Ironik Design & Post—On the Road with
Working on location can be stressful enough—even under the best of conditions. No matter how elaborate the system, a portable rig can rarely provide all the features of a full-on studio setup. But for owner and lead artist Sean Stall of Ironik Design & Post, Avid DS has been the key to blurring the line between studio and location work.
Ironik’s main studios in Simsbury, Connecticut, handle a steady flow of clients from nearby New York City, but as Stall explains, Avid DS has enabled the company to expand and take on a growing number of location-based projects. “Avid DS has been the flagship workstation of Ironik for several years,” he says. “When the economy took a turn a couple of years ago, we looked at our business model and saw that it made a lot of sense for us to diversify. For us, having Avid DS enabled us to offer a very versatile, high-end mobile setup that could meet the needs of a major on-location production.”
Having Avid DS gives me the confidence that I can handle pretty much anything that comes along.
Sean Stall, lead artist and owner
Ironik’s project roster includes a mix of sporting events, independent film productions, live performances, and a wide range of other clients. “Being able to provide high-end workstations is a huge asset,” says Stall. “When I’m dealing with companies like ESPN or ABC, and I’m on a production in some remote area where there’s no graphics company or studio right down the road, having Avid DS gives me the confidence that I can handle pretty much anything that comes along.”
Ironik’s system is streamlined but powerful—in addition to Avid DS software, it consists of a liquid-cooled HP Z800 Dual Hex Core Workstation with 12 GB RAM, running Windows 7 Professional, an AJA XENA 2Ke with KONA 3 breakout box for the main I/O, and a Black Magic Design Multibridge for additional I/O options, with AJA GEN10 serving as a sync generator. A Sonnet Fusion 12 TB R800 RAID array rounds out the system for storage.
“It’s about 250 pounds lighter than our previous system, which is an important consideration for a traveling rig,” Stall asserts. “The whole system travels in three flight cases. It takes about an hour to set up and about 35 minutes to break down. It enables us to set up almost anywhere. It’s self-contained and doesn’t need a network or shared storage, although it’s designed to share storage in any environment where there are other Media Composer workstations.”
Avid DS compatibility with Media Composer is another plus. “We use Media Composer software, installed on the same workstation, as a utility to transcode XDCAM material and other functions,” Stall explains. “These days there are a lot of people out on location with cameras, and we receive footage in a multitude of different formats. Using Avid DS and Media Composer simultaneously allows us to work with a variety of sources, which saves us an amazing amount of time. In a time-intensive environment like ours, that’s critical.“
Recent projects for Ironik’s Avid DS rig have included the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, as well as this year’s BCS National Championship Game and the Big East Tournament at New York’s Madison Square Garden. “The editor from ESPN remarked that our rig was the fastest system he’d ever worked with,” Stall reveals.“Simply put, Avid DS increases our client base,” concludes Stall. “It provides a number of different tools in a single application, allowing me to accomplish tasks that would normally require several applications. And it delivers a level of quality, power, speed, and flexibility on location that’s equal to anything I can reach in the studio.”