EditShare Tames March Madness

Resolution digital studios and EditShare team up to cover the legendary NCAA tournament.

Resolution Digital Studios (RDS) is the content creator’s dream in the Midwest. The state of-the-art facility on Chicago’s West Side provides end-to-end services to filmmakers, ad agencies, corporate clients and event planners that turn creative vision into reality. The 32,000 square foot production and post complex includes a multi-level studio and sound stage; modular, customisable sets; SD and HD equipment and services for in-studio and field production; post video, graphics and audio suites; and transmission capabilities.

The Challenge

The RDS infrastructure is extremely flexible and can accommodate nearly any digital flavor from HD to VOD for mobile, as well as SD and 35 mm film. As the facility attracted more and more projects, Larry Whitlow, VP of Operations for RDS, began searching for a shared storage solution that would streamline the fast-growing workload. “We didn’t want to have to stop work just because the source work was on someone else’s edit suite,” Whitlow explained. Because RDS serves a diverse community of industry professionals, it was essential that the storage solution be “agnostic”, allowing customers to work comfortably in their preferred editing environment and in a variety of formats, including HD. “We wanted a system that gave shared storage as well as collaborative editing on Avid and Final Cut systems. We would never be exclusively one or the other. Our philosophy is to let everybody decide what they want to use,” says Whitlow. EditShare, the collaborative workflow storage solution, met all of RDS’s requirements.

The Solution

Working with Roscor Corporation, RDS installed 2 EditShare 8RU chassis units, populated with 48x 750GB drives for a total of 36TB storage, as their collaborative storage solution. Unlike many SANs (Storage Area Networks), which require expensive Fibre Channel cards and switches, EditShare systems are Network Attached Storage devices optimised for video, using a standard 1 Gigabit Ethernet network for connectivity. From field to finish – offline to uncompressed HD - EditShare products are designed to maximise media sharing and storage for multi-user editing environments. To facilitate increased workloads for uncompressed HD streams, RDS also implemented EditShare’s optional 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to some of its edit suites, enabling 4 simultaneous feeds of uncompressed HD without any system bottlenecks. EditShare enables file level sharing so that all connected workstations can capture, access and share a common pool of media files in real time. EditShare also provides true project sharing capabilities for editors working in either Avid or Apple® Final Cut Pro environments. Multiple editors can safely and securely access each other’s bins and sequences and work from the exact same Project without fear of accidental deletions. Resolution Digital Studios realised immediate workflow benefits from EditShare.

The Workflow

The EditShare units were installed just as RDS was gearing up for a demanding and complicated project for in-studio production of NCAA Basketball March Madness reports for on-demand mobile delivery. The pace was frantic with 16 games each day on the first 2 days of tournaments. Producers wouldn’t know which plays the in-studio anchors would highlight in their 3-minute wrap-ups until the reports were recorded for mobile delivery. RDS handled the same assignment the prior year, but with the new EditShare workflow, they dramatically reduced production time. Video from each game was recorded directly into the EditShare.

During the games, on-the-floor producers tagged plays as they happened, placing them into a folder created for each game. Library video and graphics were also placed into game folders during the game. At the final buzzer, anchor reports were recorded directly into the game folder in EditShare. Working from the same folder, producers would choose the appropriate game clips and editors would access clips, other library footage, graphics and scores, then attach the pre-recorded open and closes.

“It was true collaboration,” Whitlow explained. “As the producer was performing each function, other people were creating material for him and just putting it into the EditShare game folder so that by time he was ready for it, it would be there. He never had to go searching for material. We didn’t have to move files or anything – everything was in the same spot. When we first did these mobile reports, the turnaround was about 15 minutes from the time the anchor started speaking to when reports were uploaded to mobile phones. We cut that time in half with the EditShare workflow.”

The Benefits

“Not everything is as time critical as the mobile project,” says Whitlow. “But the things we learned on that project about how to speed up workflow with EditShare have carried over. At first you don’t really realise the power of it. You learn the fastest way to get media and material to each other. But you’re not only storing on EditShare, you’re working on it – it’s so fast and accessible. The ability move and share projects and have multiple people working with the same media -- that’s a big deal.” Maximising edit suites is another example of the improved efficiency with EditShare. RDS produces multiple, hour-long features (1TB) for Travel Channel in Avid suites. While waiting for 3 to 4 weeks for show approval, the working capacity of the Avid machines was severely limited because nearly half the storage was occupied with episodes waiting for approval. With EditShare, the shows are now stored centrally, freeing up valuable space in the suites for other projects.

“There are workflow possibilities that we didn’t even think of until we actually began using it,” Whitlow adds. “For feature film work, we have an AE digitising footage while an editor is cutting in the same project. Editors don’t have to break stride waiting for local copies – it’s there right on the EditShare. They can pull graphics from shared media spaces. It saves a huge amount of time but also allows the creatives to concentrate on what’s important. Everything is simplified and it really saves time. And anything that saves you time, saves you money.” From a management perspective, Whitlow appreciates the way EditShare manages users; it’s easy to track who is digitising multiple assets simultaneously into the same project and who is responsible for different media. “From a workflow point of view, it’s obvious that people who understand video production designed the system,” says Whitlow. “The EditShare met every expectation we put on it.”

Specifications

  • EditShare 8 RU x2
  • 24x 750GB drives per chassis for a total of 36TB) with 10 Gigabit Ethernet network connections from each chassis to modular 10 Gig-E switch
  • 24 port 1 Gig-E module
  • 2x 4 port 10 Gig-E module

Suites on 1 Gb Ethernet network include:

  • 1 Mac Avid Express Pro HD
  • 1 PC Avid Express Pro HD
  • 1 Mac Laptop FCP
  • 1 PC Laptop Avid Express Pro HD
  • 2 Mac Graphics Workstations
  • 2 Mac ProTools HD systems

(Push/Pull only)

Suites on 10Gb Ethernet network include:

  • 2 Mac FCP/Kona 3 HD system
  • 1 PC Avid Symphony/Nitris HD
  • 1 Mac Avid Media Composer Adrenaline HD