Finalist 2022

Blackmagic Cloud Pod

Blackmagic Design

The Blackmagic Cloud Pod is a ground-breaking design that converts any USB-C disk into a network storage device.

The Blackmagic Cloud Pod is a ground-breaking design that converts any USB-C disk into a network storage device. Designed specifically to enhance multi-user film and television post-production workflows, it costs just $395 and facilitates fast, secure, real-time collaboration, be it in a studio or across the world.

Design Brief:

A range of inherent challenges faces any film or television project, not least of which is the effective sharing and editing of massive, confidential digital video files. This is exacerbated for independent productions working with shoestring budgets, makeshift studios or remote teams often scattered across the globe. With Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro capable of producing 12K digital video files at framerates of 60fps, most internet connections are too slow to cope, especially when accessed dozens of times a second by multiple users throughout post-production. Traditional Storage Area Networks (SANs) are expensive, complicated and inflexible, requiring specialist installation and ongoing maintenance.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Enhancing the workflows of creative people with accessible, professional video technology remains central to Blackmagic Design’s ethos. This is underpinned by a holistic, multi-disciplinary business strategy in which diversification is driven by experiences that connect people to other segments of the Blackmagic ecosystem in a seamless and intuitive way.

The affordable Cloud Pod revolutionises post-production workflows by allowing users to leverage existing, inexpensive storage media for effective real-time collaboration between cinematographers, editors, colour graders and special effects artists. With minimal investment studios can free themselves from the inefficiency of inferior technology, enhancing productivity without investment in expensive, inflexible infrastructure. Lightweight, compact and discrete, the Blackmagic Cloud Pod can be used anywhere, and is an affordable means of establishing a fast, multi-user post-production workflow.

A true ‘plug-and-play’ solution, users simply power up the Cloud Pod and connect to a network via the high speed 10G Ethernet port. Plug in up to two USB-C disks and they instantly become available to everyone on that network. Ideal for remote collaboration, Cloud Pods can be placed in multiple locations, leveraging Dropbox sync to create a local copy of each file that is instantly available to editors and colour graders regardless of location.

Design Excellence

Form: Aesthetics and form are a pivotal in forming meaningful connections between Blackmagic Design products and their professional users. The minimal design of the Cloud Pod is driven by subtle yet significant functional requirements. The slim, rectilinear form sits lightly and discretely in any environment, the tapered underside ensuring constant airflow to the quiet but high performance thermal management system.

Function: With two USB-C ports, the Cloud Pod can host two separate USB disks on a network simultaneously. Paired with a high speed 10G Ethernet connection and internal processing designed specifically to saturate the Ethernet port to its theoretical maximum speed, it delivers low latency, responsive performance. The HDMI monitoring output also provides a live graphic representation of the memory core with real time read/write access and other diagnostics for each connected user.

Quality: By carefully rationalising materials, manufacturing processes and assembly requirements, the Blackmagic Cloud Pod is an exercise in discipline and restraint, maintaining a sense of high-end quality at an extremely low price point. Refined textures provide subtle contrast to polished zones in lieu of paint or multi-colour printing, minimising costs while creating a sophisticated, minimal aesthetic. Simple, open and shut tooling and optimised part counts offer cost effective production, effortless assembly and optimal speed to market.

Commerciality: Embedded with Blackmagic OS and cutting-edge networking technology, the Cloud Pod seamlessly connects users to Blackmagic Cameras and DaVinci Resolve’s suite of professional video editing, colour grading, audio and effects technology, driving growth and diversification through discovery and experimentation.

Design Innovation

One of the major hurdles facing emerging filmmakers and television producers is the prohibitive cost, complexity and inflexible nature of post-production equipment, software and infrastructure. A core value of Blackmagic Design is to remove these barriers, empowering people with affordable, accessible technology suited specifically to their workflows.

The Blackmagic Cloud Pod is an affordable, intuitive means of facilitating high-speed network collaboration. By eliminating expensive internal flash storage, and allowing users to leverage their own USB-C storage media, it demands minimal additional investment to establish high-speed, multi-user access. Unlike traditional SANs, the ultra-compact, lightweight and quiet Cloud Pod can be used virtually anywhere, offering endless freedom for collaboration, even in challenging locations. This democratisation occurs not simply because video technology such as this becomes more affordable.

The Cloud Pod is quick, easy to setup and approachable to both novice and expert users alike. By linking users to other aspects of the production process from capture to final output, it encourages discovery and learning through intuitive and responsive user experiences. Given the context in which we now live and work, this accessibility should allow more people to realise their creative goals exactly as intended, free of financial limitations or inferior technology.

Design Impact

Developed in parallel with DaVinci Resolve 18, the Blackmagic Cloud Pod has the potential to revolutionise the way post-production studios operate. With the pandemic shifting our perspectives on the nature of life and work, more and more people are choosing to work remotely from home studios, driving the need for more effective, affordable collaborative technology. With Blackmagic Cloud Pods, remote users can instantly and affordably establish a high-speed workflows between multiple colleagues all over the world, ensuring more creative projects are produced on time and within budget.

The Cloud Pod is one of the first products in a brand new market segment for Blackmagic Design. A unifying piece of the Blackmagic ecosystem, it connects image capture, editing and post-production in a seamless and circular way that reinforces the connection customers have for the Blackmagic brand throughout every step of their creation process.

The Cloud Pod’s exceptionally low cost and intuitive nature should make it accessible to a vast array of creative people, accelerating sales volumes exponentially. With immersive GUI and Blackmagic OS used throughout the entire product range, it offers users a familiar experience that enables users to quickly and easily adopt more powerful variants as their businesses grow.

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