In Broadcast - January 2018 - 31

31 | Vol: 8 - Issue 1 | January 2018


Production of Immersive
Content Skyrockets Along
With VR Adoption
Despite competitive ups and downs for leading providers of virtual reality (VR)
hardware and software, VR content production has continued its acceleration...
By Keith Lissak, Senior Director,
Media and Entertainment
Solutions Marketing, Quantum


he shifting fortunes of tech giants
- Sony, Alphabet, Facebook -
within the VR market over the past
year reflect surges in innovation and
shifting consumer adoption in response
to new offerings and lower price
points. Whether or not VR headset
sales are meeting vendors' hopes and
expectations, the projected growth in
sales of VR and augmented reality (AR)
technology is remarkable.
Rapid Gains
Sony's PlayStation VR hit the one
million sales mark in June , and a
market analysis conducted by IHS
Markit suggests that the Samsung
Gear VR headset lineup will surpass 10
million sales in 2018. Industry analyst
firm CCS Insight suggests that "2.5
million virtual and augmented reality
devices are expected to be sold this
year, rising to over 24 million device
sales in 2018."
While early growth in VR is
being driven by gaming, video and
entertainment are expected to make
rapid gains. A quickly growing number
of studios are working to address
demand for compelling VR productions
that live up to the format's potential
to transform the entertainment
experience. As consumer expectations
call for more and better VR
content, the intensity of VR
production is taking off.
mainstream is underway and
becoming more sophisticated
all the time. Done well, VR
productions allow each viewer to
take a different path through the
virtual environment, and each
journey is personal and unique,
like a fingerprint. The worlds

being created today are increasingly
deep and rich, relying on massive
volumes of data and pixels to provide a
compelling experience.
Storage Infrastructure
For content producers planning
to work in 360 video and VR, it is
critical to ensure that the storage
infrastructure supporting production
has not only the capacity to store huge
files but also the performance to move
them around efficiently.
Camera and camera systems
today capture at rates ranging from
75MB/sec of content to a staggering
2.7GB/sec, and uncompressed 5K
stereoscopic video content will push
that rate up to 7GB/sec. Astounding
data rates such as these, and the
large volumes of data they generate,
have an impact on storage throughout
the VR content-creation workflow.
Starting right at ingest, the storage
infrastructure must have the ability
to support multiple concurrent
streams of high-resolution content.
VR production facilities must consider
the kinds of projects they anticipate
taking on, and the types of formats
(and their requirements) that their
storage infrastructure will need to

Quantum Xcellis

Moving into processes such as
colour correction, stitching of video,
and similarly demanding preparatory
tasks, the facility will need storage
that can deliver real-time performance
to multiple team members working
simultaneously so that video can
quickly be made ready for editing and
Drive Choice
As content is completed, the facility
will also need a cost-effective, highcapacity store for large VR projects.
Primary storage is an expensive place
to keep finished content that may not
be touched for some time. By shifting
such content over to object storage or
an archive, the facility can regularly
free up valuable space for new projects
and content.
Flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs)
may seem like a tempting option,
given the steep performance
requirements of high-resolution
workflows. Nevertheless, the
right configuration of hard-disk
drives (HDDs) might in fact
meet performance criteria while
doing a better job of addressing
capacity and cost requirement.
For example, SSDs are ideal for
extremely high stream counts - at
the cost of economical capacity.

VR hardware "accelerating"

A small-form-factor 2.5-inch HDD,
on the other hand, can support high
stream counts at a significantly lower
cost and with much greater capacity.
Large-form-factor 3.5-inch HDDs do
not perform as well with high stream
counts, but they do yield good value
for low data rates, low stream counts
and uncompressed files.
By assessing the demands of each
workflow stage, a facility moving into
VR - or ramping up its VR work - can
define its anticipated requirements
and then identify the appropriate
storage system and configuration.
Demanding Content
Realising a higher level of storage
capacity and performance isn't
critical in the near term for every
content creation facility. However,
any company considering a move
into VR and AR formats will have to
address their much steeper demands
at some point. Any storage system
implemented in the meantime should
have the flexibility and scalability to
support future requirements. Given
projections for steadily increasing
adoption of VR & AR technology in the
coming years, content creators may
find their shift to immersive formats to
be a reality sooner than later.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - January 2018