I recently caught an interesting interview on TWiT with the head of a company called Aframe. They promise to take the IT out of creativ-it-y. You know, the growing mountain of hi-resolution, metadata-infused media that we have to produce, parse, back-up, archive and pray that nothing goes wrong with.
As a self-described collaborative video platform, they boast of remote resources and capabilities that will benefit content creators large and small. The basic idea is that you would:
Shoot your content
Drop off the drive at one of their upload points
Upload the content which is simultaneously transcoded to proxy files and infused with metadata
Log the proxy files and make your selects with a robust media management system
Download only what you need for your off-line edit
Reconform back to your original files when you are ready for online and finishing
Archive the original media at a lower price once your project is over and your media is no longer active
And I guess number 8 could be to wonder where they have been all of your life.
Yeah I know, the devil’s in the details, right? Well, I have to admit that even after finding out some of the details, I was still pretty impressed. Some of them are:
The network of upload points are fiber lines that are 400 km apart. As far as I know they are currently only in the UK with plans to expand the service to the LA area and eventually other US cities.
The data centers are privately owned and controlled. There are 2 data centers (London & NE of England) Both are mirrored and active (which means that if one goes down your files will still be online. (Note: This is a big deal and potentially protects against the type of disaster that recently happened with Amazon Web Services).
There are 5 layers of realtime meta-tagging. Passive (camera) data is automatically added. Active (production notes) data can be added for a fee.
There is controlled access to all content
There are online vs archive rates. They make money when you make money.
Local storage can be another instance of Aframe
There are software updates every 2-weeks
There is API integration available for users
There will be integration with Final Cut Pro X if and when Apple releases an API to developers
The rough numbers are about $0.17/gb for media that is actively being used. They say the price will come down once the media is archived. So if you do the math, you’d be paying roughly $1700/mo for 10 TB of media being used in an active project. Again, this number will go down once the media is archived. Still sounds like a lot? I guess it depends on your situation. In the very least it makes you want to break out the calculator. How does that monthly fee compare to buying, amortizing and supporting your SAN and archiving systems? You know, the ones that can be incredibly expensive and obsolete by the next NAB.
It’s too early to know whether Aframe will catch on or not. I’m sure many people will have questions about privacy, security and reliability. And it’ll probably re-ignite the debate on outsourcing and commoditization. But there’s no denying that the trend of PAAS (Platform as a Service)and other cloud-centric movements may finally be ready for a wider range of Post-Production budgets. A couple of weeks ago at NAB, Avid introduced Interplay Central which is a cloud-based editing platform. And one can only dream of the implication that Apple’s much-rumored cloud-based iTunes music service could have on Final Cut Pro.
Later on this week I look at other kindred services like Wiredrive and FileCatalyst. I’m all for any tech that keep obstacles out of mind and bottlenecks out of site.
Is anybody using Aframe? If so, would you recommend it?