
Remote desktop concept
There are however pitfalls to this approach. Most remote desktop solutions are not designed for video editing which means that when trying to watch edits back smooth video motion and audio that is in sync with the pictures is hard to ensure. Most remote connection software packages are created for either allowing users access to their machine to work on documents (remote desktop) or support engineers to log on and help resolve technical issues (remote access).
Software examples for editing with...
This appears to be a popular solution which is cost-effective and appears to work well for editing with. There is a free ‘Personal’ use only version supporting up to 5 devices.
This is perhaps the most popular solutions for editing with a remote connection to a physical machine. Previously known as RGS, now re-branded as Z Central, it has been developed with video editing in mind and for HP users, with Z series workstations, it’s free to deploy and use. Other platforms would need to pay for a license.
NOTE: A VPN (Virtual Private Networks) may also need to be provisioned to give a level of security around your connection but this is outside the scope of this course.
For larger facilities who work on bigger projects, the option to virtualise their workstations (and surrounding supporting servers) allows users to access the same workstation if they are in the building or working from home. Using PCoIP (PC over IP) connections means that users operate in a much more controlled environment with video playback being more accurately delivered to the end-user.
This approach also helps with security as these virtual machines can be hosted within the facilities building connecting to shared storage and other surrounding infrastructure which means media never leaves the building.
Virtual stack concept
A cloud solution takes the next step from virtualisation and pushes the entire post-production toolset into the cloud where collaboration can be easily scaled and security be stringently controlled. This approach is currently expensive and so only very large facilities and broadcasters adopt this type of solution.
For most smaller productions, ‘remote’ editing in the true sense of the word is not achievable or cost-effective.
However, collaboratively editing in isolation is very much achievable. It is this approach that we will be looking to for the remainder of this module.