Facilis TerraBlock provides shared storage cornerstone at innovative new Dutch AV production facility

Tinker Case Study Image 2015Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, Tinker Imagineers is a multi award-winning international experience design, creative consultancy and production agency. Working with a broad range of innovative clients, Tinker brings ideas to life through exhibitions, events, brand experience centres, pavilions, and multi-media theatres.

Conceptualised by Tinker, Imagineering is the art of crafting the visitors’ experience. With a team of around thirty creative consultants, designers, content developers and producers, the company searches for the meaning in the message, invents the unexpected and delivers uplifting experiences for its target audiences.

Established in 1991, Tinker operates the entire Imagineer workflow from research to project development, design, as well as production. Rooted in cognitive psychology, Tinker mixes the latest insights in human sense-making with storytelling and creative use of media technology.

“Using state of the art technology, we can expand the storytelling process to all levels of human awareness, resulting in AV experiences that are spectacular, interesting and meaningful at the same time,” explained Michel Buchner, creative technologist at Tinker Imagineers. “Our clients have big ideas, aimed at making the world a healthier, prettier or more sensible place to live in. Our expanded approach to experience design is the perfect way to bring these moon-shots to life."

Tinkertopia takes root in Utrecht

In the spring of 2014, during a team bonding week in Spain, the team first conceptualized Tinkertopia: an inspiring working environment that provides a range of integrated facilities including an AV production studio, creative atelier and meeting point. It provides hubs for freelancers and an inspiration window for all those that work there.

With Tinker’s current location already bursting at the seams a new location was needed. This was found within a stone’s throw of the Utrecht offices, located in a former church and large enough to house all of Tinkertopia’s facilities. The new facility is on schedule to open in the autumn of 2015.

“At Tinkertopia, we made the decision to expand the AV-Studio since projects were demanding more and intricate audio visual content,” explains Buchner. “Our team now consists of an audio visual producer, multimedia developer, 2d/3d designers and non linear editors. “We aim at the non conventional canvas, everything different than the 16:9 ratio and bigger than the full HD format. This is due to the nature of our projects, which are mainly multi-projector projections in the 3d public space,” he continues.

Shared storage technology empowers the creative spirit
With the advantage of starting with a blank canvas, Tinker has been able to create a production workflow that will offer fantastic support and entirely new ways of working for its creative teams. A shared storage system is at the heart of this new workflow.

After evaluation of several systems, Tinker opted for Facilis Technology’s TerraBlock. “We invested in a 24D/EX16 with 64TB of storage,” Michel Buchner explains. “This was a deliberate choice, because we’re able to upgrade the system with SSD’s in the unpopulated drive slots. With this option we’re able to expand the speed of the current system when the workload grows.

“Why Facilis - one of our producers has experience working with Facilis and he was very positive about it. We looked seriously at two systems and in the end Facilis’ proven reliability was decisive.”

Shared storage is an important concept to Tinker since it allows several creative teams to work in a collaborative way, sharing content and inputs in a real-time environment. In Tinkertopia, a diverse mix of facilities will operate on the shared storage platform, from motion graphics design to 3d design and some systems will be used for non linear editing. A major purpose of the shared storage system will be to support the company’s render farm.

“At Tinker we have experienced strong growth for a number of years and when you grow in size there is need for a central platform which integrates well between operating systems,” Buchner stated. “The fact that you can share data between multiple volumes is great. We’re using this facility to support our render-bucket, so everybody has access to all the output, all the time.”

Looking at the company’s high resolution content creation workflow today and in the future, TerraBlock is very supportive to this growing business area. “With our motion graphics stations we’re creating some crazy canvasses. Currently, we’re working on a canvas of 16400x1200 pixels which is a real challenge. At the moment the speed is good but we’re very happy to know that we can gain further speed with the current TerraBlock system as and when it’s needed,” concluded Michel Buchner.

For more information on Tinker Imagineers go to http://www.tinker.nl/en/home

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