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.
Creative Suites — Editing, VFX, Animation, Audio, Grading, Finishing
The suitability of desktop workstations can be the key to staff productivity. Getting the specification right can be the difference between getting the job done and watching endless render bars. Digistor works closely with our customers and workstation suppliers — including Apple, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell — to provide the optimal configuration for each specific application workflow, whether editing, colour grading, animating, creating visual effects, audio mixing or performing other tasks.
- Balancing memory, CPU, GPU
Each software application is able to utilise different computational capabilities of the workstation. Some editing tools, for example, benefit from high-specification CPUs and more RAM. While 3D animation/rendering and multi-layer compositing could benefit form dedicated GPUs or custom hardware.
- Cloud computing and virtualisation
For scalable compute, there are options to utilise cloud platforms and virtualised workstations which can scale as required.
- Selecting the best monitor(s)
Monitor size, resolution, aspect ratio, brightness, contrast and colour performance determine suitability for editing, finishing, colour correction or other applications. True 4K and HDR performance can be critical.
- Control surfaces and digitisers
Colour control panels, drawing tablets, custom mouse and keyboards products.
- Software, plug-ins and licensing
Digistor can off flexible subscription licensing and render VFX plug-ins to cater for the production demands of any facility.
- Key infrastructure
Underpinning a smooth workflow are network, storage, backup, archiving and disaster recovery systems. Digistor can optimise studio infrastructure to support multi-workstation, collaborative environments.
High-Performance, collaborative storage, backup and archive
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 attached workstation storage has given way to networked, distributed 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 and Distribution
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.
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.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The ability to perform AI-powered video analysis is proving a boon to asset management. Applications such as automatic transcription, object identification, quality control (QC) enable huge increases in productivity for editing, post-production and distribution.
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.
Video Over IP & OTT Broadcast
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. 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, 5G, 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.
Architectural visualisation is the practice of visually representing a project, whether a building or public space. Today, software is typically used to clearly display proposed works. Digistor has experience assisting with this process. More recently industry leaders; Enjamin, Urban Circus and Binyan.
The following areas are the key facets of architectural visualisation that Digistor has the experience and expertise to support.
- Architectural Rendering
The process of creating two and three dimensional images of a proposed architecture design. Display life-like examples of how a space or building will aesthetically appear. Key rendering types are interior, exterior and aerial. Effectively utilising this software leads to more sophisticated and eye-catching designs.
- 3D Visualisation / Modelling & Animation
Save both time and finances through creating 3D models that are highly detailed and accurate. Provide models that can be viewed from every angle containing real-life elements such as sunlight, shadows, furniture and paintings.
- Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR)
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can be incredibly useful in the areas of; architecture, engineering and construction.(AEC). With AR add digital elements to a live interactive view. With VR, create a complete immersion experience.
On-premises, Cloud and Hybrid Render Farms
This technology is especially useful for 3D rendering and visualisation. Meet tight deadlines with processing power using on-premises, render farms, scalable cloud computing or a flexible combination of both.
Remote data duplication
Create replicas of data from one storage location to another, regardless of the location. This process ensures designs can be transferred between applications. Thus, take advantage of various software to improve upon concepts.
Shared storage solutions
Facilitate collaboration of information, enabling multiple user access. This is extremely useful for architects and designers working on the same project either within an office or remotely. Enhancing your process, through encouraging seamless collaboration of ideas.
Read the blog Render Farms-where to begin.
Digistor's Services team works with customers through the whole process of solution design, implementation and support. Services include
- Site/needs analysis and reporting
- Support Agreements
- Render farm installations and upgrades
- Software license management and optimisation
Cloud Workflow Integration
Content production, post-production and media management is increasingly moving to digital end-to-end strategies leveraging IP networks and cloud developments to realise breakthrough cost savings and efficiency gains. To meet the challenges of geographically distributed workgroups, quicker deadlines, and a greater number of ingest and delivery options. Companies are adding hybrid cloud/on-premises capabilities to their workflows to improve productivity, drive efficiency and reduce costs. Digistor can help you understand the possibilities and the limitations calling on the team's first-hand experience in implementing multiple complex workflows.
Implementing cloud workflows is no longer an optional for organisations that wish to remain competitive and Digistor can make sure your transition to hybrid cloud solutions is properly defined and executed.
Many Digistor customers have worked with us to utilise the cloud for long-term content storage. The next stage is implementing production tasks to the cloud and this shift will accelerate as internet bandwidth becomes faster and cheaper and as vendors rewrite and redesign their applications to take advantage of the cloud.
A planned implementation of cloud workflow strategies in conjunction with Digistor can enable organisations to
- Move the data at maximum speed, regardless of file size, transfer distance and network conditions
- Define file-based workflow automation and orchestration for the collection, processing and distribution of digital content
- Deploy powerful, scalable, software-enabled media processing for managing media services from the camera to the point of distribution
- Understand the latest XaaS offerings are and how they can be deployed for storage, computing, collaboration, distribution and more
- Combining the benefits of the cloud with on-premise storage to create an optimal mix of performance, access, scale, and efficiency
- Share the media assets facility-wide— or remotely around the world— and deploy collaborative, cloud-based media editing and workflows to simplify productions across dispersed teams to turn around projects faster
- Implement Hybrid (Pubic and Private) Cloud for long-term data retention
- Leverage the flexibility and CAPEX savings of the cloud without building the integration or executing manual file operations
Live Production & Streaming
IP technologies have opened up new and affordable ways to capture and distribute content and to reach new audiences. The broadcast landscape is changing and combining live streaming with social media is providing new models for video distribution, monetisation and engagement in Media, Broadcast, Sports, Houses of Worship, Education, Government, Corporate, Events/Staging and Marketing. The ability to leverage live streaming has realised significant new opportunities
Digistor can help develop an effective live production and streaming strategy for applications including
- Sports broadcasting from match action to "behind the scenes" material
- University lectures
- Live broadcast
- CEO, AGMs and corporate communications
- Political and community communications
- Live entertainment events and concerts
- Broadcaster "breaking news"
- Church services
Consumers are increasingly looking to social platforms, video sharing websites and OTT platforms as the place to consume much of what was traditional broadcast-type content. Content providers need to find new ways to cost-effectively produce quality content and reach their audience. Digistor can help with solutions from simple live switching and encoding, through to multi-source live production and distribution for multi-national audiences.