Shine Australia

October 21, 2011

Shine AustraliaShine Australia is part of the Shine Group, one of the world's fastest-growing and most successful creators and producers of media and entertainment brands. Shine Australia was formed in January 2010 to produce premium scripted and unscripted programming for TV, online and mobile devices. They are behind some of the most popular shows on Australian TV such as MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and The Renovators.

Shine’s Director of Post Production, Scott Rowan and Technical Services Manager, Nick Parker worked with Digistor’s Matt Wood to get their facility up and running. Initially they had no purpose built facility, they needed edit suites and required shared storage and core IT equipment. “Day one was an interesting day. We had a fairly large mountain to climb however this put us in a very unique position. No pre-existing hardware and not locked into any specific products” said Nick Parker.

To gear up for productions such as The Biggest Loser, Shine presented Digistor with the following requirements: a shared storage solution, a file-based editing platform, and the ability to ingest and batch media from multi-cam shoots in real-time.

Shared Storage

The Shared Storage had to be implemented on an existing site with limited connectivity and split locations. It needed to be able to support a large amount of edit suites including Avid and Final Cut Systems. In order to future proof the facility it all needed to be fully scalable both in terms of speed and size. Nick explained,

“We had a facility that had plenty of rooms however it had lots of connectivity issues. The building did have cat5e cabling and this was a factor in our shared storage decision. We knew we needed to be ready as soon as possible with lots of clients be it Avid, After Effects, Final Cut Pro or loggers.  Fibre channel wasn’t an option in this facility. It meant additional costs to each suite including the cabling and associated hardware. We needed a system that was going to expand quickly and host multiple shows and have basically zero downtime. We needed to run 24/7. The shared storage needed to be flexible and work well with the editing software”

Nick Parker, Shine Australia
Nick Parker, Technical Services Manager

Edit Platform

The Edit Platform needed the ability to manage large amounts of footage and integrate with the Shared storage. It needed to enable fast conform workflows, shared projects, multi-cam editing and file based workflows as well as being robust and “Junior proof”.

“For the Biggest Loser we used an ISIS5000 and 20 odd Media Composers. The ISIS5000 came with Force 10 networking.  It made a lot of sense to make our whole facility to use Force 10 also. Avid Symphony was used for the online vision and a Digistor tailored SANmans - 2 x 24 bays populated with 2TB drives for nearline storage.
The main reason Avid works so well for us is it’s central media database. Think of it as a giant excel spreadsheet with tape names, time codes and media resolutions. This made conform or dealing with any issues a dream. It removes the need to know files names and storage locations.” said Nick.

Multicam Shoots

Multi-cam shoots are integral to reality TV. It’s vital for directors to be able to quickly sort through many clips of the same scene to present the optimum material to the audience. The Shoot format for The Biggest Loser was Digital Betacam 25i PAL with sources coming from up to 9 cameras. On top of that there were also producer shooters with XDCAM EX1, Sound devices 4 / 8 Track records.

Nick Parker explained the shift towards file based workflows, “Aside from the tape media we have had file based media such as graphics, audio, video, files MXF etc on hard disk, cf card and flash drives. We have a nearline storage SANman that takes care of this. It’s the first point and place that the media goes to then its imported into the Avid AMA. We keep all originals backed up on LTO5 tape using Archiware Prestore software.“

Shine used Presstore because it’s fast and intuitive. The ISIS and nearline storage is chased by LTO5’s daily. All nearline storage is mirrored via the synchronise function to a second set of nearline. Daily LTO’s become master backup.

Digistor supplied Equipment – The Biggest Loser
ISIS 5000
Avid Media Composers with a mix of DX and DNA hardware running on Mac Pros and iMacs
Force 10 Network Infrastructure
Avid Symphony
SANman Nearline storage
Archiware Presstore and 24 slot tape libraries
Shine Australia
Director of Post Production, Scott Rowan

“Shine now has over 75 Avid suites, 3 ISIS 5000’s, 3 tape libraries and over 300TB worth of nearline storage. To start from scratch and now have over 15 productions is a testament to Scott, Nick and the rest of the team.” said Digistor account manager, Matt Wood.

Since the initial set up Digistor continues to support Shine’s technical team to produce some of the most exciting and popular programming on Australian free-to-air networks and pay TV channels.