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Facilis and StorageDNA Solutions Fuel Coolfire Studios Productions

Coolfire Studios Case Study ImageSituated in the heart of St. Louis, MO, Coolfire Studios is a full-service entertainment company serving a diverse client base. The studio specializes in production, post-production, and motion graphics, working on everything from original TV series to commercials, branded content and more. Having established a reputation for crafting persuasive, imaginative and unforgettable stories, the company leverages a workflow fueled by Facilis TerraBlock shared storage, and StorageDNA LTO LTFS archiving and archive asset management solutions that facilitate an advanced level of creativity in-house.

The studio first brought TerraBlock and DNA Evolution™ on board two years ago, while producing 10 one-hour episodes for the Style Network series “Resale Royalty.” Shooting occurred over 83 days resulting in approximately 24 terabytes of raw footage that had to be stored, edited and archived. Coolfire assembled a setup composed of 18 Avid® Media Composer® workstations connected via Ethernet to TerraBlock, with a DNA Evolution X200-24 Linux® turnkey system featuring a 24-slot autoloader and two LTO tape drives for archiving. TerraBlock provided a flexible workflow for storing and accessing the data, while DNA Evolution’s LTO LTFS technology streamlined archiving and archive asset management for the project.

“With 18 workstations simultaneously referencing projects and media files for the show, ‘Resale Royalty,’ we needed shared storage that was fast with multi-user Read/Write functionality. To be able to have one a central area like TerraBlock that everyone could play on, in an organized fashion was vital,” said Roxanne Henry, media asset manager, Coolfire. “DNA Evolution further simplified the job, making archive runs quick and consistent; we could also verify the data after the fact, giving us the confidence that our data was secure.”

Noting the success of the dual-implementation for the project, Henry added, “It was a definite triumph, and integrating both products was a great adventure. Having such efficient equipment allowed our team to focus less on the technology and spend more time being creative to make the show look better overall.”

Over the last year, Coolfire has continued to take on an expanding project load, carving out a local niche for itself in network and long-form programming, with DNA Evolution and TerraBlock playing an integral role. “DNA Evolution and TerraBlock have brought us to where we need to be, technically and infrastructure-wise, to be able to keep up with the volume of projects flowing in,” Henry expressed.

TerraBlock has also been used by Coolfire for other network shows including: “Alternate Route” (Esquire Network), “Carver’s” (SyFy) and “Salvage City” (Discovery Channel), and the team is currently in post for an upcoming six-episode series, “Weekend Fix” (Esquire Network). “Because TerraBlock is fast, we’re able to edit native C300 in Media Composer, giving us the flexibility to avoid the hassle of an online/offline workflow, and our network approvals are in full resolution,” Henry said. “TerraBlock encompasses our three “must-haves” in a shared storage solution: multi-user Read/Write functionality; the ability to create volumes on the fly without having to take users down; and the flexibility to increase volumes – all at a fraction of the cost of traditional SAN systems. It offers a nice blend of functionality and affordability, and as a smaller company that’s growing rapidly, that’s important to us.”

With more than 600 terabytes of media assets in house and more content coming in on a daily basis, DNA Evolution has proven to be crucial in Coolfire’s archival process. “DNA Evolution gets our data onto LTO tape incredibly fast, allowing us to keep up with incoming data. Having an archival product that runs in a quick, efficient manner ensures redundancy of our footage. The fact that DNA Evolution formats LTFS is an added benefit because it allows anyone to read the data if you need to send an LTO tape out of house,” Henry explained. “These features are important in an enterprise archive solution, and from a functionality standpoint, DNA Evolution blows its competition out of the water, with features that uniquely cater to video users. The fact that we could also use it to conform an online is also appealing, and something we’d like to explore integrating into our workflow in the future.”

Whether for a small or mid-sized company or large enterprise, Henry believes the benefits of solid shared storage and archiving workflow are indisputable. She concluded, “The ability to have a shared storage solution like TerraBlock pays for itself, but you also need a complementary archiving solution like DNA Evolution to manage your data and get the most out of your shared storage. DNA Evolution and TerraBlock are a great match; even through heavy post schedules and high data rates, they’ve proved themselves time and time again.”

About StorageDNA

SDNA_Logo_white-bkgrnd_printStorageDNA helps media professionals move, manage, search, and access digital file-based assets for faster repurposing and monetization of content. DNA Evolution is a groundbreaking nearline and archive workflow solution for LTO LTFS that helps customers build more cost-effective, scalable, searchable, and secure archives. StorageDNA’s solutions power some of the most complex and critical workflows for customers ranging from broadcasters, major film studios and television production companies, to sports organizations, government agencies, and Fortune 500 corporations.

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