The MPAA has started to respond by making practical adjustments to regulations on a daily basis, but for the industry this is not happening quickly enough - as of Monday this week, 10,000 VFX artists had signed a petition to relax these rules significantly more.
The issue of data storage, and the need to maintain confidentiality around information in accordance with MPAA regulations, has become a major blocker to the ability of media organisations to rapidly implement remote working.
Because the majority of design and production work is carried out through premise-based systems and local workstations - due to the high performance levels demanded by applications and the need for absolute confidentiality and internal data security - there is not a quick fix.
Cloud-based services are available to studios and production organisations, with any combination of remote workstations, secure file storage and high-performance computing to power applications such as rendering. Every organisation has a unique set-up with unique ways of working and different combinations of software tools to constitute their workflows . This makes adoption levels of cloud capabilities differ significantly.
Virtual solutions must still operate within private networks to guarantee security, which has an enormous impact on performance levels and the ability to produce quality work at speed. Equally, having to run applications remotely that are not natively cloud or hosted in a high-performance environment makes the problem worse.
The speed at which the world has been forced to move to remote working is unprecedented. However, the media industry, specifically creative agencies, post-production studios, broadcasters and visual effects studios, can now take this opportunity to start future-proofing their operations and begin the migration to a new way of working.
We’re working closely with clients and partners across the industry to enable this pragmatic adoption of cloud to solve specific problems and optimise the overall workflow. For example, one client uses Google Cloud Platform to process as much rendering as needed once its premises-based systems are maxed out, enabling its productions to be released to deadlines even when using enormous amounts of resource.
This sort of elasticity will be key to the future of the industry. The current increased levels of demand for content will not last, so organisations that can scale their design and production capabilities up and down will significantly benefit from the cloud model.
The implications go beyond simply adapting the current way of working. Studios that operate in this manner will have much better access to a pool of talent, becoming able to operate globally-distributed workforces that can operate at greater speed and scale than ever before. And the elasticity gives additional benefits when managing freelancers, who can join the workforce more easily than ever before and access services on-demand, irrespective of their geography.
By using cloud-based file storage and remote workstations that securely access environments without transferring any data out, organisations will be able to guarantee the security of all their information while eliminating physical barriers.
However, it is also important to note that certain workloads may be best served for the time being on-premises, which is why a balanced approach is critical. Growth also must occur through the correct economical choices.