Entertainment technology developer Frame.io introduced Camera to Cloud (C2C), a new system being developed to allow filmmakers to upload and stream footage from on-set cameras to the cloud, rendering those footage quickly accessible to members of the production team, including for daily reviews, post-production and VFX.
C2C – which was put to the test in the production of Michael Bay Songbird– is currently in beta on a few undisclosed productions (additional testers can apply to join the program) and should be widely available in the spring.
At launch, the system is intended to provide proxy (low-res) uploads to the Frame.io cloud whenever a camera stops rolling, so that editorial and other post-production tasks can begin in parallel while the footage is still being shot (the master and backups would be recorded on hard drives which would then be delivered if needed.)
While C2C would use proxies at launch, the longer term vision is to effectively eliminate the use of hard drives by recording the highest quality master directly to the cloud, and in doing so render production and release a more non-linear and streamlined process, according to Michael Cioni, senior vice president of innovation at Frame.io. “This level of collaboration brings creative teams together and allows them to work faster and more collaboratively than ever before.”
“The way we capture footage hasn’t changed much since we moved from film to digital and I think the next big change will be shooting directly in the cloud,” said Emery Wells, CEO of Frame. io, adding that this could happen in the next 10 years as technology and telecommunications infrastructure advances.
Later in 2021, Frame.io intends to add the ability to stream live footage to an authorized user’s computer, iPhone or iPad, allowing customers to watch the production in progress on any computer or mobile device. This ability could be particularly useful in pandemic conditions, as it could help reduce the number of people needed on set.
The system workflow requires a Frame.io C2C-certified device on set, connected to supported cameras. According to Frame.io, many professional cameras from Arri, Red, Sony, Panasonic, and Panavision support this system. At launch, filmmakers will also need the certified Teradek Cube 655 encoder and Sound Devices’ 888 or Scorpio field recorders, which would record, encode, and send encrypted, timecode-supported H.264 proxy files with the corresponding metadata directly to the Frame.io cloud via a connection equipped with security functions. Currently, this could be accomplished with LTE, 5G or on-site WiFi, according to Cioni.
Cioni and Wells report that Bay’s Songbird was filmed during the pandemic on location in Los Angeles using almost entirely the LTE service to download the proxies (the rest was accomplished over wifi). Cioni adds that at least 30 people shared about 20,000 Songbird assets, including editorial, visual effects and reviews, during production.
In a video released as part of the C2C launch, Songbird Director Adam Mason said there was a “naked crew” on set, but when he started getting texts from producer Adam Goodman, he realized “everyone could see what I was filming while I was filming it”.
Co-producer Max Votolato added: “We could be on set without being on set, with the ability to wirelessly transmit off camera and, on set, send those dailies to our DIT cart which would come out via a encoder and would be part of the cloud that everyone was sharing.The process is instantaneous.
At launch, other technology partners including Colorfront, which plans to offer C2C support through its cloud dailies system. For post-production, Cioni and Wells report that material can be dropped natively into Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple’s Final Cut, and Blackmagic Design’s Resolve color grading and editing system. An extra step would be required to integrate the material into Avid Media Composer using a companion application, they explain.
A certification program for third-party developers is also launching today.