BRISTOL, UK — Production/post production studio Films at 59 (www.filmsat59.com), with sites in Bristol and Cardiff, recently installed Pixit Media’s PixStor for high-performance central storage. The purchase helps address a rising demand the studio is seeing for 4K content.
Films at 59 was founded in 1990 and is known for its work on high-end broadcast projects, particularly those focused on factual entertainment and natural history. The studio’s international client list includes Netflix, the BBC and National Geographic, and they have produced 4K programming for Our Planet (Netflix) and Dynasties (BBC One). Films at 59 needed to replace its legacy SAN, as it could no longer deliver the performance or reliability required to keep up with the increasing demands being placed upon it.
After consulting with integration partner Digital Garage (www.digitalgarage.tv), PixStor was recommended as a “sensible choice for a leading-edge, tried and tested solution.” the Films at 59 team visited Pixit Media’s technical lab and were confident that PixStor's capabilities could deliver its workflow requirements. The solution was installed last December.
“We were impressed by both the PixStor solution and the team’s technical expertise and approach,” recalls Stuart Dyer, Films at 59’s operations manager. “We visited the Pixit Lab and during our discussion on future workflow requirements they were able to clearly demonstrate guaranteed performance at every possible angle, along with intelligent automated tools to help us streamline our pipeline. We really liked their approach; they provided a documented and data-led consultation that truly addressed our workflow challenges head-on - crunching the numbers for bandwidth specifications with us and they were open about what each system build could deliver for us.”
Proven performance and stability were the critical requirements for Films at 59. Their chosen system had to reliably support its suites to cope with the increase in 4K workflows and provide scalability to keep up with future demands, both in terms of volume of work and a potential shift to 8K finishing.
“PixStor’s software-defined architecture provides us with a future-proof platform based on commodity hardware, with performance bandwidth guaranteed for the lifetime of the system with no degradation,” says Dyer. “It’s the perfect match for our needs now and can easily scale up and scale out to allow us to grow the capacity and performance as we require it.”
Pixit Media delivered a complete solution for Films at 59’s Production Media Services Central Storage system, with a PixStor integrated with best-of-breed Dell hardware and Mellanox networking to meet the post house’s specific requirements. The PixStor system currently has six workstations attached to it: two Autodesk Flames, two FilmLight Baselights and two assist systems, with the capacity to add further workstations quickly and easily. It connects Films at 59’s Avid network, Storage DNA archive system and Object Matrix nearline storage together, seamlessly integrating it all in a single global namespace for maximum efficiency, visibility and usability.
“With an expansion in high-end broadcast, we are seeing an increasing volume of files from production companies and PixStor helps us to manage them in a really simple way,” notes Andy Farmer, Films at 59’s senior engineer. “What’s more, its tiered performance lets us efficiently manage the costs of fast bandwidth storage, allocating super-fast storage to the most demanding projects and setting policies for sequential 4K, and in the future 8K, content. With access to a heat-map that visualizes files, we’ve gained real insight to help us develop our storage strategies and that’s a real payoff in managing the costs of projects – both internally and for our clients.”
“We are a long-trusted partner of Films at 59 and we were confident in our selection of PixStor as a software-defined storage platform to deliver the guaranteed performance, scalability and collaboration capabilities to take them into an 8K future,” explains Charles Manolescue, sales director at Digital Garage. “PixStor is a really solid platform that effectively delivers for true 4K and HDR workflows. Its power and usability are unrivalled.”