M&E Day: New Tools Will Help Studios Produce and Deliver From Home, 5th Kind CEO Says


The COVID-19 pandemic has made it crucial for studios to deliver assets by using digital assets management (DAM) workflows to finish production elements and collaborate, and new 5th Kind features and tools will make it easier than ever for them to produce and deliver from home or anywhere else, according to Steve Cronan, the company’s CEO.

Cronan used his July 2 cloud breakout session “Streamlining & Securing Collaboration in a Work-From-Home World at the Global Media & Entertainment Day event presented live, virtually, from London, to showcase 5th Kind’s upcoming new features and tools, including its watermarked Real-Time Synced Review Player, for collaborative team sessions.

The DAM company has worked with studios including Disney, Illumination Entertainment, Laika, Lionsgate, Marvel Studios, Starz, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, “making sure their pipelines are super secure and organizing all their data,” he told viewers.

“One of the foundational studios” that 5th Kind has “worked with is Marvel,” the relationship dating back to “Iron Man,” and it enabled “them to build the studio around the product,” he said. They have been able to “unify a lot of different workflows, which connects a lot of different companies” and saves them “a lot of money through organizing the data” and reuse the data, he said.

“We like to look at the process holistically” at 5th Kind, he said. And key questions it asks, he noted, are: “What are the types of files? What are the types of metadata? What’s the ripple effects of the decision-making?…. How does the information flow around the organization and what are the ripple effects of the decision-making?”

The company also likes to “look at all phases of the process,” he pointed out. “How do we take all the pre-production, creative content [and] feed it into the production …. take the camera and the lens information [and] work towards how do we unify all these different phases across the process – [to] allow you to create a really rich archive making assets findable, searchable, reusable, and then maximizing the security.”

Among 5th Kind clients, “there’s a lot of ad-hoc kind of review happening, where they’ll share a file with someone, they’ll have users on a phone call and they’ll be manually communicating to them what file to go to,” he noted, adding: “It’s always the hope: Is the user going to the file? Are they on the right page? Are they on the right frame? So there’s a lot of overhead in trying to coordinate all these users.”

What 5th Kind has done is “we’ve built this real-time sync engine where all the coordination is now moved to the cloud,” he told viewers. Using it, now “we can be a hundred percent sure exactly what file you’re looking at [and] it’s going to have all the watermarking personalized for each individual user,” he said.

The company is “taking that coordination layer away from the process [and] we’re taking the technical question away because you don’t actually need to install any applications, there’s no hardware required, there’s no file downloads so we actually can live stream watermark on the fly,” he explained.

There are also “no file limits, so no matter how big the file is, what type it is, we’re going to try and visualize it and make sure it can be used,” he said.

“The goal is to allow you to focus on that collaboration [and] take those technical questions away from the creative process,” he noted.

The Real-Time Synced Review Player will “combine all your favorite file types, connect it through all your favorite devices, and then make them available … all watermarked on the fly [and provide] contextual approvals, [with] all the annotations that allow you to draw on content in real-time,” he said, adding: “We’re bringing in soon chat, voice over IP and remote desktop, allowing you to have a fully collaborative experience…. You also get to share it publicly with links, everything is going to be watermarked on the fly with your name and it’s going to allow you to deliver that high-quality content so that you don’t have any buffering.”

He went on to show the design of the new player and went on to explain: “We’re combining all of those different file types and the annotations and the watermarking” and all of the features “to give you minimum buffering, a way to control playback speed, give… frame accurate annotations – [and] it can even do things like sub clipping.”

The player will be available for mobile devices and through Apple TV, he said, then provided a demonstration, adding: “As we work from home, we’ve got some new, exciting features coming.”

To view the presentation click here.

The fourth annual M&E Day event, presented by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), featured mainstage panels and more than 15 breakout sessions, covering the latest it data, cloud, IT and security across the media and entertainment technology ecosystem.

The event was presented by Caringo, with sponsorship by Convergent Risks, Cyberhaven, Richey May Technology Solutions, RSG Media, Signiant, Whip Media Group, Zendesk, Seagate Powered by Tape Ark, Sony New Media Solutions, 5th Kind, ATMECS, Eluvio, Tamr, the Audio Business Continuity Alliance (ABCA), the Entertainment Identifier Registry (EIDR) and The Trusted Partner Network (TPN).