Award-winning Experiential Entertainment Company The Hettema Group Brings Video Content Creation In-House With Facilis

[OWO MEDIA] 150518_EJ_one_world_observatory_0799_PROOFThe Hettema Group is a full-service design firm that specializes in experiential entertainment projects such as theme parks, large scale parades, live events, museums, destination resorts, and other state-of-the-art media-based attractions.  Providing initial ‘blue sky’ concept designs through delivery of the entire experience, The Hettema Group provides detailed design and media production, on-site art direction and installation supervision.

The company's founder, Phil Hettema, was a creative executive at Universal Studios and did much of the revolutionary theme park design in the mid 90s.  He designed Universal’s Islands of Adventure, a creative, technically driven theme park that was a direct challenge to Disney. In 2002 he formed the Hettema Group (THG) and has been the driving creative force on many culturally significant media-based special attractions around the world. Key projects include the award winning Beyond All Boundaries 4D theater experience at the WW II Museum in New Orleans, the High Roller observation wheel for Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, and more recently, One World Observatory at One World Trade Center in New York City.

As THG continued to expand and grow, Eric Hungerford, THG’s director of media production was tasked with bringing content creation in-house. “We used to outsource content creation pieces, but it made sense for us both creatively and economically as we grew to bring that capability in-house, and Facilis has enabled us to do that much more efficiently,” says Hungerford.

Having worked with Facilis systems throughout his career, he knew that a Facilis TerraBlock shared storage system would enable the in-house media department to collaborate as efficiently as possible in sharing large volumes of content. THG purchased a Facilis TerraBlock 24D from Key Code Media’s Burbank office in November 2015 as part of their strategy to streamline creativity and save money.

“Much of what we do revolves around creating cultural experiences that emotionally connect and resonate with guests. For the creative team, this typically means gathering both large volumes of pre-existing material, and incorporating new footage with it,” says Hungerford. “The Facilis storage system allows us to have a central focal point of content that can be shared, so we can easily access terabytes of material at any resolution when we need it.”

For THG, flexibility, ease of use, and cost were key requirements. It was important that the creative pursuits of the staff not get bogged down with any technical limitations or restrictions, since much of the work involves blue-sky thinking and the ability to instantly try ideas on the fly.

“There’s a discovery process when doing the kind of work we do. Allowing our editorial staff to be as ‘fleet of foot’ as possible is a benefit for the project and for the company,” says Hungerford. “Our team has to be free to creatively explore different avenues, frequently with clients in the room, without worrying about the pipeline bogging down."

In addition to Facilis’ competitive price point, one key benefit that the team highlights is that everyone on the editing team knows how to use the Facilis system. When freelance editors are hired during peaks in production, our post production supervisor can quickly explain how to create volumes and projects.

“The system is easy enough that  if we bring in a pinch-hitter editor for a couple of weeks, it’s easy to explain, as the ramp-up time is not very steep,” says Hungerford. “It’s intuitive enough that whether it’s an assistant editor that needs to log footage, or a seasoned editor coming in to do a final online, anybody can make sense of things. It’s pretty bullet proof.”

“Our Facilis system makes the creatives happy, it makes the finance people happy, it’s just a great solution for us,” concludes Hungerford.

About Facilis Technology

Founded in 2003, Massachusetts-based Facilis Technology, Inc. designs and builds affordable, high-capacity, turnkey shared storage and archiving solutions for collaborative media production networks in the film, television, education and audiovisual markets. Its production-proven solutions are fast and intuitive –making it easier for creative professionals to collaborate and work more efficiently. Flexible, scalable and compatible with industry-standard creative solutions, Facilis’ products blend seamlessly into any studio environment –boutique, mid-size or large –and have been installed in more than 3,000 facilities worldwide.

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