Published on Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Promo Scape editing, motion graphics, DVD and Blu-ray authoring house in Melbourne, installed a
Facilis TerraBlock SAN last year for faster more flexible shared storage.
|The company’s CEO and Producer Tony Laughton began researching high-bandwidth systems to replace the studio’s aging RAID system, to cover the company’s requirement for quick ingest and turnaround of 3D and Blu-Ray encoding projects. H e was drawn to Facilis TerraBlock at the 2010 NAB Convention because of its speed, flexibility and potential to grow and adapt to the studio’s needs.|
Upon installing the SAN, Laughton noted, “Our team of editors can now access drives from multiple platforms simultaneously at their 12 workstations, which has made all the difference when meeting client deadlines,” said Tony. “For us the ingest speeds are limited by the amount of tape decks we have, but we can run three digital betacams easily with suites capturing ProRes HQ and the HDCAM going and another suite capturing 10bit uncompressed HD - while the graphics, encoding and other authoring stations continue to work without interruption.
“Our old 16-drive RAID, although good, was not capable of the throughput of the 24-drive TerraBlock. We previously only had only volume level sharing but now it is at file level, so we can all work on the same material at the same time if necessary.
“All high bandwidth connections at Promo Scape, like edit suites and D-Cinema, are fibre connected, while graphics, authoring and some suites are giga ethernet. The nice thing about TerraBlock is it also has 4 giga ethernet ports aggregating to supply a single 4gig pipe, so you can edit on your laptop with ProRes over the network if you want.
“All our suites have Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and we added Premiere for those using it. Most work is done in FCP, but we are transitioning back to Avid as we do not intend to migrate to FCPX. We have mostly Mac suites with a few PCs, but running both is not an issue as they both directly connect to Terrablock.”
Promo Scape’s clients also have the ability to visit the studio and connect to the network to work with editors on their projects. Once connected over the company’s wifi or fixed network, the Terrablock manager can be installed in about 30 seconds. Clients can then access any drive they are given permission to see, which appears like any other drive on their laptops. Tony said, “They may have additional files to drop into the project folder or they may just want to scrub through footage while the editor is working. They can even log additional metadata. It is up to them, really. Previously there was no easy way for clients to connect to our edit volumes.”
Freelancers can dry hire the suites at Promo Scape, where a dedicated volume is created for each project. This volume can be hidden from other suites so they can work privately, or shared with a small group, maybe with the graphics department, for instance. This also works in reverse in that the artists at Promo Scape can hide all other work from casual users, who can only access a specified drive. The whole system is flexible in this way. Tony commented that several freelancers using the studio have remarked that the set-up is more impressive than some major television studios they have worked in.
Promo Scape has attracted new business recently by integrating D-Cinema encoding into its services. TerraBlock has adequately supported the quick ingest and editing enabling the studio to take on these new opportunities, which demand an efficient workflow. “D-Cinema needs the highest quality to begin with, which means 10-bit uncompressed HD, 2K or 4K files. To be able to access them, play them and encode places a huge demand on bandwidth. Terrablock achieves this and doesn't create an issue for everyone else connected to it. Our previous RAID could have played one uncompressed HD stream and maybe one ProRes HQ SD, but that would be about it. To be fair, It isn't really comparable.
Tony explained, “A system like TerraBlock gives us more confidence when pursuing high-bandwidth projects with quick turnaround times. Being able to quickly capture content and edit from one central location has increased efficiency without worrying so much about capacity and IT issues.” www.facilis.com www.promoscape.com.au