Although it also seems to be more of a cultural issue. There are already pretty good tools from companies like Perforce and Alienbrain, the problem is to convince the artists that there is value in using them. Every time I've suggested it, there has been imitiate pushback and outright rejection from the artists. Even in the places I've seen that use Perforce, most artists seem to see checking in and out as a pointless chore, rather than a vital and helpful part of their workflow
In that case it really doesn't benefit them at all and is a chore. You'll only get them to use version control if it's hard mandate (good luck) or figure out a way to make it completely transparent to them (something like Time Machine).
I was kindof assuming that it would be the same for mid to smaller sized movie/tv studios as well, but at the same time I wouldn't be surprised to learn that you can get a plugin for Premier or whatever that does it.
I know for a fact that there are many largish advertising agencies out there who have fileservers with hundreds of ProjectName01, ProjectName02 etc style directories.
Why do you think apple brought "Versions" or whatever its called in with lion?
Versions (and Time Machine history) are good steps to part of this, in that they are easily available and understandable, but they don't solve the collaboration aspect. How do you diff and merge your local changes into the NEW_final_v2_UPDATED.xls that was emailed to you? I'd summarize the problems as:
- identfying & organizing versions of the same document in ways manageable by normal humans (i.e. not a set of variably-named files spanning email attachments and shared folders, nor a graph of nodes identified by 20-byte hashes, nor a rigid interface to a versioned-file server)
- diffying & merging non-text document types (images, audio, spreadsheets)
I agree this would be a valuable problem to solve well!
That doesn't mean there isn't huge room for improvement in this arena. An approach like this (or OSX's versions) doesn't allow you to do anything like 'git diff' to see what's changed from version to version. I can imagine this is a very difficult problem for binary data, however. Also, distributed version control on media production software could allow for multiple users to be editing a project simultaneously.
Unfortunately, I don't really see GitHub being able to help much here. For example, any work done to make ProTools files git-friendly wouldn't also work on Photoshop files. I'd love to be wrong about this, but I suspect seeing version control in media production software would require redesigning the application's file format from the ground up, and would be a task for each software company to do on their own.