LOS ANGELES — Voxx Studios (www.voxxstudios.com) has selected Facilis shared storage to replace its existing NAS system. The studio is relying on a 48TB Facilis HUB 8 and 65TB Facilis HUB 16 to support multiple Avid Pro Tools workstations that are running for long periods in order to complete numerous dubbing, recording and ADR projects.
Voxx Studios is dedicated to film and TV audio production and post production. The studio specializes in localization, language dubbing, Dolby Atmos 7.1, 5.1 audio mixing, ADR, translations, adaptations, subtitling, closed captioning, sound design and editing. Now five-years old, the studio has a history of handling long-form series dubbing from Latin America into English and Brazilian Portuguese. The company’s success has led the studio to expand into German, French, Italian, and Japanese. Today, Voxx caters to a variety of clients throughout Europe, Asia, Latin America and the US, and continues to specialize in ADR, dubbing, and voiceover translation for projects coming in and out of the United States.
Three of Voxx’s audio recording facilities feature Pro Tools software running on Apple workstations. The largest facility is a Dolby Atmos mix studio with tools for ADR, dubbing and recording music. An adjacent facility has six Pro Tools studios running 10 hours a day in parallel. These studios perform the bulk of Voxx’s day to day language dubbing.
For shared storage, Voxx initially deployed a NAS system connected to all the Pro Tools workstations. However, it gave the team a lot of headaches during the first two-and-a-half years, with frequent system freezes in the middle of sessions and occasional hard crashes.
“We had problems getting all the studios running at the same time,” explains Silviu Epure, general manager at Voxx Studios. “The spinning beach ball where the Mac locked up frequently was the worst, because it stopped engineers and directors in their tracks. It interrupted the creative flow of the actors and caused a lot of tension and frustration.”
Ultimately, they decided on Facilis (http://facilis.com) HUB shared storage after [Re]Design, a business & technology consulting firm headquartered in Los Angeles, showed them just how well multiple Pro Tools systems could work when connected to Facilis HUB shared storage. Voxx purchased the 48TB Facilis HUB 8 for the large Dolby Atmos mixing room and the 65TB Facilis HUB 16 for the six Pro Tools studios in the adjacent building. Both systems are connected to the house network via 10Gb ethernet.
“All six studios are now running in parallel connected to the Facilis HUB server,” says Epure. “We store both media and Pro Tools sessions on the system. We’ve not had any more complaints from the editors and most importantly, we’re no longer seeing system freezes. That was one of the biggest things we had hoped to see with this installation and as a result our engineers are now much more productive.”
The Facilis shared file system is designed to reduce transactional overhead between the client workstations and the storage server. NAS-based storage systems are typically plagued by excess transactions because they use generic (legacy) TCP/IP protocols within the Windows or Mac operating system to manage all file transactions as well as volume and file-level permissions.
“When you are dealing with hundreds of smaller audio files, coming from multiple workstations simultaneously, this can become a major issue for audio post workflows,” notes Zach Mahon, VP of engineering at [Re]Design. “Having less transactional information results in more actual data flowing between the client and the HUB system.”
“One of the reasons we chose Facilis was because we knew how well it interacts with Pro Tools,” says Epure. “I’m happy to report that our Facilis servers have become a critical and reliable backbone to our day-to-day operations.”