Published on Wednesday, 22 May 2013

 

STS-GRIOT Centralises Post Services on Facilis TerraBlock SAN

STS-GRIOT is a mid-sized editorial studio in Michigan handling post-production tasks from delivering rough cuts to finishing, motion graphics, compositing and colour grading, plus sound design and other services. The editors work with local and national ad agencies on TV and web spots for major consumer companies such as Toyota, Ford, Chevy, as well as Comcast and the US Navy.

Hardware Transition

Earlier this year, STS-GRIOT  worked with Burrell Communications on a new Toyota campaign involving several different vehicles. To prepare for the large project, Owner/Editor Terry King and Operations Manager Greg Gabry wanted to make organising the media across the facility easier and to improve collaboration, and decided to invest in a Facilis TerraBlock 24D shared storage system.

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Before transitioning to the TerraBlock hardware, Greg and his 10-person team had been working on an earlier Avid Unity shared storage system, but when it became obsolete, they had switched to using individual hard drives for storage. “The external hard drives began accumulating quite quickly. But we knew what we were missing and that we had to have shared storage again,” he explained. “We were wasting time mounting external drives just to see what was on them. Projects are more organized and accessible with TerraBlock in place now, so that it’s hard to think of working without it.”

Because STS-GRIOT works on a variety of projects, the team needs to access a range of tools, which must also be compatible with the TerraBlock. The system allows them to work with whatever equipment they need for any of the services they run, on Mac and PC. The facility houses five offline editing bays, two online editing bays and a graphics suite – all connected to the TerraBlock via high-speed Fibre Channel. Each suite runs different editing and finishing programs including Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Creative Suite, Autodesk Smoke and Quantel Pablo Rio.

Currently, they aren’t using KVM switches, but may do so in the future. The Pablo Rio is essentially a stand-alone system using a separate storage RAID and relying on the Terrablock connection mainly for file transfer. If they decide later that the Rio will work directly from media on the Terrablock, a KVM switch would have to be implemented then.

Station-to-station

Greg said, “We can move from room to room to work on whichever application we want, and still depend on the centralized storage. It has changed our workflow for the better as well. As a team, we now have access to everyone’s work, so we’re able to collaborate across workstations more effectively. This is vital when working on projects that involve multi-spot packages like the Toyota campaign.”

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Project to project scalability in terms of users is critical as well. The option to connect to the TerraBlock via Ethernet has allowed Greg to bring in additional freelance team members as required. He can install TerraBlock Manager to a freelancer’s laptop, plug it in via Ethernet or wirelessly and give the freelancer direct access to project files on the TerraBlock. “Ease of use is a major factor, especially because I’m not an engineer. Nevertheless, I can have a group of freelancers up and running on the system in just an hour,” he said.

After a few months, Greg Gabry feels that the facility has not pushed their system to its limits yet. “At present we have used it to collaborate through the facility on various projects, but I'd like to see an edit crew working in Avid and another crew using Final Cut working with the same materials at the same time, for example – something easy enough for TerraBlock to accomplish, although we haven’t needed to do it yet.

“We are beginning some physical expansion within our facility also. Extending the facility upstairs means adding a fibre channel switch to expand the number of clients using the TerraBlock at the same time.”  www.sts-griot.com