Julie Hoerr Discusses the Installation of Avid NEXIS | PRO and What It Means for Macondo’s Way of Working

By in Shared Storage, Video Editing

Long-time Avid user Macondo installed an Avid NEXIS | PRO media server for its in-house post production facility in the central Germany city of Mainz. The media group works in a number of different communications sectors, including events, corporate communications and public relations, while its television production arm produces documentaries and consumer affairs programmes for several German broadcasters, notably the country’s second TV channel, ZDF, and southwest regional service, SWR. Macondo’s Julie Hoerr discusses the installation of the Avid NEXIS | PRO and what it means for the company’s way of working.

“Macondo is named after the fictional town that features in many of the stories and novels of the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez,” she explains. “It was chosen because our programs tell a story. Macondo’s program-making covers a big area, with work for ZDF, as well as other TV stations, including SWR. We also produce corporate videos for a number of high-profile companies.”

“To support this operation, Macondo has its own post production facility at our headquarters in Mainz, which is also home to ZDF. We work on documentaries, investigative reports and consumer programs that test and discuss new products. These have included the environmental series Planet E and Zoom+ investigation shows for ZDF, as well as reports on a variety of subjects for SWR.

“Producing programs of this kind involves handling a lot of material, so storage is important, as is workflow efficiency. In the past we have used Avid’s Unity MediaNetwork system, but last year we reached a point where we needed more storage and decided that we would upgrade to a newer system. We briefly considered looking at competitive solutions, but we have always used Avid in our post production work, and we were happy to stick with Avid because we trust the company and the quality of its products. We chose to install the Avid NEXIS | PRO.

“The installation went very well and was really easy. You don’t need any fiber-channel connections; it is all done with cards, connecting to the new model Apple Mac Pro. The administration was really easy as well.

“We have a lot of Avid equipment in the facility, with four Media Composer video editing suites and a Pro Tools audio room. We also have an Adobe production suite with After Effects and media encoding and transcoding systems. The material we get in is usually on either P2 or HDCAM disks. The footage is transcoded into the server, where everyone has access to it. When editing in Media Composer is completed, the clips and programs can be converted into a convenient file size for uploading to the server so clients can preview them.”

“What we have now is a really nice workflow because everybody is on one server. It has greatly improved collaboration across the team, and the system is a lot faster now.  Another of the big advantages of the Avid NEXIS | PRO is the security and stability it gives us. The system uses RAID 5 storage, which means we don’t lose half the space for backup.”

“All the facilities are on the same floor, with the Avid NEXIS | PRO in an apparatus room that contains our other hardware, including computers and servers. We’ve kept the same workflow as before, so there have been no real changes there, except that it is now a lot more efficient. There wasn’t any disruption to our schedules because of the installation — we were able to continue working on the day that the server went in. The switch-over was made centrally, and it was just plug-and-play, which we liked very much.

“We now have a core system that gives us and our clients something that both protects the data and material we are working on and enables our editors to work efficiently and creatively. Media Online, the Avid partner that installed the Avid NEXIS | PRO, told us that that we were the first facility in the Rhineland-Palatinate region to have bought and installed this system. That gives us a very strong commercial advantage over our competition.

“It also gives us a great foundation for future expansion. We have an idea that if at some point one of the other production companies in our building installs an Avid NEXIS | PRO, we could connect the two over a CAT5 cable network and share capacity over two servers. That would give each of us the possibility of a lot of space when we are working on large projects. It is the kind of flexibility that attracted us to the Avid NEXIS | PRO in the first place.”

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Leading Marketing activities for Video and Broadcast in Central+Eastern Europe and Turkey, I have the pleasure to work with very passionate customers from major broadcasters to award-winning editors or renowned film schools, all of them aiming to deliver best-of-breed news and entertainment content.