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  1. Fancy Film Post Services Installs Small Tree TitaniumZ Shared Storage to Meet Substantial Workload Increase

    January 21, 2015 by Joe DiBenedetto

    Academy Award-Winning Post House Sees Greater Flexibility with New System

    External BuildingHollywood, CA, Jan. 21, 2015 — With its workload doubling from the previous year, Academy Award-winning post shop, Fancy Film Post Services, installed the TitaniumZ-16 shared storage system from Small Tree to accommodate additional projects while improving project management. The affordable, Ethernet-based shared storage solution offers the team at Fancy Film greater flexibility and credibility, placing the small post shop on a level playing field with bigger facilities for future business opportunities.

    Best known for its work on independent films like Undefeated, as well as projects for ABC, Discovery and The History Channel, Fancy Film specializes in online, color correction, audio mixing and delivery. Featuring over 20 post rooms, including a broadcast bay and projection room for television and theatrical projects, respectively, the facility is tech-agnostic to meet any and all client needs, utilizing a mixture of Macs, Windows and Linux-based machines in the 12 bays accessing the TitaniumZ-16.

    The company’s shift to the Small Tree appliance was necessitated by its previous storage system’s inability to offer read and write capabilities to multiple users simultaneously – allowing only a single active read/write client at a time. Having the TitaniumZ-16 was a major difference maker for Fancy Film on one of its most recent films – Battered Bastards of Baseball. Shown at Sundance, the movie was picked up within 12 hours by Netflix, but immediate changes were required before it would air as a Netflix Original. Working off the TitaniumZ, the facility’s finishing team was able to handle full studio delivery in-house while meeting Netflix’s strict standards.

    “We’re a little bit unique in that we don’t do a lot of offline editorial, so we don’t always need multiple access to media files,” said Bill Macomber, CEO/CTO for Fancy Film. “However, when a project heats up, such as Battered Bastards of Baseball, we need a bunch of people to jump on at once for a collaborative effort. That wasn’t possible until we had the TitaniumZ in our studio.”

    According to Macomber, as the company’s CEO and CTO, in addition to enabling multiple users to have active read/write access the new shared storage unit needed to be reasonably priced and easy to manage. A cost-prohibitive and difficult to manage system would force the company to raise its rates or require spending valuable time tending to technical issues.

    “The whole process needed to be lightweight as possible on me, otherwise we’re talking about another $10k to $80k for a system comparable to what Small Tree provides,” Macomber stated. “The bigger deal for me was implementing a simple to manage solution that would minimize IT overhead. A lot of companies will spend $30k every month on IT. Since we specialize in independent films, we work with tight budgets. Going out to buy an expensive system would force us to change our pricing, which would have a drastic impact on the clients we serve.”

    Capable of supporting numerous multimedia content creation workstations with a highly flexible mix of Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet configuration options, TitaniumZ is designed and tested to provide maximum performance for real-time video-editing workflows. With its Tier 1 configuration, Small Tree TitaniumZ can scale to 288TB raw in RAID5. With the addition of its more cost-effective Tier 2 back-up NAS configuration, the TitaniumZ can easily provide another 432TB on the network.

    “We’ve built up our drive to 95 percent capacity and have not noticed a speed slowdown,” Macomber continued. “With TitaniumZ’s dynamic data set we never have to worry about how much data we expect a project is going to use – it’s been a revolutionary thing for us. It gives us a lot more flexibility and ups our organizational game. We wouldn’t be able to do the amount of work that we’ve done over the past year without switching to the TitaniumZ.”

    For more information about Small Tree and its growing line of shared storage and networking products, visit www.small-tree.com. Follow Small Tree on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SmallTreeComm or on Twitter @SmallTreeComm.


  2. Small Tree Shared Storage Solution a Big Hit with Production Company Specializing in Music Videos

    January 6, 2015 by Joe DiBenedetto

    TitaniumZ-16 Improves Project Management on Recent Video for EDM Star Caribou

    Project Screen Shot  Z16 Rack  Pomp Clout Staff

    Brooklyn, NY, Jan. 7 , 2015 — The haunting beauty of EDM artist Caribou’s latest video, “Our Love,” shot on a 6K RED Epic Dragon, was pieced together far more quickly in large part because of the production company’s recent decision to implement Small Tree’s TitaniumZ-16 shared storage system at its studio.

    VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMwgcRByA8Y

    Pomp&Clout is a Brooklyn-based design and media production company with a broad spectrum of award-winning projects ranging from music videos and tour visuals to motion graphics and pixel-perfect interface design.  The decision to install the Ethernet-based TitaniumZ-16 shared storage technology with 10Gb connectivity came from the company’s desire – and need – to strengthen project management and improve workflow.

    Filmed in Ireland in 6K (6144×3072) 48fps on the RED Epic Dragon, it was extra-critical for the Pomp&Clout team to watch playback after each take, due to the long take nature of the video’s concept, so that they could ensure all was documented appropriately before moving forward.

    “Despite having the footage backed up across multiple drives on location, I was understandably nervous about flying back to our post-production offices in Brooklyn with the footage, given the less than stellar drives we sourced in rural Ireland,” said Ryan Staake, executive producer and director at Pomp&Clout. “It wasn’t until I’d quickly backed the footage up to our Small Tree TitaniumZ-16 that I could breathe a sigh of relief and the fun could begin.”

    Once back in New York, Staake and his team blocked out the timing in Premiere using raw 6K footage directly from the TitaniumZ-16 via 10Gb Ethernet connections on two machines. Staake and his creative director, Aaron Vinton, were able to simultaneously audition different takes, show their progress, share notes and continue with the project. After a week, ideal edits of takes with rough transitions and re-timing of footage were selected before moving to VFX, where Vinton began exploring subtle lens-effects of the footage and Staake focused on transitions between takes and VFX touchups. Lastly, the two worked on stabilizing the footage to minimize minor Steadicam bumps.

    “What was amazing to me,” Staake revealed, “was that we could both work off of raw 6K footage simultaneously while experiencing zero lag. What’s more, other members of our team were working on completely different footage from the TitaniumZ-16 at the same time – again with zero lag. As a result, a project that would have taken four weeks using multiple drives was completed in two weeks, and that includes production.”

    Capable of supporting numerous multimedia content creation workstations with a highly flexible mix of Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet configuration options, TitaniumZ is designed and tested to provide maximum performance for real-time video-editing workflows. With its Tier 1 configuration, Small Tree TitaniumZ can scale to 288TB raw in RAID5. With the addition of its more cost-effective Tier 2 back-up NAS configuration, the TitaniumZ can easily provide another 432TB on the network.

    The shared storage system works flawlessly with the entire Adobe Creative Cloud applications, as was required at Pomp&Clout’s facility where four workstations, including a Mac Pro, two MacBook Pros and a PC machine are connected directly the TitaniumZ without a switch to help achieve lower latency. The Small Tree system also works well with Apple Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer, offering creative facilities optimal flexibility.

    “The immediacy of data transfer has been really incredible,” Staake remarked. “We’re doing stuff through 10Gb, which enables us to copy a massive piece of footage or a final rendered project from a local drive onto the TitaniumZ instantaneously. That’s been a major game changer for us.”

    For more information about Small Tree and its growing line of shared storage and networking products, visit www.small-tree.com. Follow Small Tree on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SmallTreeComm or on Twitter @SmallTreeComm.