cloud connector, real-time collaboration, sharing

From Sharing to Real-Time Collaboration

Stuart Russell
February 23, 2024

The world of video production has changed a great deal over the last few years thanks to technology. The 2020/2021 Covid pandemic also played its part, acting as a catalyst that accelerated the pace of change and requiring the industry to completely rethink working patterns and approach. The familiar protocols followed to create content had to be rewritten. New working practices and tools that emerged arguably altered the face of the industry for good.

Content creation has always required sharing and collaboration. While these two facets of the production process most often took place in-person, on location in an editing suite or a screening room, the pandemic and its associated travel restrictions made such in-person collaboration impossible. The industry focused its attention on tools and solutions that enabled content creation to continue remotely. Just as video conferencing tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams enabled work colleagues to meet and stay connected online, so cloud-based media production solutions help producers and editors ingest, share, edit, and deliver content, irrespective of their locations.

In this blog post, we’re going to consider the importance of sharing and collaboration, examine the practicalities, and highlight some of the challenges associated with them.

Approaches to online collaboration

There are essentially three different approaches that can be taken to sharing content across teams:

  • One-way using low-res proxies: The producers makes proxies, which are sent to the cloud and shared with team members and third parties for comments and approval (perfected by solutions such as
  • One-way using low-res proxies linked to the original footage on local storage: similar to the first approach but also allowing to download copies of high-resolution material for remote editing. This requires access to local storage.
  • Two-way: full interaction and real time collaboration, also enabling the return path to easily upload content. This method is preferred by news agencies, producers working with high volumes of content, producers on tight deadlines, or producers and broadcasters working with a complex content supply chain.

Screenshot illustrating real-time sharing and collaboration using Limecraft. Team members connect online, to comment, approve, upload and download video clips in the form or raw material, semi-finished edits, or finished products.

Drivers of change

Different factors have influenced the growth in popularity of online collaboration solutions:

  • An increasing move towards co-production in order to benefit from economies of scale and global reach.
  • A more global distribution model with an increasing number of international partnerships and production deals.
  • Shorter production turnaround times and the associated requirement for different parties to have simultaneous access to media.
  • Changing work patterns post-pandemic and the growth of remote editing, which has become an industry norm since. Remote editing, by definition, requires remote access to high-resolution material.
  • A greater focus on reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact of media production. Remote collaboration solutions help cut down on travel, which is obviously more environmentally friendly, while also saving travel time. They make it easier to work across time zones and help avoid scheduling issues.

The challenges

While sharing and remote editing both appear desirable from the point of view of workflow efficiency, there are a number challenges:  

  • Raw, high-resolution content uses large file sizes, which require a very fast and stable network connection that won’t be swamped.
  • The cost of storing the entire collection of high-resolution footage in the cloud would be prohibitive.
  • Online collaboration demands robust security protocols, to avoid the possibility of systems being hacked and content compromised (as has happened with a number of high-profile movies and TV shows recently).
  • When uploading proxies to any cloud-based platform (to enable online access and collaboration), it is imperative to maintain the connection with the original files. This creates challenges of version management.

Each of these need to be considered and addressed, and some well-known commercial services may not be completely appropriate for your production needs.

  • The use of FTP servers or commercial alternatives such as Dropbox and WeTransfer can lead to excessive copies of files, which has obvious security repercussions and long waiting times due to the need to upload and download files.
  • Specialised collaboration platforms like vimeo and use streaming (instead of file transfer) and are thus more secure, and they offer a great user experience. However, they are disconnected from the shared storage that contains the high-resolution material.
  • Sharing high-resolution content via services such as AWS and LucidLink may be inherently safer and more performant, but the costs can become prohibitively expensive.

How Limecraft addresses these Challenges

Limecraft’s sharing and collaboration solution uses a proxy-based workflow, which avoids the need to share large collections of raw material. Specific fragments of the high-resolution material may be uploaded in the cloud only for the duration of the exchange, with the bulk of the content remaining conveniently on site.

Limecraft makes sure proxies remain linked to the high-resolution copies, so any comments or annotations are automatically reverted to the high-resolution footage as well, and transferred along the media upon export to post-production.

This is enabled by Limecraft’s Cloud Connector, a software module to connect your local storage to the Limecraft platform, enabling full two-way upload and download of content. Built-in watermarking, password protection and using shared collections with an expiry date all help ensure the highest-levels of security.

Business Case

There are a number of advantages offered by a solution providing full, two-way content sharing and collaboration:

  • Real-time, simultaneous sharing of content shortens considerably offloads the edit suites, freeing up capacity for the actual editing process.
  • Content can be shared with anyone irrespective of location, enabling productions to be staffed in a more flexible and convenient manner.
  • Remote collaboration enables producers to bring anyone into the production process, cutting out travel time and lowering carbon footprint.
  • A proxy-based workflow reduces the storage costs and keeps content firmly under your control, helping you to avoid excessive file transfers.
  • Eradicates the need for complementary insecure FTP servers or other 3rd party file transfer solutions.
  • As opposed to operating a hodgepodge of different solutions for sharing, transcription, multi-channel audio, a single integrated platform reduces the number of copies and transcoding operations

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To find out how Limecraft can help you improve content sharing, real-time collaboration and workflow efficiency, why not get in touch to schedule a free 30-min demo? Click here to contact us.