​Films at 59 Installs Pixit Media’s PixStor

UK post house uses PixStor software-defined storage for 4K collaborative workflow with an eye on 8K

Films at 59, which is renowned for its achievements in factual entertainment and natural history, has sites in Bristol and Cardiff and collaborative working relationships worldwide. With a growing international client list including Netflix, the BBC and National Geographic and producing 4K programming such as Our Planet (Netflix) and Dynasties (BBC One), the facility needed to replace its legacy SAN.

With integration partner Digital Garage, a Pixit Media solution was installed last December.

“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.”

He adds “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.”

Pixit Media delivered a PixStor integrated with Dell hardware and Mellanox networking. The system currently has six workstations attached to it: two Autodesk Flames, two FilmLight Baselights and two Assist systems, with the capacity to add more. It connects Films at 59’s Avid network, Storage DNA archive system and Object Matrix nearline storage together - integrating it all in a single global namespace for maximum efficiency, visibility and usability.

“With an expansion in high-end broadcast, we’re 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.”

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