David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
All six major Hollywood studios and a raft of major tech firms have joined to solve compatibility and other issues with next-gen “cloud computing” tools they are increasingly using to create, collaborate on, distribute, protect and archive movies and other media. Dell, EMC, Rackspace and EVault are among the big tech firms taking part. The Entertainment Technology Center at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts will manage the joint standard-setting effort, called “Production in the Cloud.” Ex-Sony Pictures tech executive Ken Williams, now the ETC’s executive director and CEO, said the studios are trying to avoid another round of format wars, such as those that dogged Hollywood with Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD or VHS versus Betamax. Such format wars bring “uncertainty, inefficiency, and confusion to the marketplace, and (slow) product adoption and business growth for all players,” Williams said. “This effort will work to avoid those pitfalls in the evolution of production.” The same cloud-computing revolution that has powered the rise of consumer online services such as Google Apps, Dropbox and Spotify is also transforming high-end services used in Hollywood such as editing video, sharing it with post-production and visual-effects companies and distributing the finished products to various outlets. The initiative also will develop standard formats for archiving films and providing security among other core functions.