CASE STUDY

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Concordia University - Producing the future scholars of shared storage

 

Concordia UniversityThe Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University is widely known as the gold standard of film study in Canada. The MHSoC is the largest, university-based center for the study of film production and animation across the country, accepting more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The school gives students the opportunity to learn the professional film production workflow. Students have the ability to work on projects that range from 30 second spots to 2 hour features using everything from 35mm film to HD video during production, then utilize editing and finishing tools such as Avid Media Composer and Autodesk Smoke.

A key component to the students’ learning experience is a strong shared storage network for project collaboration and data access, according to film post production coordinator Marcus von Holtzendorff. “It’s important for our students to use what the professionals use and get adjusted to using a shared storage environment like Facilis TerraBlock. It functions as a teaching tool and allows us the utmost flexibility when it comes to expanding our capacity and reading/writing from our 30 workstations.”

Marcus von Holtzendorff recognizes the importance of a storage network to his students’ workflow, especially in light of past experience. “Formerly, storage was sort of a push and pull process, where our students were forced to save their work on independent disk drives and copies were always changing hands. Students were keeping backup versions on disk drives and realistically they couldn’t keep track of who had the latest version. There was no accountability and projects were frequently stalled because we lacked a better storage system.”

In early 2011, having grown tired of the antiquated process; von Holtzendorff sought out a technology to add versatility to the school’s workflow. Throughout the evaluation process, von Holtzendorff considered Tiger Technology’s metaSAN, the Apple Xsan, Studio Network Solutions’ Evo and Facilis TerraBlock. After thoroughly reviewing different environments, he felt that TerraBlock was far and away the right solution for the school, especially since some of the storage networks would add substantial cost year after year to a level that Concordia could not sustain. With the analysis and his decision in hand, von Holtzendorff purchased a 24EX TerraBlock with 12TB of storage.

  • Founded in 1974 through the merging of Loyola College (1896) and Sir George Williams University (1926).
  • Enrolls over 45,000+ students (34,500+ undergraduates, 6,500+ graduates) Concordia currently boasts over 158,000 alumni including lm writer/producer Peter Lenkov (24, CSI: NY, Hawaii Five-O), and director/writer/producer René Balcer (Law & Order, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  • Produces over 200 lms per year, ranging in length from 30 seconds to just under 2 hours

“Immediately, TerraBlock gave us improved flexibility in our post production workflow. We operate with
almost all Macs in our facilities and we needed a solution that could easily cross over from Mac to PC, and
TerraBlock was terminal agnostic. This allowed our students to focus directly on the creative process,
instead of which computer they needed to use,” said von Holtzendorff.

With a TerraBlock-supported workflow, the Hoppenheim School’s students now store all projects on central
storage, giving them the ability to access their projects instantly from any workstation. This eliminates
duplicating media files and improves project management. “The TerraBlock takes the stress off our
workflow. We previously had trouble locating footage but with a shared storage solution, we can read and
write all media right to the SAN,” said von Holtzendorff.

“TerraBlock is suited to fit our needs,” said von Holtzendorff. “We needed a scalable, versatile and overall
reliable storage system that allows our students to create high-end projects with HD video and TerraBlock
finally gives us that ability.”

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