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Creating and Delivering Hollywood Movies in the Cloud

Shawn Zeng

Solutions Manager

April 6, 2021


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Last year the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) set out to demonstrate a cloud-enabled filmmaking workflow. At that time, HPA and its partners couldn’t predict just how important cloud workflows would become over the year that followed. This year, the HPA is repeating the project during the HPA Tech Retreat, but this time it is even more ambitious.Whereas last year the focus was on content production, this year the HPA is adding the element of over-the-top (OTT) distribution to enable viewers to enjoy the movies created for the HPA Tech Retreat. Remote collaboration between different teams and organizations resulted in the very fast creation of a total of 6 movies from 6 different countries.

This includes a complete workflow end-to-end, from content capture using Digital Cinema Cameras, down to OTT distribution to the user’s home. Amazon Web Services (AWS) provided compute, storage and media transfer solutions. This project shows how it could be possible to create a 4K HDR movie within a day, thanks to cloud tools, even when collaborators are located in different parts of the world. These new cloud-based workflows have the potential to dramatically change the way in which movies are created, processed, and distributed to audiences.To ensure the best user experience, it was important to have an end-to-end solution in place that could deliver Dolby 4KHDR video quality to be streamed to multiple end consumer devices. Also, the solution needed to be highly flexible to enable HPA to tailor the user’s experience quickly and easily.

The HPA was keen to focus on user quality of experience. This meant adding support for Dolby Vision, which delivers cinematic quality videos to viewers at home. It also meant ensuring the video experience would deliver a best-in-class user experience across both mobile and web platforms. At the same time, it was important to ensure scalability and reach. For that, Accedo designed, built, and maintained the OTT video service demo and end-user experience for HPA. Accedo also integrated transcoding and player solutions from Bitmovin and castLabs.

Accedo is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner that works closely with AWS to build scalable and innovative video streaming solutions with AWS Cloud Services. This year, for the first time, Accedo and AWS collaborated on the HPA project, which resulted in a new video service workflow proof-of-concept for HPA. The demo is powered by Accedo One, our powerful SaaS platform for building and growing impactful video services. The platform provides broadcasters, content owners, and brands with the freedom to build, launch, and scale high-quality video streaming services and offers them an opportunity to integrate with best-of-breed products to address their business challenges. The Accedo team has built the branded video experience which gives users access to all the videos in one place.Thanks to the integration with technology partner solutions, we were able to enable best in class experience, but also ensure the basic experience on obsolete platforms.The demo solution is powered by Accedo One and technology partners castLabs and Bitmovin.

Accedo One

Accedo One is our powerful SaaS platform for building and growing impactful video services. Accedo One enables video service providers to design and manage a uniquely branded video business across all leading consumer platforms. It enables those providers to get their video service to market fast with a product that reduces the complexities of execution. It also enables them to expand their service by integrating new features based on what their customers want and need.Accedo One offers a highly customizable UX experience that can be configured to represent the video providers’ brand in a unique way. An aggregated display of essential business analytics that empowers users to make smarter decisions and optimize their service based on real data. A visual editor brings new levels of ease to content curation and UI management, meaning customers can test and roll out changes to live services without re-submitting them to the app stores.

Bitmovin Encoding

The Bitmovin Encoding is a chunk-based cloud encoding approach that enables content to be delivered at up to 100x real-time, in the highest quality imaginable. Bitmovin optimizes video quality at the lowest bitrates, meaning that the HPA can deliver stunning quality video to viewers while achieving significant bandwidth savings.Once produced, the movies are processed and transcoded for OTT delivery by Bitmovin.

castLabs PRESTOplay

Accedo has integrated castLabs PRESTOplay, which can automatically detect and choose the right feed depending on the end-user device. It enables the playback of 4K Dolby Vision, HDR-10, SDR, DASH, and HLS.

Dolby Vision

The Dolby Vision integrated workflow gives content creators the tools needed to efficiently create a wide color gamut and high dynamic range content and ensures that the look they create in the color suite stays true when experienced across a multitude of devices. With Dolby Vision high dynamic range imaging, you get bolder highlights and incredible contrast. That means greater sharpness, depth, and more detailed shadows to expand storytelling possibilities like never before.

What are the conclusions?

This project has been an excellent example of collaboration, between both technology vendors and creative professionals, to deliver stunning movies in very short timeframes.Bryce Pedersen, Global Marketing Strategy at castLabs, said: “To support the project’s success, we provided our feature-rich PRESTOplay software for the HPA to have its own browser player this year. We were happy to collaborate with Accedo to enable top-quality premium streaming where we supplied the underlying playback technology, including HDR auto-detection and customizable UI tools, while Accedo created a compelling bespoke branded app experience."Teddy Zeskind, Partner Manager, Bitmovin said “We were honored to be a part of the HPA Supersession event: Found Lederhosen. By using Bitmovin’s encoding, the creators could leverage best in breed technology to deliver the highest quality assets for the final movie. To support these creators, we provided our Per-Title Encoding–a form of encoding optimization that customizes the bitrate ladder of each video, based on the complexity of the video file itself. As the first Dolby Pro Partner to integrate Dolby Vision and Atmos encoding in the cloud, Bitmovin included Dolby Vision in the HPA encoding workflow to highlight the importance of high-quality audio and video to bring the creators’ end vision to life.”The demo shows what is possible when enabling a fully cloud-enabled video production and distribution pipeline with best-of-breed platforms. I’m sure we will see others following the HPA example to dramatically reduce time to market for movies and other video content.

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