Video Europe’s footprint in the media and entertainment industry has grown tremendously over recent years with the company expanding its service offering and investment in the latest technology. Providing equipment and technical crew, the UK-based company handles productions of all sizes and scales, from live events and outside broadcasts, to onsite post-production.
We caught up with Ollie Stratton, technical consultant and head of Video Europe’s edit department, to discuss how the company’s recent investment in Avid NEXIS, the first and only software-defined storage platform specifically designed for storing and managing media, is enabling the company’s clients to scale to new storage heights.
With a background in computer science and sound engineering, Stratton was keen to enter the film and television industry. After a stint as a runner and sound assistant, he moved to Video Europe’s edit hire department. Since his arrival, the division has expanded greatly, as have Video Europe’s customers’ needs and the company’s relationship with Avid.
“Avid solutions are at the heart of the company,” said Stratton. “We own a large number of Media Composer and Symphony suites running on hardware to suit any budget, from offline editing on MacBook Pro Retinas, to online editing being handled on HP Z840 workstations—and everything in between. For live events and outside sports broadcasts, Avid Interplay | Production is at the heart of the workflow and Avid shared storage has always utilized Interplay for production asset management.”
Video Europe is extremely familiar with Avid’s legacy line of shared storage. Having deployed ISIS 5000 and ISIS | 5500 systems many times, clocking up thousands of hours of usage and terabytes of content store, they were an early adopter of the Avid NEXIS software-defined storage platform.
When considering the move to NEXIS | E4 and the requirements Video Europe was looking for from a next-generation storage solution, Stratton commented: “We need a flexible and scalable solution; one that can handle every type of environment, from fast turn-around live broadcasts, to large-scale post-production workflows. We’ll often ship solutions around the globe to be deployed, so a system that’s open and supportive of different editing applications, has a familiar UI, and is intuitive is a must.”
Supplying equipment and deploying workflows in live production environments brings with it its own set of challenges, however NEXIS | E4 enables Stratton and his team to overcome many of them thanks to the engine’s design and scalability. He continued: “Space within a machine room is always tight. With NEXIS | E4, being able to start a client on 60 TB of storage and then upgrade them to 120 TB later down the line with another Media Pack—without requiring additional rack space—is fantastic.”
Since modern editing suites at live events often deploy a variety of applications, knowing that Avid NEXIS integrates with Avid-based and third-party workflows was another key driver for Video Europe’s investment. “Our clients primarily use Avid editing solutions, but we need the versatility to offer alternative workflows. The fact [that] NEXIS has the ability to natively support Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve, is a real leap forward for flexible, open workflows.”
Video Europe recently deployed NEXIS | E4 at UK music festival, Latitude, to capture and edit artists’ performances for broadcast on the UK channel, Sky Arts. They needed a reliable shared storage environment to handle the demands of this fast-turnaround, multi-camera live production. Stratton added that the “combination of Media Composer and the NEXIS storage environment was a perfect match for working with mixed camera formats in a fast-paced high-pressure live environment.”