Mad Old Nut Delivers Content 5x Faster and At Lower Cost with Avid Shared Storage

Mad Old Nut Productions, a boutique post-production company, has defined a unique path to success, utilizing state-of-the-art technologies to streamline workflows, reduce expenses, and do things smarter, faster, and better. This approach enables the California-based company to expand the number of services it offers customers and provide flat-rate pricing for a range of post-production products and services. “It sounds so cliché,” says Todd Ulman, founder, Chairman, CEO, and creative force behind Mad Old Nut Productions. “But that’s the only way to win.”

Ulman notes that Mad Old Nut is one of only a handful of owner-operated post-production facilities working on network television shows. “We try to be more efficient on our end; so, we can charge the customer less, while maintaining the highest quality standards,” explains Ulman. “We invest in technologies to create efficiencies that really help our bottom line. Our new Avid NEXIS | E2 SSD unit is one of those investments. The productivity we get out of it, and the things we’re able to do now, which we couldn’t do three months ago is a big deal for us.”

With the Avid NEXIS SSD, we have all this storage and all this speed, so now, we’re getting the dailies done 30 to 40 percent faster

Todd Ulman, founder, Chairman, CEO, and creative force behind Mad Old Nut Productions

Mad Old Nut has 17 full-time employees currently providing a full-range of post-production services from dailies through finishing and delivery for the CW Network’s new show, All American. Mad Old Nut also rents a combined 50,000 square feet of edit bays and writers’ rooms in its offices in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Currently, 17 shows are renting space for writing and editing, or utilizing Mad Old Nut’s Avid or remote editing technology rentals.

“Whether it’s cutting a customer a break or coming up with a faster way to do something that saves us time and saves our customer money, that’s the creative side of a technical business for us,” explains Ulman. “Every day, we’re trying to evolve our workflows and we rely on premium technologies like Avid.”

Growing a post-production company with Avid

Ulman started his career in production as an Associate Producer in 2002 and Mad Old Nut evolved out of the needs he identified in the marketplace. “I started Mad Old Nut with a single Avid Media Composer system, and today we have more than 100 Avid systems.”

The Walking Dead was Mad Old Nut’s first post-production show. The Walking Dead initially rented writers rooms and edit bays from Mad Old Nut. Then one day The Walking Dead needed to QC a show and Mad Old Nut seized the opportunity. “This is indicative of how Mad Old Nut thinks,” explains Ulman. “We didn’t have a QC bay, so we built one that night. Next thing you know, we’re doing the whole show. We did seven years of The Walking Dead.”


High performance storage expands production opportunities

Recently, Mad Old Nut worked with Avid Partner, Cutting Edge Audio and Video Group, to implement the Avid NEXIS | E2 SSD to build high-res finishing workflows. “Avid SSD enables Mad Old Nut to have a high-performance work group doing online finishing as part of the overall Avid NEXIS ecosystem with a unified set of permissions, a unified set of users, and a single interface to manage the environment,” states Zeke Margolis, Cutting Edge Account Manager and expert on file-based workflows. “Mad Old Nut can seamlessly plug in the SSD and support Dolby vision HDR color work.”

“All the best shows in the world use Avid Media Composer as their offline editor,” explains Ulman. “Our job is to bring that material into full resolution and technical glory, while maintaining the editor’s exact vision, whenever possible. We use Avid as our initial step because it is the best way to guarantee that 100% of the editor’s vision can be achieved. Various Avid effects, such as stabilizations or fluid effects, do not translate to other systems.” Mad Old Nut uses DaVinci Resolve for the final color correction.

Mad Old Nut has a tiered storage environment with an Avid NEXIS | E4 with a spare controller, Avid NEXIS | E2 with 600 terabytes, and the recently purchased Avid NEXIS | E2 SSD. Dedicated fiber connects the LA and Beverly Hills post-production facilities. With the Avid SSD, Mad Old Nut is doing rolling onlines with pre-color correcting and grading during the editorial process; so, when they have a cut locked and ready to go to a screening, the customer is viewing content that is already color graded and color corrected. This is shaving weeks off production schedules. “With flat rate pricing for color,” notes Ulman, you can have this advanced workflow and not take a budget hit.”

“The Avid NEXIS | E2 SSD has given us the confidence and speed to know that we can work on whatever computer is best for that job, with whatever operating system is best for that job, worry free. The file system has to work with all of them seamlessly, and it does. That’s a huge thing for the way we work.”

The Avid NEXIS SSD is a game changer for us. It really opens up possibilities for us because it takes a fraction of the time to render with its network speed and data rate.

Todd Ulman, founder, Chairman, CEO, and creative force behind Mad Old Nut Productions

Ulman notes that the Avid SSD allows them to remote render dailies on six or seven machines, simultaneously, using the same file system, and they’re not waiting for the file system. “With the Avid NEXIS SSD, we have all this storage and all this speed, so now, we’re getting the dailies done 30 to 40 percent faster. I’ll send six hours of footage to six different machines, and in 15 minutes, I have all six hours of dailies ready with my Avid. It’s amazing. It’s a huge difference.”

“It’s allowing us to give our customers immense amounts of footage very quickly, and they feel taken care of on the editorial side,” continues Ulman. “Other technologies can do that, but those technologies are expensive, and we would have to charge our customers more.”

Mad Old Nut uses the faster turnaround on the editorial side to provide its customers more services. “We have the ability to say to our customer, ‘what else can we do for you today?’ And, that wasn’t possible for us to do in a boutique facility until we had a product like the Avid NEXIS SSD providing the speed we needed with the cross-platform capability.”

“The Avid NEXIS SSD is a game changer for us,” concludes Ulman. “It really opens up possibilities for us because it takes a fraction of the time to render with its network speed and data rate.”

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