The intelligent application of the latest technology and techniques to address specific workflow, production and post-production requirements will always increase productivity and quality while reducing costs. Digistor's expertise lies in addressing specific application areas and bringing these skills to bear for our customers.
VFX & Post-Production
Visual effects and post-production tools are embedded in all film, television and digital video workflows. From desktop artists working from home offices to full service, multinational facilities, efficient workflows enable the smooth production of content. Digistor can assist vfx and post-production facilities to improve their throughput by planning, designing and installing flexible and scalable infrastructure to meet current and future client needs.
- Shoot for the sky
The technology rush has delivered amazing images with detail and density that were previously beyond directors' dreams and budgets. With the introduction of 8K formats and beyond, post houses need to be able to handle the increased demands on storage, networking and infrastructure. Shooting at large frame sizes and high quality results in huge file sizes that need to be shared and streamed by collaborative teams. Powerful shared storage systems that are specifically designed to support 8K workflows are needed to stream new formats with the consistent high quality that's required for online editing.
- Collaborative pre-visualisation
Before TVCs and short/long-form film, video and animation projects go ahead previsualisation is often required to secure client approval. Animatics ranging from simple sketch-based animations to high production value shorts are produced with production and post companies collaborating to green light a project.
- Matchmoving, tracking and scene layout
Photogrammetry tools have until now been expensive, slow to process and tricky to integrate into VFX pipelines due to a lack ofindustry standard file format support. These tools have now been integrated into matchmoving, tracking and scene layout packages to easily reconstruct accurate meshes of any scene size using images from any digital camera. Using these new tools facilities can offer improved services for a wide range of VFX, architecture, visualisation and engineering clients.
- Colour grading / DI
Once the domain of specialist hardware manufacturers, colour grading was performed one film reel at time. Now a file-based process, Digital Intermediate (DI) tools are available to download for laptops and workstations that can store many projects and grade complete works at one time. Control surfaces can be added to provide, full traditional controls over all aspects of cloning, metadata editing, sound sync and organisation of footage for editing, colour grading or visual effects.
- Editing, Animation, Design and VFX
These key post-production and finishing tools are used to process video and audio files before finishing. A range of stand-alone or bundled packages are available through flexible subscription licensing to cater for the production demands of any facility.
- Key infrastructure
Underpinning a smooth post-production workflow are network, storage, backup, archiving and disaster recovery systems. Digital Asset Management (DAM) software tools are used to control NAS and SAN storage systems and enable the easy access and distribution of files between project teams as well as backup and archiving. Flexible infrastructure enables workstations and suites to be quickly reconfigured for different tasks to suit customer demand.
Births, deaths, taxes and the need for more storage are among today’s leading certainties. As computing and file-based workflows have become the norm in the content creation industries, the role and methodology of data storage has changed significantly. Directly connected workstation storage has given way to centralised solutions and Digistor has the knowledge and experience of the full spectrum of scalable, shared storage for workgroups to guide clients through this critical infrastructure selection.
Storage Requirements for Content Creation
All content creators need to quickly and efficiently ingest, store, access and share increasingly larger files in a growing variety of formats and resolutions. Contributors, editors and managers need to work together - seamlessly sharing the same media assets within the facility or remotely, to output projects faster using an optimised, end-to-end content creation workflow.
The many shared storage options available to organisations are quickly narrowed down by budget, performance and capacity considerations. However, bang-for-buck price/performance ratios have improved considerably so while hardware systems still involve an economic commitment, buyers are able to obtain powerful, mass storage solutions previously only available to large enterprises.
Technology progress has seen individual workstation RAID storage replaced by Storage Area Network (SAN) and Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions using a range of Fibre Channel (FC) or ethernet-based networks.
Selecting the best options involves engineering decisions that require a deep understanding of the pros and cons of the networking protocols used by the various flavours of SAN and NAS storage. Mixing and matching technologies can deliver a customised system to provide an ideal, affordable and simple storage solution. Digistor works with clients to analyse workflows, project and data lifecycles, growth expectations and other considerations to recommend the best solution for this critical infrastructure form available options.
- Industry standard integration
Shared storage involves files that can be shared between many artists using a wide variety of software tools and platforms. Essentially animators, NLE editors, audio engineers, vfx teams and others need hardware systems that can read and write to common formats. Similarly the shared storage systems must be flexible enough to provide read/write management of working files.
- Expansion and scalability
Broadcasters and post-production facilities often need to expand their storage systems to cover both short and long term needs so scalability is critical in the selection of hardware systems. Storage systems can be expanded by adding more storage to a server or adding more network servers. These choices can involve additional licensing fees as well as the cost of hardware.
- Backup and archive
Backing up and archiving files from shared storage systems is critical to the smooth operation of all content creation companies. Online, near line, offline and archive are terms used to describe the availability of media to the post-production teams. The processes used to produce these backups range in complexity from mirroring drives to recording data to LTO tapes for off site storage.
- Control and management
Shared storage systems are a major stepping stone in the move from linear workflows to a controlled, collaborative process. The full benefits of shared digital assets can only be achieved through the use of advanced media software management systems and easy-to-deploy appliances to automate and accelerate workflows and enhance collaboration.
The move from traditional video tape-based workflows to digital file-based infrastructure has been accompanied by cuts to program and equipment budgets. While opportunities have arisen from the rapid expansion of consumer viewing platforms, these have been challenged by the need to efficiently manage production, post-production and distribution/broadcast processes.
The solution has been the rapid adoption of automated file-based management systems that provide a central hub to manage all aspects of file-based workflows. These systems provide all the tools needed to create and automate workflows from acquisition to deliverables in a secure, reliable and repeatable manner.
Digistor has the experience and ability to migrate your most elaborate production to a file-based workflow using planned steps that simply and ease the process, leading to a number of benefits.
- Improved imagery
The switch to all digital and extreme high resolution cameras (2K, 4K+) has dramatically improved the quality of imagery and digital formats don't suffer from videotape's quality loss during duplication and post-production processing. Faster file-based import times have also replaced real time tape transfers.
- Metadata magic
A major benefit of digital acquisition is the metadata generated by camera shoots. Metadata originally contains camera and lens information which is often supplemented by field producers to include subject, location and best take details. The MXF (Media Exchange Format) is used to efficiently exchange video, audio and metadata from acquisition through file-based workflows.
- Sharing with collaborative workgroups
Acquired files from cameras or remote servers plus other media such as graphics, audio and animation are kept on NAS or SAN shared storage systems where artists and operators can easily locate, capture, process and distribute the content. Every process in the workflow can read and write to the file's metadata enabling rapid search, processing and versioning tasks.
- 24 hour delivery to multiple platforms
Timely news and entertainment programming relies heavily on file-based workflows with the ability of high speed transfer servers and secure networks to share files to client and domestic audiences via cloud and remote sites.
- Managing digital files
Digital Asset Management (DAM) and Production Asset Management (PAM) systems enable the automation of processes such as synchronisation, transcoding and distribution that enables operators to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Metadata is key to this process for the location, recognition, processing, transfer and delivery of material in file-based workflows.
- Quality Control (QC)
One of the key processes controlled by DAMs is the automated quality control and correction of file-based media. What was previously a laborious and time consuming operation is now a scalable, background IT process that is saving time and money.
File-based management systems are scalable and can be used standalone or integrated within a networked operation. Integration with 'best of breed' third party technologies enables features including automated disc publishing and and advanced transcoding.
- Reliability and data security
Automated backup and archiving that is integrated into workflows provides peace of mind and the ability to maximise storage while retaining access to media and projects.
Media Asset Management
Asset management software systems offer the single largest advantage to any all-digital content production operation using Storage Area Network (SAN) and/or Network Attached Storage (NAS) shared storage hardware.
File-based workflows have developed around the switch to complete IT-based infrastructures and both changes have brought massive benefits to everyone involved in content production. Speed, efficiency, capacities and scalability have increased dramatically while the cost of hardware has fallen.
Managing file-based data using Digital Asset Management (DAM) / Media Asset Management (MAM) / or Project Asset Management (PAM) software systems provides the ability and tools to not only achieve improved results today but open next generation opportunities.
Asset management solutions are available to suit a wide range of users from small workgroups to whole of facility post-production and broadcast operations. Digistor collaboratively assists clients through the selection, installation and integration of these toolsets to deliver the best solution for your needs. Asset management needs to be discussed early and its implementation planned as a critical part of any project's success.
Metadata is the key
Files are only assets if they can be quickly and easily located and accessed. Asset management software reads and catalogues all stored files using the metadata that accompanies every file. From simple name, creation time/date and file size information to complex location, access permissions and distribution data, asset managers are able to read and write metadata to automate and accelerate workflows and enhance collaboration. Asset managers utilise metadata databases to enable keyword searches to find, preview, load and distribute files. On debut such software can scan connected drives and storage systems to locate and categorise existing files.
Options, modules and expansion
Facilities can use asset management solutions to control many areas of content creation by adding modules to expand the range of options.
- control multi camera shoots feeding imagery directly into shared storage systems in drama, live sport and events during Outside Broadcast or studio recordings.
- copy content from local or remote sources directly to shared storage.
- track each file and project throughout a production life cycle.
- automate regular and repetitive tasks such as file cataloguing, versioning and event triggering.
- transcode files during ingest or on-the-fly to suit individual requirements so the highest resolution and proxy files are available to all.
- securely control access to files using permissions for local and remote workgroups and clients.
- publish in multiple formats to suit local and remote broadcast, internet and mobile platforms
backup and archive to local, remote and cloud storage.
You're goals are to produce and deliver jobs at the highest quality, lowest cost and fastest turnaround. This requires all your attention and skills, yet, technology concerns demand attention to reach these goals. Digistor can provide specialised technical services on demand and utilise our experience and skilled engineers to overcome technical hurdles. Here are a few examples.
- Relocation Services
Digistor can help with planning the move, project management, backup of data prior to move, moving of equipment, restoration of services and storage, plus redeployment of client machines. Digistor can minimise the downtime so you can be productive again without delay.
- Project-based Consulting
Not sure how to approach a specific problem or production pipeline? Our consultants can work in partnership with you to define the ideal solution and, optionally, help you implement it.
- Product Evaluation
There are often multiple solutions in the market that need to be thoroughly evaluated before a considered decision can be made about which to invest in. Once a decision is made, it's expensive to switch or re-assess, so a complete and methodical evaluation is required by an objective specialists such as Digistor.
- Establishing a Greenfield Facility
Digistor engineers are experts in new facility installs. Our Greenfields services can include solutions architecture, project management, deployment, training and on-going support. We can also manage ISP arrangements and structured cabling.
IP Delivery of Media & Big Data
The move to IP-based delivery of content has changed the face of the film and broadcast industries worldwide with the ability to acquire content anywhere and distribute it everywhere. The encoding, transcoding and delivery of media, reliably, securely and at high speed to multi-screen, connected audiences requires specialised tools and Digistor offers a range of these products to suit corporate communications, events, delivery to websites, remote cameras, IPTV and any streaming media need.
- Distributing Time-Sensitive, Real-Time Media
Transfer Servers/Clients, Web Applications, Mobile Apps, Management/Automation, Synchronisation
Organisations that need to move large volumes of data over public and private IP networks - film studios, post-production /vfx houses, sports and news broadcasters - utilise software to securely deliver high-resolution media worldwide, with the utmost quality of service, to ultimately provide consumers with their best content, faster and more efficiently than ever before.
- Automated Transcoding Workflows & Broadcasting Over IP Networks
Solutions and technology for transforming video to reach wider audiences more efficiently and more profitably. It covers applications from multi-screen distribution to post-production and archiving.
Dynamic media workflow platforms lets organisations design, deploy and manage streamlined, customised workflows that enable new levels of operational efficiency, agility and insight needed to service the expanding multi-screen media landscape.
- Portable ENG Broadcasting: LTE, 4G, 3G, WiFi, Ethernet
Platforms provide complete end-to-end broadcast and management solutions to capture, transmit, manage and distribute content for live and file-based transmission.
Mobile news crews, ENG vans and solo video journalists can deliver live breaking news using a complete platform of transmitters, software, cloud-based management tools and servers. Capture high-quality live video for online streaming and sports broadcasting, as well as at educational institutions and in first responder situations. Tools intelligently manage or bond wireless connections (3G/4G/LTE, WiFi, Ethernet, microwave, and satellite) to deliver optimal picture quality using quick set up and easy to operate transmitters.
- Webcasting, Live Streaming and Cloud Distribution
Live production tools enable users to easily produce and stream professional multi-camera video productions.
Webcasting and streaming tools range from live production software packages to full professional hardware/software solutions with touch control surfaces. These include "all in one" portable streaming production studios for mobile professionals. Cloud service options simplify video production and distribution workflows by enabling video to be uploaded and published to cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud video delivery platforms include toolsets to completely control your professional online video presence.
- Cloud-based Operations
Infrastructure and operational needs can be easily scaled using flexible cloud-based services to provide transcoding and workflow management software systems. Hybrid or full cloud services enable media I/O from cloud or on-premise storage with S3, HTTP, FTP, SFTP, and Aspera protocols to simplify workflow integration for cloud-based and on-premise implementations. A full range of transcoding, formats, analysis and workflow capability is available using highly secure, high performance network and storage infrastructure to maximise overall system throughput at any scale.