The University of the West of England - Digital Media Studios - Bower Ashton

The University of the West of England Modernizes Film and Broadcast Journalism Programmes with New EditShare Media Management Infrastructure

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) moved its film, broadcast journalism, animation and photography programmes into a new facility, taking advantage of the move to upgrade their existing infrastructure to a modern, end-to-end file-based workflow utilizing EditShare media asset management (MAM) Flow, a 256TB scale-out, high availability no single point of failure shared storage solution XStream EFS 450 for the Film/Animation department and a 128TB single node XStream EFS 300 and GEEVS ingest and playout server for the university’s Broadcast/News program.

The new EditShare-driven workflow creates an advanced, high-performance infrastructure with automation, integration of third-party systems, flexible access for students and staff and multiplatform distribution of content, fully supporting the media needs of two distinct UWE Bristol media programmes: Film/Animation and Broadcast Journalism. The installation design and implementation were spearheaded by business partner Altered Images.

Steve Hagerty, Senior Lead Systems Engineer at UWE Bristol for Film, Broadcast and Journalism, comments on the differentiators of EditShare, “When we moved up to the EFS system, we had to look at other systems and draw comparisons to ensure we were getting the best from support to updates, to performance. At the end of the day, it came back to EditShare. We could connect unlimited users where other systems charged per person. Every five years we upgrade and systems come and go. The EditShare system, however, has stayed. We can easily expand it – no need to replace it with entirely new systems when we need to increase capacity. We can even add to it while the students are using it for projects.”

EditShare and UWE Bristol - Vision Gallery

EditShare Provides an Immersive Infrastructure for Progressive Learning

With the move to a new facility, UWE Bristol sought to revamp its infrastructure with a Media Asset Management-based workflow. Unlike previous setups, the new media infrastructure would become an integral part of the school’s coursework and curriculum, offering a truly integrated workflow with a distinct pathway for providing knowledge and experience through exposure and usage, utilization and integration with the program’s expansive course content.

Dick Allen, Technical Services Manager in UWE Bristol’s Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries & Education, selected EditShare to create an immersive infrastructure that connected systems, content, students and staff. Dick states the importance of having a Media Asset Management workflow, “Managing several programs and hundreds of broadcast and film students requires a detailed level of asset tracking as well as automation capabilities to have an efficient operation. Implementing a media asset management layer is key to optimizing the infrastructure, enhancing collaboration between students and staff, and giving our students a real-world media experience using modern tools.”

A core component of the Film and Broadcast Journalism programs, EditShare, powered by Flow, XStream EFS and Geevs, forms the core solution that assists students, staff and research teams to find, reuse and store media assets. It enables collaboration of teams with seamless integration of media systems and federated tools to retrieve and archive media from a central location. With metadata tracking and asset indexing, staff and students can easily locate and re-use content, increasing the value of asset use.

EditShare at the Core of an Expansive Installation

The new UWE Bristol facilities include a production studio, two large photography studios, animation stop-motion and CGI studios, sound recording and Foley studios, colour grading studios and editing suites connected to the EditShare XStream EFS 450 scale-out storage platform.

EditShare and UWE Bristol - Server Rack
  • 122 workstations in total – approx 60/40 between Apple Mac and Windows· 48 animation and 14 stop motion dedicated workstations
  • 54 workstations available for post-production editing with either proxy or full resolution files.
  • 2 colour grading suites
  • 2 audio dubbing studios
  • 16 workstations dedicated for teaching

Other notables

  • Up to 60 students edit/create content currently
  • Up to 62 connections requiring access to storage

UWE Bristol leverages real-world content creation applications including Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Avid Media Composer, ProTools and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve. Materials can be transcoded to either AVID DNxHD (120 or 185), or Apple ProRes 422 (normal or HQ) in either HD or 4K. EditShare XStream EFS is designed to support 4K, 8K, UHD and beyond with near infinite scalability. To organize the massive amount of content created and often exchanged at UWE Bristol is EditShare’s Flow media asset management solution. Acting as a control layer across the EditShare XStream EFS storage server, Flow automates ingest, transcoding, content searches, online to offline movement of media to ensure students are using the correct format and that their content is copied to the right media space.

Structured Access, Key Workflow and Automation

Both EditShare Flow and XStream EFS are designed to structure user access. In a university setting, EditShare user access can be set to allow only certain codecs, streamlining formats and optimizing storage loads.

At UWE Bristol, students have a set of codecs as defined by the University’s technicians. In addition, the students have defined media spaces in which they work. This is all managed by EditShare,” comments Peter Billing, Area Sales Manager for Altered Images. “There are dedicated ingest workstations equipped with Flow for ingesting rushes and other material. All the student needs to do is log in and select the format they want to work within post and the material is in their media space in moments. The automation and structured access removes a lot of headaches for staff and ensures students are able to work with their content without worrying about losing track of where it lives or compatibility with classmates that they are collaborating with or the system they are working on. It's a huge efficiency boon that puts the learning experience first.”

Both DNxHD and h.264 proxy files are supported for offline editing in Flow. Flow features a cuts-only editor that allows users to create sequences which can then be dragged into an NLE for finishing, with the NLE automatically re-linking to the high-resolution media. Markers and other metadata will also transfer into the NLE.
EditShare and UWE Bristol - Control Room

A Foundation for Collaborating on Projects With Ultimate Performance

In addition to providing the core infrastructure housing all UWE Bristol media program assets, EditShare’s XStream EFS 450 solution provides full integration with Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro, including Avid-style bin-locking, project-sharing and multi-user write access to media spaces. At UWE Bristol, student project collaboration is a must and the project sharing feature of the EditShare solution is a critical component. Student media and projects can be stored in the same Media Space, or in separate Spaces with files owned by the members of the Media Space –including media files, media database files, project settings and bins –and any user with permission can modify or delete the files.

EditShare Flow provides users with the ability to drag and drop assets from the Flow Browse window into an NLE bin. When assets are dragged into the NLE, any logging metadata or markers that are associated with the assets in Flow Browse are automatically imported into the NLE. Once the drop has taken place, the associated high-res media is instantly relinked. The clip or sequence is then managed by the parent NLE. Dick comments on the speed of the system working with such large workgroups, “The IT department is impressed with the performance of the system. The new 10gig connections have boosted data rates, moving content smoothly along the various workflows. The integration between Avid iNews and Media Composer and Editshare been excellent. No slowdowns or complaints from students even when we are at full tilt.”

EditShare Flow also provides a student submissions workflow that enables students to export their final work to a watch folder, which can be configured to trigger Flow to create a proxy and email a specific lecturer to notify them that the student has submitted their work.

Steve Hagerty, Senior Lead Systems Engineer at UWE Bristol for Film, Broadcast and Journalism, concludes his experience with EditShare, “EditShare UK is very good at explaining things – what the pros and cons are. The sales team doesn’t do the hard push sell, they were very amenable to what UWE required and got us a system within our budget with room to expand as needed. They are excellent to work with and this is part of the reason why we chose them.”

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