Since 1984, when I began my career in the film industry working on the production of independent films, I have witnessed all of the key technological transitions in production and post from analog to digital capture.
Going back to the transition from film to nonlinear editing in the early part of my career, the digital vault replaced production assets on tape and film.
Independent film went through the first wave of this transition starting in 2003 when film lab timing and traditional answer printing was taken over by digital intermediate color correction. At this time the data storage requirements in post facilities grew exponentially.
During that transition in my post production career, I used to say that the film business was gradually becoming the data storage business.
As data resolution capture increased from 2K to 4K and higher resolutions, facility data storage demand grew exponentially. This storage demand became a reality for camera data and also editorial media.
In all parts of the film world including independent filmmaking, facility storage demand drove the need to deal with massive amounts of data on premises. While this demand became greater, the independent feature film theatrical presentation business was going through a radical paradigm shift out of theaters and into Day-and-Date theatrical releases with simultaneous broadcast and Over The Top (OTT) distribution.
Independent filmmakers witnessed the gradual erosion of theatrical and cable content delivery replaced by OTT distribution via the web. The theatrical pipeline for independent films was gradually being replaced by Netflix and Amazon online distribution and led to the creation of the Netflix Content Hub in the AWS Cloud.
The irony is that this cloud evolution in the independent film business has rescued middle budget features that could not be financially justified by relying on the legacy of traditional theatrical box office revenue. In this sense, independent film was rescued by the growth of the cloud and Netflix and Amazon OTT distribution empires.
Although backend box office for the independent filmmaker is no longer a major part of the equation, at least the demand to produce content for the global OTT market has helped independent film re-emerge through the rise of cloud online distribution.
For independent filmmakers, BeBop’s creative post-production solutions will become a natural part of the expansion of the OTT digital content distribution pipeline as we continue to witness a rapidly changing global architecture of digital content distribution, creative post-production workflow, and asset storage in the cloud.