IBC 2012: Adobe ‘Anywhere’ Looks To Break Down Connectivity Barriers for Remote Editing

The power of file-based workflows and fiber connectivity has drastically altered the traditional workflows of  remote sports production in recent years, and broadcasters continue to explore new ways to collaborate and share media remotely. Adobe is aiming tosquarely at this emerging market with the unveiling of Adobe Anywhere at IBC2012. The new platform allows production teams using Adobe video tools (Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Prelude) to work together remotely across any network using centralized media.

“Sports is all about delivering the highlights as fast as possible,” says Adobe Senior Project Manager Michael Coleman. “With Adobe Anywhere, you can roll out an Anywhere server at the stadium, do your editing there, and then others could pull highlights remotely from the stadium. Or you can have the Anywhere server at your home facility, and the editor on-site could access media from the home facility. Either way, you cut down significantly on costs. Instead of travelling a whole team of editors and equipment, you could roll out an Anywhere server.”

While Anywhere is far from the first platform to enable editors to share files and collaborate remotely, it does hold one key unique characteristic — the system does not require robust pipes to connect the remote users with the server. Adobe Anywhere does not require heavy file transfers or the creation of proxy files and is capable of operating even on standard Ethernet and WiFi networks, according to the company.

This is made possible by Adobe’s Mercury Streaming Engine, which is powered by NVIDIA GPU-processing. The high-octane Mercury server takes care of most of the work, allowing remote editors to simply send edit instructions to the server, which completes the actual file manipulation and playback.

“Let’s say you put four clips on your timeline,” says Coleman. “If you are connected traditionally, you have to stream all four of those across the network or create proxies if you don’t have the necessary bandwidth. But, with our system, we place the Mercury Engine right next to the storage, and the compositing happens on the server side. Then we stream a single composite across the network. So we are very efficient with the bandwidth.”

In implementating Adobe Anywhere, a broadcaster or production house creates a Collaboration Hub, which is essentially an online server that allows all users to have shared view of all media assets. Users on the system can then log in and edit a single version of a file. Users can also work on the same media at the same time, and Anywhere automatically manages any conflicts that may occur.

“Usually, when you want to work [remotely], you have to create a proxy, and that is fine, but the problem with that is, you have to create the proxy, store it, stream it, and then you have to reconnect it with the actual media at the end,” says Coleman. “The great thing about Anywhere is, there are no proxies, which means the creative user is always working with the best-quality footage. So, when you pause while editing you can see the full uncompressed frame — every pixel.”

Anywhere can also operate on existing hardware and network infrastructures or be integrated into existing media-asset–management and other workflow systems.

Although Adobe Anywhere will not be available until the first half of 2013 (Adobe has yet to announce a price point or specific release date), Formula 1 has already signed up as a pilot client on the system through a third-party systems integrator.

“The systems integrator is building a system for them that features Anywhere and they will roll out to each of their races,” says Coleman. “Their editors can stay home in London. They will ingest to the server on-site, and then the editors will access that across their pipes. They have their own dedicated fiber network with their facilities.”

A Growing Presence in Broadcast
In addition to the unveiling of Anywhere, Adobe also announced new Creative Suite Production Premium partnerships with several media-asset–management and graphics vendors in broadcast news and sports: Chyron, Dalet, EVS, Miranda (a Belden brand), Vizrt, arvato Systems, Axle Video, Cantemo, deltatre, Filmpartners, FlavourSys, Nexidia, Pond5, Primestream, PROMISE Technology, Studio Network Solutions (SNS), Sienna, Softron, and Square Box Systems.

Adobe announced that Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNN, Grundy UFA, and Hearst Television have each adopted the company’s Creative Suite Production Premium and Creative Cloud featuring Premiere Pro CS6.