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09/08/2013

FORscene: In The Cloud At IBC

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Forbidden Technologies, the company behind 'the world's most advanced, Cloud-based video platform', discusses the value of customer driven development as they look ahead to IBC2013.

FORscene was launched at IBC in 2004, leading the charge towards cloud-based video tools. Despite winning the Royal Television Society's award for Technology in the Post-Production Process the following year, it remained difficult to convince the market that this disruptive innovation represented the future of post production. As Forbidden Technologies CEO Stephen Streater put it: "No one in this industry wants to be the first to try new technology; no one wants to take the risk."
However, after successful projects with UK's Channel 5 and the BBC in 2006, FORscene attracted early adopters that were happy to test the product, but expected it to be redesigned according to their project needs. Development requested by these early adopters – including tool refinements and support for different video formats – attracted new customers to FORscene, kick-starting the cycle of client-driven research and development that continues today.
"While every production is unique, we quickly realised that custom development for one project results in improved efficiency for others," Streater says. "Customer driven development gives FORscene a loyal client base and attracts new business."
At IBC 2013, where cloud-based technology is now an accepted and competitive sector, Forbidden Technologies will demonstrate how they maintain market leadership with the following client-requested improvements to FORscene's Edit, Account Management and Support tools.
Clients expect cloud-based technology to provide the benefit of remote access without delays. Use of FORscene on consecutive series of high shoot-ratio productions, including Sky1's Got to Dance, produced by Princess Productions, prompted significant system capacity improvements. These improvements allow clients to load folders containing more than 120 clips in under a second. Unlike other cloud-based systems, this scalable solution is unaffected by the number of consecutive users working on a project.
As workflows become more complex and incorporate a number of different technologies, integrating with other systems becomes ever more important.
Envy client RAW TV produce Gold Rush for The Discovery Channel and initially used FORscene as a logging tool for their second and third series. At Envy's request, Forbidden has improved FORscene's upload tool to enable multiple CSV imports. This allows multiple shot logs captured on set to be imported concurrently and associated with the relevant rushes in FORscene. Editors working on the fourth series of Gold Rush are now assembling theme storylines in FORscene and seamlessly transferring these edits to Avid for finishing.
Affordability and cost control have become increasingly important as producers strive to increase production value. FORscene's usage-based billing allows clients to control their spending and scale up or down according to current workload. Additional account management features allow producers even greater control over usage and cost.
Support is another important element of customer satisfaction. In addition to the FORscene training sessions for new customers, the interactive support chat room in the interface and the training videos available on the FORscene YouTube channel, a comprehensive FORscene User Guide will be available from September 2013. Users need only log in to FORscene to access either PDF or online versions.
Forbidden will also be showcasing FORscene's news and sport partnerships and capabilities at IBC this year. On-stand demonstrations will show how FORscene interfaces with EVS's IPDirector and Xedio storage to enable remote editing of news and sport, as well as deltatre's video production services for live sports coverage. These partnerships have resulted in the following FORscene developments launching at IBC 2013, which are designed for news and sport but could also prove valuable to traditional broadcast postproduction operations:

- Two additional timeline video tracks with support for animated alpha channels. The additional tracks can be used as overlays for cutaway material, to create picture-in-picture effects, or for logo placement. This development is aimed at sports and news web publishers, but is potentially useful to producers who use FORscene for rough cuts.
- Voice-over recording directly onto the FORscene timeline. Intended for remote news producers, this feature could also be used by remote edit-producers cutting sequences to a scratch voice-over.
- FORscene's Server Lite software, which allows news producers to upload files to FORscene accounts from remote locations. This software, running on a standard Windows laptop, makes FORscene more accessible for use on smaller productions that don't require full server hardware installations.

Read the article in the online edition of Regional Film & Video here.
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