November 22, 2013

Is "Sony Ci" the Cloud-Based Filmmaking Workspace that We've All Been Waiting For?

sony_ciThere aren't many things that I'm absolutely sure about, but the notion that Cloud-based computing and creative collaboration are the future seems almost indisputable at this point. There are a few options already in existence for creative collaboration through the cloud, Adobe's Creative Cloud being the first one to come to mind. However, in terms of tools that are made with filmmakers in mind, the options are even more limited. However, Sony is looking to change all of that with their new interactive cloud-based creative collaboration platform, simply entitled "Ci". Read on to see what it's all about:

First things first: here's the launch video for Sony Ci as well as a more in-depth video about the platform's origins and its features:

https://vimeo.com/62652671

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhcmPXmdK1Y

There's a lot to be excited about with the Sony Ci platform. Not only is the interface intuitive and fantastic looking (a big plus in my book,) but it has features which should make collaborating on video projects from anywhere in the world easy. Ci is capable of many things. You can review video and audio, with all sorts of tools for annotating and commenting on your media. You can also log footage, sync audio, and make rough cuts that can be exported into an NLE. What's most impressive is that all of this happens in the cloud and through your web browser.

Sony Ci is still in its public beta, but it's almost fully functional at this point (with the exception of the logging and audio sync tools). It's free to sign up, and the basic account gives you 5GB of cloud-based storage for free (apparently a Pro membership is $25/mo. for 100GB and a Pro+ membership is $50/mo. for 200GB.) If you're interested, head on over to the sign-up page for Sony Ci and get started with some of these fantastic tools.

What do you guys think of Sony Ci? Is cloud-based creative collaboration the future of the filmmaking industry? Will tools like Sony Ci help make that future a reality in the present? Let us know in the comments!

Link: Sony Ci -- Sony Media Cloud Services

Your Comment

39 Comments

no

November 22, 2013 at 11:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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luca

The 'cloud' is not my future, fuck that shit until Adobe sort their application pricing out and until internet connections are as sure as air (not to mention up as fast as down) who'd be stupid enough to store a client (or personal) project online.

November 22, 2013 at 11:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Filthy Punt

Last time I checked, Creative Cloud is about Cloud Storage... not Cloud Computing... And besides... why bring your disdain of Adobe into this?

November 23, 2013 at 10:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Is the idea to eventually replace individual ownership of Vegas with this ? Collaboration is one thing, but I don't want Sony hiding under my bed any more than Adobe.

November 22, 2013 at 11:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Saied

Sorry, this is the worst cloud solution I have seen in years...
I really thought this was going to be editing in the cloud (you seriously have to stop giving distracting titles for more clicks!).
Skydrive does sharing, storing and organising better. (only lacks video-editing integration to be one of the best cloudservices ever)
Adobe does conferences better.

This, lets call it thing, does nothing on top of what other cloudservices are offering.
The moment there is a service that offers me to use Premiere Pro and After Effects in the cloud (uses a multi-CPU's/GPU's, 128gb of ram, SSD's in raid0 and all other goodies), then I'll go cloud. For now I'm happy with my server (offers the best of both worlds: you can access it everywhere and have the storage very safe at your own place).

November 22, 2013 at 12:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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henri108

Online video editing it a pipe dream until telecoms start providing REAL upload speeds in their packages. I can't get a decent package for under $200 a month and even then I only get 2.5MB up. That's pathetic. I don't care about the 400MB download they offer with that package.

There seems to be some hope with the google optical but that's still a long way out.

ADD to that the fact that I am only talking about 5dii 1080p footage. Never mind the 2k and 4k files out there.

November 22, 2013 at 12:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Terrible videos. I love how the advocate stares at the computer screen most of the time, and how the interviewer basically says it all for him and he says, "Yes" I may have missed something but I don't see where this is a benefit, at least for my workflow. And I agree the headline is hyperbole in the worst way.

November 22, 2013 at 12:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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ronn

Maybe it's the control freak in me, but even if the speeds are there do people feel comfortable about putting their footage online in this way ?

When companies speak about "the future" it should be a natural progression, where there is always a choice, instead of a contrived direction by themselves. I tend not to trust the cloud model because companies are looking more for their own easy life than ours.

November 22, 2013 at 2:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Saied

@Saied -- I hear your concerns. The cloud certainly has its pros & cons and can empathize with your concerns, but I do believe the cloud provides unique benefits and new ways to work that were not possible before.

Our technology is based on our work at Sony Pictures, so we are definitely keeping content security & protection in mind while we architect and design our product. Our goal is to bring the lessons and practices of the studio and bring them to a wider audience of video professionals.

Also -- to your earlier question about replacing individual ownership of Sony Vegas -- we are complementary to them and not intending to replace it. :)

Dan
Head of Product, Ci

November 23, 2013 at 8:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dan

To be honest I'm not exactly an industry key player (yet!) and my eye was on the upcoming Sony Z100 4K pending the early reviews, to work with Vegas/Hitfilm. Otherwise I'm humbled that you personally responded, thanks Dan. Sorry if my early impressions were unduly negative, I'll be more considerate next time before posting.

November 23, 2013 at 11:29AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Saied

Hi Saied -- no need to apologize! I'm still unsatisfied with our product, but I'm excited about our vision for Ci.

We started this fully knowing there will be critics and doubters as we hope to change the way aspiring and established video professionals work. At the same time -- the encouraging feedback fuels our team to keep improving and tackle the shortcomings.

We would love for our product to make the tools and practices we've employed at the high-end studios accessible to the larger filmmaking community.

Best,
Dan
Head of Product, Ci

November 23, 2013 at 10:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dan

Has anyone actually tried this? I did, it is pretty goddamn awful. In beta I know but it's rubbish so far.

November 22, 2013 at 3:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Indy

I spent some quality time with it yesterday, and I was pleased with the ability to share and annotate various pieces of media. The rough cut feature is pretty lackluster, but I don't think it's a bad solution at all, at least when it comes to uploading media for client review and things of that nature.

November 22, 2013 at 4:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4503

we're using Ci on the feature we're shooting now and can honestly say its brilliant, but for Australian bandwidth speeds - prehistoric.

November 22, 2013 at 4:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

*disclaimer, i'm from Wipster*

I would urge you to trail Wipster, our share and review product. I'm a filmmaker who needed this solution, and so I put together a crack team, and over the year we've got a pretty great looking and working product. The trial has 5 free uploads, have a go. www.wipster.io

November 25, 2013 at 5:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Interesting project well done, are you MPAA compliant with security?

November 26, 2013 at 8:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

Hate to break the news but a lot of big budget Hollywood films have been using Vimeo and YouTube to shuttle dailies between continents for 'almost-live' viewing. So I can imagine something like this will be a producers dream (especially this one) . The problem for this approach though is going to be dependant on individual countries bandwidth speeds which do vary and if a production is shooting in a remote area that does not have internet coverage, its an extra production cost to set up a satellite link.

November 22, 2013 at 3:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

Shaun, but aren't YouTube/ Vimeo (private) clips are just the rough cut of the dailies in a fairly minimal resolution?

November 22, 2013 at 10:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

Remember Im talking about viewing uploaded dailies on locked youtube and vimeo accounts to see progress in a days shoot not the actual footage scooted between set and edit. But yes, Cloud format has been happening for a wee while, its nothing new.

November 22, 2013 at 11:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

the problem is, its completely unreasonable to expect a client to use proprietary interface like this. maybe at a large production company - so staff can review a video internally - but for producer -> client interaction, you can't expect them to take on new software. Unless google adopts a video annotating and reviewing utility and builds it right into gmail, I don't see this, or ANY "cloud" video reviewing service taking hold on a wide scale, replacing paper/emailed notes.

November 22, 2013 at 4:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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dv

That maybe so for matters outside feature film making but within it, this approach has been used quite effectively for years and the Sony CI has a lot of advantages for the industry if the data limit was to be raised, so to make claims that you 'don’t see this, or ANY “cloud” video reviewing service taking hold on a wide scale, replacing paper/emailed notes.' is simply ignoring what has already been at play for quite some time on a wide scale.

November 22, 2013 at 4:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

Hi Shaun -- thank you for being an early fan of our product! We're still early and I know we have a lot of work still to do to make this a useful product for this community. I like to say we're just beginning and we have some awesome stuff in the works that we're eager to unfold.

If you're open to it -- I'd love to connect with you. Would you mind contacting us via support@cimediacloud.com, so we can hear more about your thoughts & perspectives.

Best,
Dan
Head of Product, Ci

November 23, 2013 at 8:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dan

Hi Dan, just emailed you today, lets talk further - S

November 25, 2013 at 6:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

Hi 'DV', we've made a cloud app for sharing edits with clients, its so simple they don't have to login to anything, they just click a link emailed to them, play the video, write comments directly on the video, and close the window. We've got thousands of people using the app and have been around since May. Have a go. www.wipster.io

November 25, 2013 at 9:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I wish the cloud can just go away

November 22, 2013 at 5:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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john jeffries

Uploading a "small" 64 RedMag with only 20min footage would take me forever, plus the data cap here in Canada makes this system just unusable for the next years. Even download rates aren't that good to handle video production.
Plus I'm not sure studios/agencies will be uploading highly confidential material to hackable cloud systems.
I'll pass

November 22, 2013 at 10:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Marcus

You hit the nail right on the head. I have 34 down, 5.8 up. Like you, it would take me all day, probably two days lol because I shoot 4k. Pass also.

Not Sony's fault, but my God, 8k is on the horizon. I know some places in the US have Fiber Optic but I am not sure what the up speed is? I think it is like 100 down or more?

January 23, 2015 at 9:54AM

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Well, I'll take a free 5GB storage solution, at least. I've been using Dropbox and private YouTube uploads for a while, anyway -- this looks like it can do what those can and a whole lot more.

November 23, 2013 at 3:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mr Blah

The levels of space are grossly inadequate which forces you to do the max which is 200gb for $50 a month (you can simply use creative cloud to do the same at this point). If you are doing any type of 4k, high fps 1080p, or even 120 720 your going to chew through this space and spend your time deleting clips and uploading. I have one wedding where asset size totals 500 gb and it was a short wedding. Seems this is suited for non professional work, as I can't see it being a viable platform at 200gb max unless everyone uploads proxy and in that case whats the point? We got away from that with premiere pros ability to chug through any footage on the most normal of pcs. Only real need for proxy at this time is maybe for After Effects to process effects faster for preview. Even that is something I rarely do, however I do have a good machine. Maybe it will work for others and if it does more power to them.

November 23, 2013 at 5:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Buddy

Hi Buddy -- this is great feedback! We're just launched recently, so we're listening & learning. I agree with your assessment and concerns; and if anything you're helping me see we can introduce higher storage limits.

One of the things we're not sure about yet is the level of tolerance people like yourself would be willing to endure to upload larger files (such as a 4K or 1080p file). How long would you be willing to wait to upload a large source file? Our product has been architected to handle these kind of files and professional formats. Also, our vision has video professionals in mind -- so it was disheartening to hear your early impression is this was suited for non-professional work ... how can we change your impression?

Best,
Dan
Head of Product, Ci

November 23, 2013 at 8:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dan

I've been waiting for years for a good online video proofing tool.

One that 1. works, 2. looks good, 3. clients (not engineers) can understand.

I'm now using this for proofing, and for such a thing, the free 5GB account is very generous. I upload the files I would normally upload to Youtube or Vimeo, which is about 150MB for 3.5 minutes. Lovin' it.

November 24, 2013 at 9:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Hi Maurice -- that's great to hear. Feel free to provide any feedback (suggestions for improvement or bugs) through our "Give Us Feedback" link within Ci.

Best,
Dan
Head of Product, Ci

November 24, 2013 at 9:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dan

I fucking hate the "cloud". It's pretty much the banking of data. No thank you.

November 23, 2013 at 12:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

What a compelling argument. I guess you must fucking hate hard drives too.

November 23, 2013 at 12:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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jime

No, I don't, because I am responsible for anything that happens with them and I can work with them however I want. Please let me know how hating the cloud relates to hating HDD.

November 24, 2013 at 10:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

Let me ask you, what do you imagine your hard drive is doing if not "banking data"? How is a hard drive in your own computer any different from one in a remote storage facility?

And how exactly do you arrive at a feeling of hate for something like this. How do you find room for things in life that actually warrant that level of emotion? If it is a security issue with you and you are self absorbed enough to believe that your IP is something that anyone but you is interested in, I would just raise the point that your own hard drives, no matter how responsible you think you are for what happens with them, aren't offering you any more protection.

November 24, 2013 at 2:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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jime

People may think that this is an unsecure sight but there are professionals making sure that every piece of work you own is protected and safe. CI is innovative, almost nothing is like it. I can tell you from experience that this is a hell of a lot better than Dropbox. I've had friends who are amazing videographers and tech geeks use this and everyone I've showed this to is blown away. If you have doubts, then you have to test it to be sure. Considering this is still in beta, it's still amazing and almost finished. Did my mention I gave a presentation to the top guys of CI telling them what to work on? That's fucking right. CI the future people.

November 23, 2013 at 8:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Percy

CI is MPAA compliant, thats about as secure as you can get with video storage and about the best...

November 25, 2013 at 6:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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shaun wilson

It's juste a tool, it will not make people get more creative or innovant. It can be useful for a few, like for people shooting in various countries (for travels, documentaries; I can see myself using it when optic fiber will be more spread out) but most people don't really need that kind of things. So far i prefer a photo portable HD that works perfectly.
Putting videos on clouds is a way to secure a little bit more datas, that's all...

November 24, 2013 at 1:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Very interesting, just signed up and plan on trying this out on two shorts we're currently in post with. Will prob. mainly use it for reviews etc. Great to see that they export comments to NLE, something you have to pay at FirstCutPro.com.

November 24, 2013 at 4:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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