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Facilis TerraBlock Adds Multitasking to DHX Media’s Repertoire

DHX Media Case Study ImageYo Gabba Gabba!, Super Why, Angela Anaconda and Johnny Test represent just a handful of venerable children’s television series that DHX Media has produced and distributed over the years. Today, the Nova Scotia-based company is one of the largest independent children’s entertainment companies in the world. As it continues to expand, the company relies on a strong post production arm and solid technological foundation with Facilis TerraBlock SAN at its core to finalize new content in time for air.

Led by Director of Post Production Martin Jefferson, a five-person post production team out of DHX’s Toronto office handles online editing and transcoding for shows in production and for digital deliveries. To manage these tasks, the team relies on an integrated workflow that includes digital rapids’ StreamZ HD for ingest and encoding; two Avid® Symphony®, two Avid® Media Composer® and two Apple® Final Cut Pro® workstations for editing; and a Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve suite for color correction. A 48TB Facilis TerraBlock links all of the systems together.

Juggling multiple projects a day, Jefferson’s team ingests massive amounts of file-based and tape-based material into the TerraBlock. Once ingested, footage is edited together and output to HDCAM SR for broadcast delivery or to files for digital delivery. Taking advantage of the TerraBlock’s Multi-User Write functionality and project sharing features, DHX Media has simplified this process – allowing the team more time to be creative as well as to meet tight deadlines.

“Multi-User Write is huge for us, because there is no need to finish one task before starting the next. We can easily multitask, and also know that our media is safe,” shared Jefferson. “Project sharing on the TerraBlock is also so smooth and saves us a ton of time. I can have a project open on two systems and the TerraBlock Manager locks out one of the bins, so that only one can be written to at the same time. The TerraBlock essentially removes the necessity to manage projects, which is fantastic.”

A number of DHX Media’s projects involve large volumes of standards conversions that require high-bandwidth. “The TerraBlock’s throughput is so fast that we don’t run into any issues. While we’re doing a standards conversion in Avid, the TerraBlock is processing our media to create something new in real-time,” Jefferson said. “It's vital that media is coming at it fast enough, so that frames aren’t dropped, and with TerraBlock, that’s never a problem. Well done Facilis!”

The TerraBlock has also provided DHX Media with enhanced scalability. With each new project, clients can select the best connectivity method. “It’s great! If clients need to do low level data management and won’t be pushing high data rates, they can connect via Ethernet, and if not, they can connect via Fibre,” explained Jefferson.

The ability to connect via Fibre Channel or Ethernet also recently saved Jefferson a day of work. During the installation of a new surround sound system, one edit suite was down, but he was able to work on the project at hand, because he could access TerraBlock files from his laptop. He noted, “I came into work with my laptop, plugged into the network via Ethernet, installed TerraBlock manager and all of the media was just there. I started working on the project and it was that simple.”

“Shared storage is incredibly crucial to all we do, and the TerraBlock is so seamless and simple that we never have to worry about it. No matter how much you throw at it, it just keeps working – which is really incredible,” Jefferson concluded.

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