Cloud Capabilities Create a King Kong for the Ages

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By: Albert McKeon|

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King Kong first shook audiences in 1933, creating a formula for action and thriller movies that’s still used today. While that same shock-and-awe approach to storytelling remains tried and true, moviemaking technology itself has evolved tremendously in the past 84 years. The most recent advancements incorporate cloud capabilities and are on display in a six-minute movie that accompanies Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure theme park ride, “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.”

The 3-D animatronic experience brings Universal guests face to face with King Kong as they ride through the island home of the iconic monster. Not affiliated with the movie “Kong: Skull Island” that was released in theaters this month, the theme-park short is one of the world’s first 24K-resolution motion pictures and a testament to what’s possible when using the cloud in media production.

Cloud Capabilities Bring King Kong to Life

“Skull Island: Reign of Kong” might seem over in a flash to the thrill seekers, but it was a long journey for Prana Studios to make the feature — a process that will be reviewed in detail at IBM Interconnect on March 21. Sachin Shrestha, the head of Prana Studios’ production technology and pipeline department, will join Sravan Kumar Yallapragada, a senior cloud solutions architect from IBM Cloud, for the session “Bringing King Kong to Life in 24K Resolution.”

The talk will detail how IBM’s cloud capabilities helped to generate the high-resolution graphics of “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.” But the vivid detail of this new iteration of King Kong — who appears so close to guests that they “feel his breath sweep across their skin,” according to Universal — isn’t the only media production advancement made possible by cloud technology.

As anyone who downloads movies, TV shows and music from the cloud can attest, digital distribution has transformed how people are entertained. Consumers can watch the original “King Kong” on their mobile devices while waiting for a bus or a doctor’s appointment. This is a pretty different experience from the crowd eight decades ago, who needed to migrate to a theater, sit down and immerse themselves in the same story.

Cloud capabilities have also led to sweeping changes on the other side of the media supply chain. Prana Studios’ 24K-resolution movie wouldn’t have been possible without a cloud computing service that gave the studio’s creative team instantaneous access to digital files and the ability to collaborate from anywhere.

How the Cloud Transforms Visual Media

Cloud services have vastly improved production, collaboration and distribution processes for media companies, and they’ve also lowered costs. Media companies would have to spend a considerable amount of money to maintain the infrastructure needed to store and transfer the sizable and complex digital media files behind today’s music, movies and television shows. With a cloud computing service, media companies can spin up servers to meet immediate demand and then shut them down when they’re not needed.

Cloud technologies support subscription and pay-per-view models, which are now the prime distribution platforms for most media companies. The shift to cloud couldn’t have come at a better time for the music industry, which for years suffered plunging revenue because of flat-lined disc sales. But 2016 saw a second consecutive year of growth thanks to streaming services, according to Bloomberg Technology. In the U.K., demand for streaming and downloadable movies and TV shows pushed the cloud model ahead of physical title sales for the first time, as The Guardian reported.

The cloud also enables media companies to:

  • Apply the best storage and asset management practices, including either on-site or off-site storage and the conversion of analog assets to digital ones.
  • Develop an enterprise-wide strategy for standards-based metadata creation, discovery, use and exchange.
  • Protect assets using encrypted communications, a helpful tool in their fight against digital piracy.
  • Integrate enterprise legacy and back-end systems such as CRM, ERP and supply chain management with their cloud service.

Cloud computing has made media companies stronger in just about every facet of production and distribution. Even King Kong could envy that kind of power.

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About The Author

Albert McKeon

Freelance Writer

Albert McKeon covers technology, health, business, politics and entertainment. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter for 16 years on the staffs of The Telegraph (N.H.) and Boston Herald, winning the New England Press Association’s Journalist of the Year award and other honors. He now writes as a freelancer for several magazines and news outlets, and creates content for organizations such as Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston College.

Articles by Albert McKeon
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