Introducing Ci Workflow and EDL-based workflow automation

The all-new Ci Workflow app brings production processing to your content in Ci, automating your workflows to save money and time while enhancing security.

EDL-Based Workflows to Streamline Post-Production Processes

Post-Production workflows such as VFX pulls and conform pulls require a lot of manual effort and transferring or copying of many high-resolution media files. These transfers can take hours to days – costing valuable time and money. Teams must also create multiple copies of the files to support remote members or hybrid workflows. This leads to additional overhead and new storage locations that have to be secured. 

Teams need to adopt a ‘least locations’ model, for post-production workflows to evolve. Rather than moving content to each process, the process should come to where the content is stored. This is a core tenet of the MovieLabs 2030 vision and one in which we are very much aligned.

With this vision, we’re introducing a brand new app to automate post-production workflows – and it will make you want Ci to be the very first place your source files land after shooting! The app is called Ci Workflow.

The Benefits of Ci Workflow

The all-new Ci Workflow app is a culmination of Ci’s tried and true functionality: secure access models, scalable transcoding, and rich collaboration tools. At its core, Ci Workflow accepts an EDL file and automatically pulls the referenced files, transforms them into the desired format and delivers them to pre-defined recipients. Built natively on our platform, Ci Workflow solves several challenges post teams face every day.

Ci Workflow app logo

Benefit 1: Save time by automating non-creative processing

Locating and transferring source files from one system to another and rendering outputs from source files create downtime in production. Ci Workflow does this automatically Productions are no longer dependent on other groups to do that non-creative work or limited by “facility hours”. They can pull and deliver content 24/7/365.

Benefit 2: Save money by deduplicating storage locations

By centralizing storage to a cloud-based platform like Ci, companies can eliminate duplicate storage locations throughout the media lifecycle. Scalable cloud-based processing means productions don’t have to think about managing capacity or investing in infrastructure. Ci’s automated transcoding and custom rendering let productions front-load media processing when files are ingested to the platform. Generating various flavors of transcodes and making them available in a single central, accessible platform helps to reduce redundant processing in downstream workflows.

Benefit 3: Access to content

From set to final cut to marketing and archive, Ci offers secure access models that support teams across the media life cycle to access the files and proxies they need without moving them to another system. The Ci platform supports remote, hybrid, and on-prem workflows to work together seamlessly. As soon as the source content, such as OCF are uploaded to Ci, transcoding begins, and proxies are viewable by all members of the Workspace – no matter where they are located.

Benefit 4: Ownership and security

Uploading OCF content during production means the studio or content owner retains control of the content from the beginning. Content can be stored in the content owner’s own AWS S3 bucket. Centralizing content on a platform to feed multiple workflows means fewer storage locations to secure. Access to the Ci platform is logged and trackable, and flexible access models ensure that users only have the right level of access to the file or proxies that user needs for their work.

Ci Workflow for VFX Pulls Explained

The VFX pull workflow is a prime example of how Ci Workflow can help to streamline production workflows.

A typical VFX workflow from capture to archive with numerous redundat file transfers and various stakeholders storing files in different locations
Typical VFX workflow with redundant file transfers and duplicate file storage

Rather than backing up OCF to LTO, they can be uploaded directly to Ci and automatically archived in secure, redundant cloud storage stored in the production’s bucket. Once safely backed up, Ci creates preview proxies so that production members can view that footage securely from anywhere. 

When editors need to pull shots and deliver frames to the VFX vendor, they can submit an edit decision list (EDL) to Ci Workflow to initiate the VFX pull. Ci locates the referenced OCF (backed up in Ci) and converts the referenced clips into the desired output format. Once Ci creates output frames, Ci Workflow dynamically provisions access to the frames directly to the production team and VFX vendor and notifies both when delivery is complete. 

Screencapture of Ci Workflow job submissions and automatically generated MediaBox with DPX frames

The VFX vendor can then assign specific shots to specific artists. When it is time to review the VFX shots, they are uploaded back to Ci, and productions can use Ci’s built-in VideoReview app for real-time playback, commenting, and annotation. This happens without leaving Ci and with the content stored in a single, secure location – ensuring that the original files and all created content reside in the same storage location and simplifying the eventual handoff to the archive team.

Ci helps streamline the VFX pull workflow
Streamlined VFX workflow with Ci

A Vision for Ci Workflow

Ci Workflow supports VFX pull workflows today, but we believe productions can use the app for other resource-heavy workflows like conform pulls. Ci Workflow is designed for teams to configure inputs, outputs, and delivery destinations dynamically, so interested in hearing how you think this app could help your workflows. Contact us here to see a Ci Workflow demo or learn how your production team can benefit from Ci.