Western Star Shines with Facilis TerraBlock SAN

German production company Western Star works with an impressive roster of clients, such as Adidas, Braun, Nintendo and Olympus, to translate company visions into integrated advertising campaigns. Western Star collaborates closely with its clients on every project, from consultation and design, through to implementation and post-production, often juggling multiple jobs at a time.

Last year the company purchased the TerraBlock 24EX with the Facilis Shared File System from Systempiloten to enable multiple editors to work on the same projects simultaneously. Currently, their five Mac workstations, equipped with Avid Media Composer and After Effects, are connected to the TerraBlock via Ethernet. Western Star Technical Director Frank Sievert is responsible for all projects and process involving technical decisions and maintenance, as well as 2D and 3D compositing; he also specializes in visual effects creation, primarily using After Effects and Cinema 4D.

“We’ve worked with Systempiloten for quite some time, and have always been satisfied with their service, so when they recommended we look into TerraBlock, we heeded their advice,” said Sievert. “It turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made.”

Sievert supervises six to eight video editors using the workstations. He expressed, “We try to avoid overtime for our editors by distributing the work equally, something we couldn’t really do before transitioning to TerraBlock. With TerraBlock, projects now take half the time they used to. I also like that we’re able to work with QuickTime Reference and switch seamlessly between Avid and After Effects on different workstations; this capability is incredibly valuable.”

Since implementing TerraBlock, Western Star has completed a number of high profile projects including a complex corporate movie that was produced on XDCAM mainly with green screen. With TerraBlock, Western Star is able to split the work evenly between three editors to accelerate production. One editor is responsible for editing, one for keying and one for compositing.

“Flexibility and easy handling are the biggest benefits we’ve realized with TerraBlock,” Sievert added. “Editors can spontaneously choose to work on whichever workstation they like at any given time, and we can simply play the review cuts in our most presentable edit suite for client approvals, regardless of where the editing actually happens. We also like our apprentices to practice editing with our latest footage. That can now be done while the senior editors work on a different workstation.”

Sievert concluded, “Shared storage is critical to our overall efficiency, because we often face tight deadlines. TerraBlock has removed a lot of pressure off asset management and facilitated greater creativity. I can’t imagine how we’d be operating now without it.”

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