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Using a Virtual Machine to Create a HD Promo Video


I wanted to create a promotional video to attract customers myself. I have a 4-year-old gaming computer that I thought had what it took to do this but I was very wrong...


While I was learning the ropes of Davinci Resolve (highly recommend as a free video editing software), I hit the road bump of maxing out my computer memory and GPU. Even on writing this post using Google Chrome my computer memory was sitting at 70% utilization... (yes, I know my computer is getting old and I have too many tabs open!)

On trying to render a 10 second video, the estimated time to render (produce) the video was 30 minutes...


So, being in the cloud computing space I thought, "why not just spin up a beefier machine?" So that's exactly what I did -



I chose a virtual machine designed for graphic-intensive workloads and started to have another play with the same video project and boy did it make a difference. I could actually play back the video in the editor and it rendered in 2 minutes!


I know this sounds super simple but since I wanted to now pursue using this virtual machine, I did need to setup a secure way to access the virtual machine and handle the data storage which I'll touch on next. If you want to know the cost just skip this part 😉.



Network and Security


So... I set up a virtual network and a point-to-site (P2S) connection between the virtual machine (VM) and my PC using a certificate for authentication (to keep to costs down). The connection was also to a private IP address with no public IP address assigned so that the VM could not be accessed via the internet.

I then downloaded the VPN connection client, connected (validated by the certificate) and then used my PC's RDP app to connect to the private IP address and sign-in with the credentials I created on selecting a VM.


After doing this, I thought, "but what if I wanted another employee to access the media files via their own VM or if I want to keep the files somewhere easily accessible after I eventually delete this temporary machine...?


Well, I linked these other (not so beefy and expensive) VMs to a file share stored on the cloud!


Storage


I simply mounted a storage account to the virtual machine as a network drive in a "Hot tier" while I was frequently accessing files here. Now my video projects, media assets and other related files are all in one place that is separate from my VM (and backed up just in case as I don't want to lose my hard work). It's currently costing me 60 cents (NZD) a day, but I should probably delete some clutter now I'm finished and move the tier to "Cool"...


Cost


At writing this blog, the total cost of this project has been $36 NZD. If you ask me that's way cheaper than having to buy a $3,000 NZD computer... like 100 times cheaper...


And that was after putting ~21 hours into making this promo video.



A cool feature on using these cloud resources was that I could set an alert to tell me if I were to be projected to go over my $50 budget via email (red line above). I could have also setup a text alert too but I check my emails regularly enough 😊.


And that about wraps up this post. I hope you find this insightful or perhaps useful for your own cloud technology endeavours.


If you need a similar solution whether it be for business or personal - feel free to get in touch with us at Simple Analytics or see the promo video on our homepage by clicking the below buttons. Thanks for reading!


- Max


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