Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


How today’s storage and memory decisions underpin future creativity

Ann Keefe, Regional Director - UK and Ireland at Kingston Technology, explains how storage and memory decisions made now are underpinning creativity in the future

The media and entertainment (M&E) industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, fuelled by the shift from analogue to digital workflows and the proliferation of streaming services. These changes have led to increased demand for higher-quality content, more complex deliverables, and improved capture. Consequently, companies working in the M&E sector face mounting pressure to deliver more, faster, and at a lower cost.

Flexible external storage

One of the most significant challenges facing M&E businesses is the need for speed and storage capacity. The resolution of footage has progressed from HD to UHD, quadrupling data bandwidth requirements. Modern software tools are memory-hungry, and the original camera files, as well as the final deliverables consumed on streaming platforms, reside in the digital realm. While modern technology advancements allow companies to explore new creative avenues – such as shooting from multiple angles and focusing on enhancing the overall quality of their productions – the increased flexibility comes at a cost – the need for faster read/write speeds in storage solutions and greater capacity are now top priorities.

Ann Keefe, regional director – UK and Ireland at Kingston Technology

Cost optimisation is another critical factor. Even the biggest productions aim to minimise storage expenses to allocate more resources toward on-screen elements. This necessitates solutions that are not only fast and offer the required capacity, but which are also affordable, and maximum reliability is paramount to ensure seamless operations. While solid-state drives (SSDs) may be more expensive upfront compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), the long-term operational costs associated with the more traditional, and slower media can quickly erode the initial cost advantage of HDDs. For production houses relying on hyper-efficient workflows, the performance benefits offered by SSDs can make a significant difference in the commercial success or failure of media projects.

Working on outdoor sets and on-location shoots means that portability must be considered, particularly if production is taking place in challenging environments. Heavy and bulky drives or slower HDDs are often impractical in these situations. Compact and ruggedised SSDs, designed with durability and speed in mind, are more practical. Production companies are no longer prepared to compromise when it comes to what and where they can shoot, which means using solutions that offer the bandwidth to manage high volumes of data from multiple cameras and cards, regardless of whether they are in the field or at a static location.

On-premise vs cloud

Like other industries, the debate around on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid approaches to data storage rumbles on. There is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ option for media and entertainment companies, particularly on location. On-premise storage offers control and guaranteed access to data, which can be invaluable. However, cloud storage is useful for collaboration and leveraging the scalability and computing power of cloud platforms. It also allows companies to take advantage of AI and machine learning smart tools that are highly processor-intensive, demanding the kind of resource and storage capabilities that the cloud is well placed to provide, and which will reduce the time for tasks such as rendering, video processing and data analysis. A hybrid approach, combining on-premise storage for active projects and cloud backup for archival purposes, is possibly the best of both worlds – ensuring business continuity while benefiting from the flexibility and scalability of the cloud.

 Utilising memory

Regardless of the storage and computing approach, M&E companies must ensure that their production staff and editors have the necessary memory capability to turn concepts into final output efficiently. High-performance memory solutions, such as DDR4 and DDR5 modules, can provide the speed and capacity required to handle demanding workloads, enabling creative teams to focus on their craft without being constrained by technical limitations. When purchasing memory solutions, companies should prioritise addressing their most pressing bottlenecks. Whether it’s transfer times, slow application response, or limited capacity, identifying and resolving these pain points can significantly improve overall workflow efficiency. User needs must be considered. Power users running multiple resource-intensive applications simultaneously, such as video editing, compositing, photo editing, and sound applications, will require more memory than those running one or two creative applications at a time.

As end-user demands continue to evolve, the media and entertainment industry is pivoting towards flash-based solid-state storage which satisfies the need for speed, capacity, and reliability, is cost-efficient, and allows emerging technologies like AI and cloud computing to be leveraged. By adopting a strategic approach to storage and memory, M&E companies can ensure their production staff and editors have the tools they need to bring their creative visions to life efficiently and effectively.