Dutch production company The Media Brothers is a creative hub for a collection of producers, directors, journalists and composers that produces a wide variety of television programs, from dramas and documentaries to children’s series and sports shows. Founded by managing director/producer/composer Luc Schinkel, who works alongside his brother, director/producer Robert Schinkel, the firm has premises in Amsterdam that incorporate an in-house facility that was recently upgraded through the installation of an Avid NEXIS | PRO server. Media manager Klaas-Thijs Postma oversees the post-production operation, and here he outlines the role that the new storage system plays in The Media Brothers’ program-making activities.
“I have been working for The Media Brothers since it started six years ago. I was the first employee and so have witnessed its growth over the years, with more colleagues — including filmmakers and researchers — joining us to produce more and more programs. Really, it’s a band of friends from all kinds of businesses coming together. We knew each other from other projects and have similar attitudes to what we do.”
“My responsibility as media manager is for the in-house technology. We work only on Avid, which we use mainly for editing, using Apple computers and Windows-based operating systems. Last year the business grew rapidly, going from a staff of 10 up to 20 or 30 employees. Because of that, it was necessary to upgrade our facilities, including the Media Composer edit suites. We had three editing rooms before, and we added a fourth.
As part of the upgrade, we decided that it was the right time to look for a central storage system that would allow everyone to work together or alongside each other. Sometimes programs can be lost because of hardware failures, so we looked into many options for reliable shared storage.
The systems we saw were very expensive and beyond our budget, but when the Avid NEXIS | PRO came out, we saw it was not only the right time for us to buy a system, but also the perfect solution at an affordable price. Our Avid NEXIS | PRO was installed in October of last year, and thanks to its compact size, we were able to house it in a small machine room. It is connected to the Media Composer suites over 250m of CAT6 cabling with a Dell switcher.”
“The installation was easy, despite some difficulties, due to a glitch on the firmware, which was quickly fixed by Avid. We started using it for new projects from November 2015 — these included documentaries and a weekly sport-entertainment show called Bureau Sports. This is a satirical magazine-style program with a tremendously fast turnaround that fuses ENG-style techniques to film and shoot. There were three editors working on it, with a media manager supporting them. We would not have been able to make Bureau Sports with our previous workflow — it was only possible because the Avid NEXIS | PRO helped us get all the material together in one place and allowed all the editors to share the files and work together.
We chose the smallest capacity Avid NEXIS | PRO unit, with 20TB of storage, but we have options to upgrade in the future. We’re calculating what we might need in the short-term, with the potential to run six medium to large projects alongside each other. Right now we’re thinking in terms of four to five projects at the same time, each less than 500GB each.”
“The Media Brothers is based across four offices in Amsterdam, but in June we’ll be moving to a single, larger office that will accommodate the whole company. During the move, we’re planning that the facilities will be down for less than a day. We hope to have all the furniture installed beforehand so we can just move everything over, probably in a day or over a weekend.
This will include the Avid NEXIS | PRO of course. We couldn’t possibly leave it behind because it gives us the simultaneous working and sharing that we wanted and needed. The other major benefit it has brought is that the workflow is now so much more efficient. Plus there is the added bonus that, because of the efficiency, media managers like me do not have to work as many night shifts syncing up projects as we used to.”
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