Flash-forward to 2009. DNLEs exist in standalone and sharing configurations. The number of DNLEs that can be networked in a sharing environment can easily reach 100-200 and can perform real-time operations on X number of tracks. The more dedicated the DNLE is, and connected to DAS, Striped-DAS, High-Performance SAN, etc., the higher the number of tracks that can be played back in real-time (RT) without rendering. Typically, for a shared environment (that is, when we are talking about 50, 100, or even 200 workstations), the RT playback will be 2-4 video tracks and 4-8 audio tracks. Naturally, as the number of workstations decreases, the number of simultaneous playback tracks increase. Again, this number varies depending upon storage, the network switch (2-10 gigabit), resolution, frame rate, and number of seats.
Today, both the offline process and online process still exist. It is also, of course, quite normal to digitize content at the highest resolution required for finishing and both the offline/online process is combined into a single stage -- and thus, there is no redigitizing content at the finished resolution.
Again, this past and present form of digitization, manipulation (editing, compositing, etc.), and delivery only form a prologue for what is to come. Let's consider some of the problems and opportunities that exist in the world of creating software for the broadcast, media, and entertainment industry (we'll abbreviate this BME). First, while DNLEs exist in all-software models, almost all of them operate where content is either directly attached or available locally. This, naturally, either limits operational distance, or requires that content be moved from the origination point (acquisition point or digitizing point) to the editing point.
But the next evolution of the DNLE as well as the collaboration experience will be encountered as a result of what I term: editing on the wire. This kind of editing hasn't been possible for a number of reasons, among them: the focus of DNLE manufacturers, network connectivity issues, and quality of experience. This represents the first bona fide opportunity.
What is it and what does it represent for the BME industry? Specifically, editing on the wire refers to the desire to be connected to the media even if it is remote to the user. Content, streamed to the user, in the resolution that the user's connection can reliably support, means many things: first, staff can work remotely and work on media remotely. Content doesn't move to the user. Instead, the user logs into an application session -- which, of course, can easily be serviced from the cloud -- and is presented with a complete, browser-based editorial system.
In the corporate high-tech world, employees work virtually from their home office every day. In the BME world, the only workers who work from home are typically freelancers who have their own systems and redundant copies of content. But, being connected to the cloud and editing on the wire is the most natural evolution that we are about to experience.
Imagine the university that is faced with having to buy 25 more computer workstations to upgrade the digital media lab. This type of infrastructure-heavy, hardware-based purchase may no longer be necessary. Instead, that university can utilize a private or public cloud that provides 25 virtual, browser-based editing suites. Students can utilize their Macs or their PCs, and can either come into the lab or can work from anywhere in the world as long as they have an Internet connection.
Editing on the wire is the first step to the next fascinating decade of the DNLE evolution.