EditShare Helps German Studios Produce Magic Media

MMC Film and TV Studios is an independent media centre located in Cologne, Germany, providing state-of-the-art production and post-production facilities for a diverse range of movies, TV and events.

Equipped with cutting-edge technology – including two of Germany’s most powerful HD control rooms – MMC’s Coloneum studio lot is home to many popular TV entertainment shows, and is the home of the most technically complex shows on German TV including X Factor Germany and DSDS, the German version of Pop Idol.

MMC’s head of post-production, David Merzenich, explained how EditShare’s range of shared storage solutions is integral to the success of keeping such a large and technically complex workload on track: “For us, the major benefit of having the EditShare system is its flexibility which allows us to produce the wide range of programmes we create, with all the different techniques needed. It lets our editors configure the system easily to suit their working style without any restrictions, allowing us to tackle any project with confidence.”

The Workflow

MMC has 45 HD and 15 SD edit suites, four Pro Tools suites, two Native, two HD2 systems and two fully-HD studios all linked up to 240 TB of storage through two XStream systems (each with a 16 TB Workflow Director and 64 TB expansion chassis) and three Energy systems (each with 32 TB).

Working on complex and high-profile productions such as X Factor meant the EditShare system’s flexibility was pushed to the limit to meet the project’s demands.

“Usually you would use 1Gb ethernet to connect to the EditShare system but with a nine-camera multi-split we had to look at an alternative option,” added Merzenich. “This large multi-cam operation resulted in us needing to process 90 streams, but with our server configuration we only had the capability of handling 72. Having tried to fix this issue on a MacPro, then on an HP Z8000 workstation we knew we needed to switch to a faster ethernet speed.

“EditShare’s flexibility allowed us to use a 10Gb ethernet connection which is more than capable of doing everything we need, quickly and securely. It’s a bit like taking a Ferrari on the motorway, driving 300 miles per hour the whole day, but it works great.”

MMC uses Avid Media Composer across all its edit suites, but previously had some running Final Cut Pro before switching all edit suites to Media Composer. EditShare worked across both platforms and the switch to either platform posed no issues for Merzenich: “We’ve had the EditShare system for over four years now and switching between platforms was incredibly simple. The simplicity of EditShare is one of its major assets, both in terms of the system itself and the user-interface.

“Our editors like the ‘Unity-style’ approach to the interface which works around the bin-locking approach to editing which they are all comfortable with – some even occasionally think they are using Unity.”

The Solution

MMC has had its EditShare system in place for four years now and have encountered very few issues. Any small issues they have faced have been resolved immediately by both MoovIT in Cologne, who MMC purchased the equipment from and, in conjunction with the support team at EditShare.

“The guys at MoovIT are very quick and very clever,” said Merzenich. “They’ve worked alongside EditShare to resolve any issues we have had, which you find with any system, which have been dealt with and solved extremely quickly.”

The Benefits

Crucially MMC were looking to fix its costs and identify a system that not only is capable of handling the complex projects produced, but one which provided a realistic and effective price point. “Price was, and still is, a major factor in EditShare’s attractiveness,” said Merzenich. “But that’s only part of the story.”

Its reliability and flexibility are what MMC enjoy most about using the system: “Our editors and post-production team love using it as it’s extremely flexible – we can run different workspaces with different configurations if we wish, which allows the editors to configure the workflow as they require. “We liken it to using a MacBook Pro. If you configure it correctly you don’t need to touch it – it just works.”