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Broadcasters’ move to virtualized production workflows may have been well underway before March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated that shift.
Moving functions from specialized hardware to “virtual machines” — software running on generic computers — had already given networks and station groups increased flexibility. But the adoption of cloud-based tools to support remote workflows over the past two years has permanently changed the production landscape, said top technology executives who gathered last week for the TVNewsCheck webinar Virtualizing TV Production in 2022.
Many staffers have returned to their broadcast centers and local studios. But many are still working from home on a regular basis, handling key functions like editing and graphics by taking advantage of virtual desktop software and new cloud-based tools.
Ray Thompson, senior director of partner and industry marketing for Avid, said that news customers that built out new technology infrastructure to enable a distributed production environment aren’t rewinding those steps, regardless of how many of their people are back in the office. Instead, they are continuing to invest in technology that allow staffers to do more and more out in the field.
“They’ve sort of added this whole new layer of capability which allows them a tremendous amount of flexibility,” Thompson said.
That emphasis on remote workflows is “driving Avid’s roadmap these days,” he added. Avid had already released a cloud-based editing solution, Edit On Demand, in fall 2019 which then gained traction during the pandemic for entertainment post-production. To help support remote collaboration, the