Films@59 - Pixitmedia
Project: Consultancy, technical design, system integration, installation and commissioning of new film and digital media facilities.
Founded in 1990, Films at 59 is an award-winning Pre and Post production house, with sites in Bristol and Cardiff and collaborative working relationships worldwide. Delivering across all genres, the company is renowned for its achievements in high-end broadcast, particularly in factual entertainment and natural history. With a growing international client list including Netflix, the BBC and National Geographic and producing stunning 4K programming such as Our Planet (Netflix)and Dynasties (BBC One), Films@59 needed to replace its legacy SAN as it could no longer deliver the performance, or the reliability, required to keep up with the increasing demands placed upon it.
Following an in-depth examination of the leading systems on the market with Integration Partner Digital Garage, PixStor was recommended as the “sensible choice for a leading-edge, tried and tested solution.” Coupled with further recommendations from the post production community and a visit to Pixit Media’s Technical Lab, the Films at 59 team was confident that PixStor’s capabilities could deliver its workflow requirements and the solution was installed in December 2018.
“We were impressed by both the PixStor solution and the team’s technical expertise and approach,” comments 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 platform integrated with best-of-breed Dell hardware and Mellanox networking, specified 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,” Andy Farmer, Films at 59’s Senior Engineer, explains. “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.”
Even before deployment, the performance and efficiency of PixStor was never in doubt for integration partner Digital Garage. “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.”
With its continued success, Films at 59 is now looking to expand its PixStor system to meet its growing 4K workload and remain agile with 8K on the horizon.
“Films at 59 is both a technical and creative trailblazer in post-production and we’re proud to support their team as they continue to deliver stunning 4K programming” said Ben Leaver CEO Pixit Media. “With PixStor we’ve gone beyond storage to deliver a workflow-focused infrastructure that empowers our customers to take on demanding Any-K projects, create award-winning work and evolve their business.”