EditShare in the Joint
Creative Agency Puts Its Prized Content In the EditShare Safe House.
Joint Editorial is not your ordinary post facility. It is a creative force. Taking home a slew of trophies from the recent Cannes Lions festival, Joint Editorial has earned recognition in the categories of Film Craft Editing for P&G’s Pick ‘Em Back Up; Corporate Image for the P&G piece on Tough Love; and Branded Content for the Raising an Olympian one-hour show and Nike Golf's Covert piece.
Known for its outstanding visual storytelling talent, Joint Editorial’s work spans TV, online, mobile and live experiences. The team has creative connections and locations throughout the world with two main offices in the states – Portland, Oregon and New York City. It is here that two large EditShare shared storage servers hold some of the industry’s most recognized work.
An early adopter of EditShare, Joint Editorial chose the technology to help solve a pain point within their editing workflow. David Jahns, a Smoke artist at Joint Editorial, stumbled upon EditShare at NAB more than seven years ago. Jahns clearly remembers the steps that led up to the encounter like it was yesterday:
“In the early 2000s, Joint Editorial was a much smaller operation, and an all-Avid house. We had two edit rooms and an assistant editor. In 2001, we added an Avid Unity, establishing a benchmark for project sharing with multiple editors. We no longer had to have the same media copied on all systems. It was super-easy to open someone else’s project or have an assistant add sound effects to a timeline… then you would simply open the project later in your edit room and your sound effects are right there. The setup helped us be much more collaborative."
“But in mid-2005, we started getting into HD editing. Back in those days, editing in HD was very expensive with Avid. At that same time, Final Cut Pro was becoming a viable option for professional environments, and it was much more cost-effective to build an HD suite with Final Cut. Therefore, we moved forward with Final Cut Pro for HD projects. However, Final Cut did not integrate with Unity. All of our Avid projects had been done in SD with Unity for sharing."
“For the HD Final Cut projects, we experimented with rolling our own network (or using multiple copies of local storage – FireWire drives) and collaboratively sharing media, but we never got any one thing to work as well as the Unity did for Avid."
"Then I saw EditShare at NAB 2006. This was back in the day when they were a much smaller company. They had a small booth with two computers – one showing Avid and the other showing Final Cut, running on the same networked shared storage and playing back multiple streams of media. In addition, the EditShare enabled collaborative project sharing on both editing platforms. It blew my mind. I was like ‘Wow, this is exactly what we were looking for.’ They were the first ones in the industry to do that on a cross-platform basis. I immediately came back and told the team, ‘We gotta get this."
Just six months later, in October of that year, Joint Editorial purchased their first two EditShare shared storage servers, consisting of 40TB for the Portland office.
Today, the company has EditShare storage servers in both New York and Portland, totaling 150TB. They rent an additional 32TB EditShare storage server for special projects offsite in the Portland area – proving that space is truly a hot commodity.
Joint Editorial, which offers offline editing through finishing services, does not manage production or shoots. They collaborate with other creatives and vendors and therefore deal with a laundry list of cameras, including: RED, ARRI Alexa, Sony F55 and F65, Canon 5D Panasonic GH4, GoPro and Phantom. More recently, some client projects have involved user-generated content, which really opened the floodgates to which devices and formats might come through the doors. The editorial team transcodes content into an intermediate format like Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD direct to EditShare storage, making it immediately available for collaborative editing.
Lead assistant editor Eric Hill, who manages projects and media storage on the EditShare systems, elaborates on how Joint Editorial manages the mass amount of content, “Because our storage requirements are so enormous, our offline editorial is done with lower-res proxy files. In Portland, we have more than 80TB of EditShare storage, consisting of two EditShare servers in an EditShare ESA (Extreme Scalable Architecture) Group. These servers act as the central hub of our production. In New York, we have a 64TB EditShare server to manage our content.
“We usually get footage – typically raw camera files – on hard drives. Sometimes the onset DIT will create dailies or low-resolution proxies for us. We’ll create a new media space in EditShare based on the job and the estimated storage requirements – it could be anywhere from 500GB to 1TB to 6TB depending on the nature of the job and the amount of material.”
He continues, “When I’m starting a project, I’ll think, ‘I better give this project a whole terabyte; I don't know how big it’s going to get.’ Then, I may start running out of space on another project, and it may turn out that project ‘A’ really only needs 300GB, so I have an extra 700GB not being used. With EditShare, I can dynamically shrink down the media space and give the extra space to the other project that needs it. EditShare’s ability to dynamically shrink and increase media spaces is invaluable to us; we do it all the time.”
“Once the material is on the EditShare server, we have a very collaborative environment with multiple Avid editors, Final Cut Pro 7 editors, Premiere Pro editors, assistant editors and finishing artists sharing projects and working from same pool of material,” says Jahns.
In the Portland office, up to 20 editors and artists using a mix of editing systems simultaneously collaborate using EditShare shared storage. The west coast office consists of eight offline edit rooms using Avid, Final Cut Pro 7 and Premiere Pro, six assistant editor workstations, two Autodesk Smoke finish rooms, and one audio mix room and voiceover booth. In the New York City office, artists collaborate from three edit rooms – one of which is used fulltime for motion graphics – and two assistant stations.
Joint Editorial projects can contain from three to as much as 40 hours of material that has to be cut down to a single 30 or 60 second-spot, and then matched back to the original high-res files. They work with the original raw materials during color correction so that the artists have access to more color information and latitude on how they manage the color grade. With these systems connected to the EditShare shared storage with integrated, advanced project sharing capability, the flow of content across the creative workflow, whether artists are working with low-resolution proxies or raw camera files, is seamless. Once offline editing is complete, Joint uses EditShare to pass the project data over to the Color & Visual FX Department for finishing in Autodesk Smoke. When the project is complete, final masters are rendered back to the EditShare project space.
The Joint Editorial team is planning to phase out Final Cut Pro 7 and phase in Adobe Premiere CC 2014, and they are also evaluating Lightworks for Mac. Irrespective of which editing systems are deployed, EditShare shared storage will continue to enable the same level of project sharing, collaboration and control for managing content.
Joint recently recommitted to EditShare in 2012 and 2013, purchasing new servers for its Portland and New York City offices. Jahns concludes, “EditShare’s platform-agnostic structure played a significant role in our initial purchase and re-investment. Over the years, we have deployed Avid and Final Cut Pro, with the occasional project done in Premiere Pro, and we have enjoyed the same rich EditShare feature set, including Project Sharing. The shared storage experience has been smooth across editing systems and platforms. No matter which direction we choose to go in the future, experience shows that EditShare will be there as the rock-solid central hub for our production.”