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It’s no surprise that Films at 59 is the largest post house outside of London. They approach each and every project with equal parts passion and a goal to make productions run as smoothly as possible. They back that quality-driven attitude with technological innovation that allows clients to take advantage of cutting-edge pre- and post-production services, including virtual reality.
Since its founding in 1990, the busy Bristol-based post house has grown organically alongside clients whose work spans all genres, from feature films to drama, natural history, daytime, and VR. Their history also includes a long relationship with Avid, from its days as an early adopter of Pro Tools, the S6 console, and Avid shared storage. For the past decade, Avid Elite Reseller Digital Garage has helped the award-winning facility meet their digital media equipment needs and integrate all solutions.
“Everything we do will touch an Avid product at some point through the pipeline,” says Stuart Dyer, operations manager at Films at 59. “Companies and projects are more global than ever before, so every project we work on we design a bespoke workflow to meet that projects particular needs.” It was this environment that led to the need for a storage platform to accommodate increasingly more complex requirements and technically demanding productions, including greater frame sizes and rates. They also needed a system capable of expanding to handle more projects while storing and managing ever higher volumes of media.
An easy decision / A decision made easy
It was important that the chosen storage platform complemented Films at 59’s existing workflow and third-party editing tools. This was in addition to a flexible, expandable system that would work reliably and efficiently. “We looked at a lot of different systems in the market,” explains Dyer. “Performance and the number of products that the system was able to support were important considerations, as were reliability and uptime. We can’t afford any downtime.”
Support for innovative new technologies like VR was also critical. As a software-defined storage platform, Avid NEXIS provided the collaboration capabilities, performance, power and scalability to take Films at 59 into the future.
“The Avid NEXIS | E5, integrated into our workflow, has positioned us not only to support new workflows but also to embrace future technologies,” says Dyer. “We’ve also been able to retire some older systems and use a single Avid NEXIS platform. In the end, it offered the best value for the money.”
The main challenge of the upgrade was selecting a storage platform to work reliably and efficiently with all systems, including Avid audio solutions and third-party editing tools. Avid NEXIS was integrated into an existing Avid-driven workflow that includes Media Composer, Pro Tools and Interplay | MAM.
Alongside the proliferation of high-resolution formats has come an explosion of creative tools. As craft talent enjoy new levels of choice and autonomy, they’re exploring a wider range of content tools, so it was important for Films at 59 to respect this choice with support for all editing platforms. While there was little doubt that Avid NEXIS would integrate well with the house’s existing workflow, the team was pleased to experience better integration and improved performance with third-party systems as well as with sound.
Enhanced media management
High shoot ratios and very large files, from acquisition to delivery, are creating a tremendous amount of media to track, access, share and manage. It’s a mounting challenge for clients and for the Films at 59 team to handle. “We’ve been working with UHD and HDR workflows for a few years,” says Dyer. “Through media management tools including Interplay, we can now track media all the way through and easily manage and link from low res files to high res files. Avid has made the process easy.”
Achieving the right balance
Keeping pace with industry advances is constant and it won’t be long before it all evolves again. Frame rates, frame sizes, and color spaces will keep increasing, and resolutions will move from 4K to 8K. And that requires continual attention and evaluation. According to Dyer, network speed, bandwidth, and media storage are all frequent topics of discussion and research so Films at 59 can be agile and constantly evaluate where the industry is heading.
“Program budgets are falling but shoot ratios, file sizes and quality expectations continue to rise,” Dyer explains. “The key is communication, to get everyone talking to each other—broadcasters, manufacturers, production companies and post houses—working together as collaboratively as possible to get the balance right and produce fantastic content together.”
See how Avid NEXIS can help you embrace the future of digital media workflows, now.