As a provider of premium post-production services and media migration, archive and management solutions to domestic and international clients, Crawford Media Services must count on the technological means and capacity to perform any media-related project across multiple platforms and with maximum flexibility. Thus, in building its new 80,000sq-ft facility in Atlanta, GA, the company focused on creating a highly efficient collaborative multiplatform editing environment.
To this end, Crawford deployed the Omneon MediaGrid active storage system from Harmonic with an MXFserver from FilmPartners to support a multicodec workflow in which editors and graphic artists working privately or collaboratively on different platforms can share content within a single storage pool. The Harmonic and FilmPartners systems, integrated with leading edit and post equipment, enable project sharing between edit clients, and support the existing project numbering scheme used by Crawford's order-entry application.
The 72TB MediaGrid system provides a central pool of highly available storage optimized for media. For most projects, content is ingested and encoded to DNxHD (220Mb/s) and then written to the MediaGrid system as DNxHD files, which are registered to an MXFserver project and presented to authorized users through a project-based interface. This model thus allows producers and editors — regardless of their edit platform — to see and work with all content files assigned to each project.
Avid Media Composer, DS and Pro Tools systems, and Apple Final Cut Pro edit systems, connect directly to the MediaGrid, as do Adobe After Effects and Baselight color correction, and users work on content in-place rather than transfer media or make local copies. The Harmonic storage platform provides the bandwidth to support 21 systems at once — most of those using multiple streams of HD content — without dropping frames.
Because Crawford has implemented a massive KVM matrix across its new facility, any computer in any room can access both the edit application and the media needed to work on a project. The MXFserver system provides users with independent virtual views of project-based content, related assets and metadata. If a user starts a project on a Mac with Media Composer and needs to work on it with a PC using Avid DS, he or she can easily launch the application as if it is a new local drive.
Separating production management and metadata communications from the delivery of video content, the MXFserver and MediaGrid systems offer the performance of a direct attached SAN, though running on a more cost-effective Ethernet network.
Relying on this new post-production workflow, Crawford has realized much greater agility, flexibility and efficiency in meeting clients' needs. The company benefits from multiformat, multiplatform shared editing workflows, and its storage and project management platforms provide a scalable foundation for future business expansion through additional content-focused workflows and services.