Cybera helps non-profit initiative using large video files

Iman Bukhari, Communications Specialist

The everyday use of video is advancing every year, as is the size and quality of these videos. It is so easy to record great-looking HD videos that almost everyone has a “movie-worthy” clip or two on their cell phone or other devices. Videographers have moved beyond full HD 1080p to 4k and 8k. But sharing big video files remains a real problem. Although there are many ways to share big video files, the most convenient way is using cloud technology. But cloud can be very expensive, especially for short-term non-profit use.

Last weekend, the Canadian Cultural Mosaic Foundation held its first annual 48-Hour Anti-Racism film challenge in Calgary. This challenge required teams to make short films (2-5 minutes long) on the theme of “anti-racism” within a 48-hour period. Teams were also given an additional challenge: they had to incorporate  a quote or a prop given to them by organizers into their films. There were about 60 participants making up 17 teams in total.

Doing a 48-hour film challenge means you have to write the story and script, incorporate your unique challenge, film, and edit — all within the given time period. An additional challenge is creating and dropping your film off as a DVD before the 48 hours is up, as it can take a lot of time to reformat the video file for DVD (and then physically drive it to the location). Sending a digital copy of the file is preferable, but this can create other challenges, as uploading big files to the internet can take a lot of time and storage space. All the participants’ videos during the film challenge were recorded in HD, and some recorded their videos in 4k, so the files were quite large. The groups also required a cloud environment that would allow them to share their video files in order to collaborate, especially as some teams were working from different locations.

With this challenge in mind, the organization asked Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit digital technology agency, for help. Their staff created a cloud environment (using the Rapid Access Cloud) that gave each team their own space to store and exchange files during the challenge. The cloud environment saved teams a lot of time, and made it much easier to hand in their final film. (Though one group in Lethbridge felt the struggles of terrible internet connection: It took them over four hours to load their 300MB video file onto the cloud — a great example of why all Albertans need access to high-speed networking!)

By the end of the 48 hours, 11 teams had completed the challenge — which is a pretty good result! The red carpet screening of all the completed films will take place on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, at the John Dutton Theatre in downtown Calgary. The winners will be announced at the end of the screenings. You can get tickets to the event here.

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