JANUARY 31, 2018

Scotland’s University of Stirling selects Avid NEXIS and creative tools

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Located in the foothills of the Scottish Highlands, the University of Stirling has been teaching future media professionals and conducting research in film, media and journalism since 1978. The combination of leading academic and practical work continues to make it one of Scotland’s top institutions in the field.

With its many accredited media degree courses, the University of Stirling takes a hands-on approach to media education, providing students with industry-standard creative tools to use and learn during their time completing a film, journalism or digital media degree. From the word go, students acquire skills in how to record, edit and cut video, and mix sound and music, using many of the high-profile tools on which the same industries rely.

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A significant investment in Avid’s MediaCentral, the industry’s most open, tightly integrated and efficient platform for media, has given its students access to a wide range of comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to create, distribute and optimize media. Students studying at Stirling have full access to a modern suite of media facilities for radio, television, film and music production.

When storage architecture began to impact editing performance and delivery for students, Avid NEXIS—the world’s first software-defined storage platform—was the ideal choice to boost efficiency.

Working closely with the team from Jigsaw24, an elite Avid reseller, Stirling has installed a networked enterprise-class system, enabling students to benefit from a scalable, collaborative and easy-to-use platform that integrates seamlessly within its network and multiple editing and mixing seats.

A+ storytelling

"All the creative solutions that our students use are chosen based on the ethos of what’s the most effective tool for storytelling," says Dario Sinforiani, Head of Production Teaching at Stirling. As an Avid customer for over 20 years, Stirling continues to provide students with Avid’s industry-leading creative tools and now the next-generation virtualized storage environment offered by Avid NEXIS.

For comprehensive editing capabilities, the school runs 32 Media Composer student suites plus five staff systems. In addition, 10 student Pro Tools suites, two of which are studio-based, are run from an Avid Pro Tools | S3 control surface. "A significant increase in the uptake of production modules in recent years, combined with the need for workflow efficiency and simplicity, and sufficient storage and accessibility were all factors that drove our recent storage investment," explains Sinforiani.

"Integrating all our storage resources together into one virtualizable pool of storage under Avid NEXIS is already giving us faultless resilience and confidence that our architecture is providing sufficient back up, side by side with workflow-focused structures," he continues. "It gives us the flexibility we’ve always longed for and creativity can happen when it needs to."

Mixing to the Max

With support for Pro Tools, Avid NEXIS enables students learning to mix audio to connect into the industry’s most efficient media production environment, share projects, and collaborate, eliminating the time wasted moving files between systems while speeding up turnaround time.

"All our seats, video and audio, now have access to Avid NEXIS storage, and are licensed from our floating license server (FLS). Underpinning all of our creative solutions with Avid NEXIS really has been transformational," says Michael McDonald, Technical Manager for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University. With Avid Global Services the University can open support and training requests with Avid to ensure they achieve maximum return on their investment.

"Having round-the-clock access to storage across multiple workstations boosts productivity, and the days of individual storage elements being tied to one desk are long gone," says McDonald. "Plus, the flexibility and freedom of scaling up the storage as and when we need to makes future growth easy. Avid NEXIS also allows us as staff to devote valuable time to teaching post-production techniques, making our suites more flexible and convenient, and our courses more fluid and responsive to industry trends."

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Securing a future

Stirling is recognized internationally as a center of excellence in communication and digital media, and has built a strong reputation for multifaceted teaching—combining all the elements of a good arts degree with a marketable, career-orientated specialism. Teaching key skills like video editing and audio mixing equips students for future industry-related experiences, while also offering them the opportunity to pursue a more production focused pathway if they wish.

"As a leading educator in our field, we’re required to respond as fast as the industry does in terms of technology upgrades," Sinforiani adds. "Avid continues to be our first choice for innovative technology that helps to nurture our student’s careers, and our entire faculty is now experiencing the full benefit of the investment."

The versatile skills students acquire working with Avid’s leading workflow solutions is shaping a future community of users. A 2017 study noted that over 80% of Stirling’s graduates went into relevant media work or masters studies in the first six months after graduating, proving the industry is still relying heavily on Avid accredited staff for entry-level jobs.

The University of Stirling’s media graduates have gone on to win multiple awards, including BAFTA awards in investigative reporting, programme production and scriptwriting, Sony Gold Radio Academy awards for BBC Radio 1 documentaries, and Emmy awards for visual effects production in film and TV.

For more information on Avid NEXIS virtualized storage systems, please visit the Avid NEXIS product page.

For more information on the film and digital media courses at the University of Stirling, please visit the website or visit Twitter @StirUni.

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