This patented technology enables AGT's clients to collaborate on full-resolution production files in real-time - i.e., without perceivable delays for downloading or uploading data - using nothing more than standard-issue Web browsers and 56k dial-up modem connections, and without relying on lossless compression schemes.
"We were skeptical at first, but it turns out it does work," Godwin says. "Their [streaming] pixel-by-pixel technology lets clients view multi-gigabyte files off our servers in literally seconds. People can work with and collaborate on pages as if they were stored on their local hard drives, but they're actually coming from our remote servers."
By centralizing digital publishing documents, distributing ColorSync profiles to all constituents, and remotely connecting publishing teams via workflow management software, AGT's clients are assured that color will match across all output media, from print to virtual, Godwin says.
While this approach is one way to address the technical challenge of multimedia color-matching, it's not a bulletproof solution. The reason: Technology can't control people. By definition, mounting a cross-media campaign introduces new stakeholders to the review and approval process.
Each has their own access requirements, publishing jobs, and world view. Few are willing to compromise on anything less than a best-of-breed approach. That can complicate an already tricky process.
"We can and do incorporate any advancements in cross-media color control," says Ryan Farris, regional sales director for CGXmedia, the electronic products and services arm of Consolidated Graphics, in Houston, Texas. "The technology is the easy part. But customers along the workflow have sophisticated color output devices and advanced monitors, and they manipulate and control color. Now that everybody can create profiles and proofs, we're going backwards. Everyone wants everyone else to match their take on color. It can get messy."
Indeed, cross-media color under turf war conditions can become incredibly complex. For electronic display applications, CGXmedia's Farris suggests the safest approach is to re-purpose the agreed-upon CMYK final, and work backwards to get the display to match. Still, the issue of monitor calibration makes color control in cross-media a dicey proposition, he says.