HITS: Fall Keynoter Sees Hollywood Infrastructure Issues

This industrywide shift from standard definition to high definition remains one of the biggest, crucial changes the media and entertainment sector has undergone, according to technical design and planning consultant Sean Tajkowski. He sees the industry going through another one today.

“We’re seeing exponential growth in cloud and data center technology,” Tajkowski said, speaking Oct. 3 during a keynote presentation at the HITS Fall event. “It’s be tough getting this industry to open up to this new paradigm shift.”

For more than 25 years, Tajkowski has brought movie and broadcast facilities up to speed with the latest tech, transforming their infrastructure from the ground up. And the digital world has required changes nobody could have anticipated.

“What I’m really concerned about, what I keep seeing, is this fast-paced evolution of technology that requires massive scaling of our physical assets” like data centers, he said. Tajkowski walked the HITS Fall audience through some facilities he’s helped transform for today’s Hollywood, transforming them into all-digital environments, and making the facilities, in essence, pure data centers. And there has been some pushback along the way, he said.

The growing number of streaming players, the huge growth in original content, higher resolution video, advanced audio codecs, all are combining to create the need for infrastructure that’s capable of handling hundreds of gigabytes of data. But too many of Hollywood’s facilities aren’t even close to caught up, Tajkowski said, because it hasn’t been treated as a priority.

“I keep seeing our industry paying attention to the processes, the workflows, and we keep forgetting about our infrastructure, which can’t keep up,” he said. “Our infrastructure is crumbling all around us.”

The physical production environment — the backbone to the productivity and reliability of the M&E business — can’t continue to be overlooked, he said, especially in critical environments like mastering and broadcast. All-cloud, internal on-prem and facilities using a hybrid of the two all need to b

“I see lost clients, because a facility can’t play back UHD [Ultra High-Def] video,” Tajkowski said. Long-term planning within the production and post-production spaces, to deal with growing data sets, is needed if you want to keep up with what’s happening in today’s media and entertainment world, he said.

HITS Fall was presented by Entertainment Partners, with sponsorship by Genpact, Variety Business Intelligence, edgescan, LiveTiles, MarkLogic, the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR), Signiant, Cinelytic, Microsoft Azure, Richey May Technology Solutions and Comcast Technology Solutions.