Interview: Jason Cowan and AVID Media Composer with “Edit on Demand”

In conjunction with Sydney based Digistor, AVID has a webinar coming up that the company is using to promote its Edit on Demand technology with AVID Media Composer.

Jason profile colour - largeWell, we thought.

This is interesting, especially in the current locked down climate, so we hunted down Jason Cowan whose business card reads “Business Development, Cloud & Saas Practice” and reckoned he is the right person to talk to, and ask some questions.

AV:         

With Edit on Demand being a remote based work environment, what are the benefits, if any, over traditional “all in the same office” sort of workspaces?

And in Australia, we despite Government promises, we still have a disparate internet system, with some on fibre to the home, the majority on fibre to the node, some on satellite internet connectivity and yet others still on ADSL. Will all of these happily co-exist with Edit on Demand?

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JC:            

A reliable, stable internet connection is required for EoD.

Based on our experienced to date Avid suggest >20Mbps download connectivity for typical Media Composer layouts. >30Mbps for full screen playback. Latency plays a major part in the performance experience, Avid suggest <50ms for optimal performance.  

That said we have customers who have challenging network connections/internet who have had a very good experience with EOD.

AV:         

What are suggested hardware requirements eg processor, RAM, local storage etc?

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JC:            

As the user accesses the Media Composer running on a Virtual Machine via the Teradici PCoIP client, a high specification device is not required. Customers can use existing Mac or Windows devices, Zero clients have also been used successfully with EoD.  

AV:         

What security safeguards are built in?

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JC:            

Avid | Edit On Demand service implements the following practices for data security:

PCoIP Security

Your users (editors) install the Teradici PCoIP client software to access the Media Composer workstations. To maintain system and data security:

  • All PCoIP components use security certificates to ensure a trusted, end-to-end Transport Layer Security (TLS) connection for TCP communications.
  • The PCoIP UDP protocol is encrypted with industry-standard secure AES-256 encryption.
  • The security gateway of the cloud access connector ensures secure PCoIP traffic flow between external and internal networks.
  • The PCoIP protocol is host-rendered and no data ever leaves the remote workstation, except encrypted pixels.

Data Security

Users upload and download files in the cloud from anywhere, through a secure Internet connection provided by FileCatalyst® Transfer Agent, which implements the following security practices:

  • TCP Control channel (used for authentication and negotiating transfers) is established using SSL.
  • When a transfer is initiated by a client, UDP ports are negotiated and exchanged over this secure TCP connection.
  • Data transfers are AES encrypted. The AES key is shared over the SSL connection and a new key is issues for each new file. Each individual packet payload is encrypted using the AES key. All files uploaded through FileCatalyst are stored in an Avid NEXIS | Cloud Storage Online storage system that stores data in Azure’s premium blobs. The Avid NEXIS is not visible to the public Internet. It can be reached only by other virtual machines in the deployment’s resource group.

Cloud Security

The cloud infrastructure in which Avid | Edit On Demand operates implements the following security practices:

  • Each customer’s service is deployed in its own dedicated resource group with no communication across resource groups from different deployments.
  • Edit VMs have no public network exposure. The only external traffic allowed is via the Teradici Cloud Access Manager encrypted PCoIP connection.
  • All backend VMs are protected from public network exposure.

AV:         

What level of storage is available?

JC:            

EoD is modular in that a customer can start with 1TB storage and additional per TB storage can be added at any point to the subscription.  The storage is based on Avid NEXIS cloud storage which has been integrated to Azure BLOB storage tiers providing the base for enabling the performance needed to playback media in editing applications.

AV:         

And how does the cost (to the customer) of storage work?

JC:            

A simple per gigabyte (say) type model? EoD is a full service editorial environment which includes cloud Nexis storage, Media Composer Virtual Machine seats, a file transfer agent, remote access PCoIP clients and support. Storage can be added or reduced on a given subscription period at any point. IS there data transfer fees as well? There are no fees to ingest content into the Nexis cloud storage. There are fees associated with downloading content from the Nexis cloud storage (egress).

AV:         

For someone who knows Media Composer, is there any learning curve to Edit on Demand workflow wise?

JC:            

EoD provides Media Composer Ultimate versions 2018.12.11 or 2020.4 which includes all options and functionality available with an onprem license. The only difference is logging in using the Teradici PCoIP client.

AV:         

Are you still able to customise Media Composer at the desktop level for the user when using Edit on Demand? Any limitations?

JC:            

Users can select from a few different currently support versions of Media Composer running as part of the Edit On Demand service all accessible using the secure PCoIP Teradici client

AV:         

For someone who decides to switch to Edit On Demand from another system – say Adobe Creative Cloud – what would be a reasonable time to come up to speed?

JC:            

If the users are familiar with Media Composer and Nexis there is little to no learning curve. If users are not familiar with the Avid solutions training can be provided and there are a host of online options for learning how to use Media Composer to address all levels from beginner to advanced to seasoned professionals.  In terms of set up, users can also stand up an Edit On Demand environment in a matter of hours vs. days. 

AV:         

Are the Media Composer compatible plugins also available to the user e.g. those from New Blue, Borisfx etc?

JC:            

Approved 3rd party plugins can be installed and used with EoD.

AV:         

As Edit on Demand  has been partially born of the current pandemic situation, does AVID think that after we go back to whatever “normal” is to be, that remote collaboration will continue and be more the norm?

JC:            

Yes, we think once the pandemic subsides that the industry has realized the value of remote workflows and have learned they are reliable. 

This is true whether you are accessing clients remotely from home or using a cloud service like Edit On Demand. 

This flexibility will provide more options for productions to not only enable higher efficiency across the production, but will also have the ability to collapse what has been a traditionally very linear process, especially when it comes to post workflows. 

The fact that users can spin up the resources needed in a cloud environment that provides all the compute, storage, and bandwidth needed in a matter of hours while then spinning those resources down once a project is completed offers not only costs savings vs on premises solutions that require CapEx purchases, integration, maintenance, backup, electrical/cooling and more  but enables a tremendous amount of flexibility from a resource perspective. 

Greater collaboration is possible leveraging a cloud service while driving higher efficiency.

AV:         

Anything to add?

JC:            

As the Edit On Demand service continues to evolve, it will add more capabilities such as more storage tiers, asset management, more on demand services such as AI and machine learning, media transformation, and distribution, while also allowing productions to deliver content directly to the cloud for faster processing and ultimately faster delivery.

To be a part of the Edit on Demand webinar, you can register here where there are also full details on the content in depth.

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