Unbelievably, the summer vacation season has come and gone. School is back in session, which means early morning drop-off and numerous after-school activities are ramping up once again. Reflecting for a moment, my personal summer movie favorite was Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.
Admittedly, I'm a fan, but the movie did not disappoint. A fantastic story, incredible animation, and a great soundtrack. No spoilers, but we can't wait for the next installment of the series. Leaving the theater, the conversation drifted into "How did they make that movie?" territory. The typical Dad answer: It takes a small army to create a movie like that. More specifically, per the film's producers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, during the CinemaCon preview, "It's the largest crew of an animated movie ever. This movie has 1,000 people working on it."
That’s also 1,000 people with privileged access to pre-production materials such as scripts, concept art, or early cuts, that may deliberately or inadvertently leak the content. The consequences of leaks along the production and post-production multiverse can cost significant financial losses in intellectual property and potential box office revenue.
Disruption Drives Innovation
To backtrack, the fact that I'm even discussing going to the theater and reminiscing on family vacation plans is amazing. Not long ago, we were all in pandemic mode. And, if you think about the pandemic and the media industry, it opened the necessity for - and acceleration of - remote and virtual production. The pandemic brought many positives to the remote and virtual production industry – reduced travel expense, lower equipment and facility costs, increased efficiency, and greater flexibility for production professionals.
However, it has also exposed new vulnerabilities for digital leaks in complex remote production workflows.
For example, remote production increases access to pre-release content. In multiple locations, this enables convenience and workflow efficiency but also makes it easier for insiders to obtain and distribute footage before its official release. Remote production can also involve using unsecured networks such as a home or public Wi-Fi, making it easier for pirates to access assets transmitted between locations. Given the massive size of content assets, cloud-based storage provides another vulnerability to unauthorized access if unsecured. And finally, there's a human component. Internal team members with access to the material may succumb to temptation, leaking or selling pre-release content to digital piracy entities.
A Protection Ecosystem for Production Workflows
NAGRA has formed a partner ecosystem and methodology to respond to this trend. After talking with customers, partners, and key industry stakeholders, our “camera-to-glass" approach uses forensic watermarking for the first time for on-set production content security. The approach enables the industry to secure content throughout its lifecycle, from on and off-set production, through review and collaboration workflows, from post-production to distribution and consumers.
Our end-to-end content protection begins by securing on-set and off-set production. For example, NAGRA has partnered with QTAKE, the market leader in video assist software, to provide an integrated solution where security comes first. The integrated solution protects any takes, shots, and scenes from leaks during movie production. It also offers wireless live monitoring, independent video playback, and collaborative metadata editing for any authorized production crew member. This milestone is the industry's first integration of forensic watermarking to protect content directly from the camera into the production workflow.
Securing Production & Post-Production
NAGRA has also extended protection for any video during playback, download, or publishing, securing the review and collaboration workflows. To offer this enhanced protection of pre-release content during review and collaboration in production and post-production workflows, NAGRA partnered with industry leaders to deliver even better piracy control across their platforms against unauthorized use, down to the source of stolen content and distribution channels.
Now content creators, from major studios to small independent movie or content producers, can utilize their next generation of video collaboration platform of choice, letting users share media, track feedback and streamline their workflow. This level of global collaboration leverages NAGRA NexGuard forensic watermarking to safeguard pre-release video content against leaks and piracy during the review and collaboration phases of content production. NexGuard is imperceptibly embedded at any point in the content production lifecycle, protecting highly valuable pre-release content from piracy and ensuring the traceability of any content leak. In this new protection ecosystem, users can now uniquely watermark each clip a viewer requests on their workstation, including the camera-to-cloud solution. The solution enables the identification of a content leak's source quickly and efficiently so that effective anti-piracy action can be taken. Forensic watermarking also acts as a powerful deterrent against illegal copying or distribution.
NAGRA's protection ecosystem extends to the cloud to ensure efficient content distribution during remote and virtual workflow environments. Once in distribution workflows, NAGRA's forensic watermarking solutions can be used to ensure safe and secure delivery. NAGRA NexGuard File Embedder natively supports AWS and is designed to deliver fast video processing at scale.
And ultimately, NAGRA enables the media and entertainment industry to protect content through distribution, delivery, and beyond. NAGRA Active Streaming Protection and Anti-Piracy Services secure both the content and the service to maximize subscriber value, transforming anti-piracy initiatives from a cost center to a profit center. The comprehensive approach identifies and quantifies illicit network activities, including CDN theft.
Taking a Lesson From Miles Morales
Looking back at Miles Morales (aka Spider-man), it's all about believing he belongs and can do what is required to make a difference. At NAGRA, we've made it our mission to develop and provide the media and entertainment industry with a protection ecosystem for production workflows. Only through collective efforts can we ensure the hard work of those 1,000 people involved with the movie that include the 3D modelers, technicians, animators, and all others putting such great efforts into epic superhero movies can be honored and enjoyed by all – legally.