Facilis TerraBlock SAN Simplifies Editing for Bethesda Softworks

bethesda softworks case study imageFor Video Producer Matt Killmon and Associate Video Producer Sal Goldenberg of Bethesda Softworks, world-class publisher of AAA video games such as “RAGE” and “Skyrim,” no two work days are ever the same. Every day brings a unique, new set video production tasks and challenges as they capture, edit, manage, encode and wrangle internal and external video marketing and operations projects for Bethesda.

In 2011 Bethesda’s burgeoning project load and video department expansion brought about the need for a more efficient method of sharing assets and collaborating on large projects. Killmon said, “The storage I’d inherited was end of life and no longer supported by the manufacturer. With 9TB of existing, irreplaceable data on that aging storage, I knew we needed a fast solution that could be easily shared and had room to grow with us.”

New to shared storage, Killmon enlisted guidance from the Creative Cow forums and ultimately purchased the Facilis TerraBlock 24 EX SAN in July 2011 from Digital Video Group. He shared, “After comparing four different solutions, TerraBlock best suited our needs for speed, expandability, and flexible access for both Mac OS X and Windows. Now that we have a SAN like TerraBlock, the thought of going back terrifies me!”

“TerraBlock has made our lives as editors much simpler. We spend less time worrying about capture sessions or where to find an asset and more time producing quality content,” Killmon continued. “Plus, the expandability of the TerraBlock means growing the department further is no sweat. Knowing I have an infrastructure in place that is built for expansion is a huge weight off my shoulders.”

Before TerraBlock, Killmon’s storage system, when near-full, dropped frames, which resulted in lost takes. Killmon said, “When our old storage system reached capacity, a take longer than 7 minutes would drop frames and fail. In live capture from game consoles, dropped frames mean lost takes. That simply doesn’t happen on the TerraBlock – full volume or not.”

Killmon and Sal have leveraged TerraBlock for a number of recent projects including gameplay videos for both “RAGE” and “Skyrim,” and a trailer for the final Fallout: New Vegas DLC, “Lonesome Road,” among others. Killmon said, “TerraBlock is fast, really fast. Much of our live game capture is 720p60 ProRes, which the TerraBlock could do in its sleep. 720p60 8-bit YUV is no sweat either. When we eventually populate the other 12 bays with drives and can span volumes across both ‘sides,’ we’ll have enough bandwidth to easily capture or play back multiple 1080p60 8-bit YUV streams at the same time. I love that I can do whatever I want on the system without impinging others’ activities.”

TerraBlock has accelerated Matt and Sal’s turnaround by enabling quick access to the same files simultaneously. “With TerraBlock, we’re never waiting on files to transfer, and we don’t have to duplicate assets. There is a lot less confusion over where files are. Everything is immediately accessible when it’s created,” he shared. “TerraBlock also allows producers and game developers to more efficiently assist us with capture during projects using the mobile capture station. Anything captured on the machine is captured onto a TerraBlock volume via Ethernet, so we can quickly access those files at the same time in our edit suites.”

bethesda softworks case study imageKillmon continued, “The most palpable time savings with the TerraBlock have been in the encoding process. Being able to create master files on a TerraBlock volume from a Mac and then immediately access those same files in our Windows Media encoding software on a PC has eliminated a huge time-consuming step from our workflow.”

In the future Bethesda plans to leverage TerraBlock and CatDV to develop an in-house asset management system to help increase visibility into the video department for its brand managers, automate repetitive, simple tasks, and archive older material.

“It’s a joy to create trailers for some of the best video games in the world, and TerraBlock helps make that possible. Our experience thus far has been nothing short of fantastic. It’s been a dream to learn and use, especially when compared to alternative solutions out there,” said Killmon.

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