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Knickerbockerglory TV Selects StorageDNA

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Knickerbockerglory TV is an independent TV production company in Hammersmith, London, England, launched in 2011 by Jonathan Stadlen with the aim of making shows they love, sharing the profits and giving to charity.

Knickerbockerglory TV produces a variety of subject matter comprised of documentary and comedy series, reality TV and more. The productions include the highly intriguing multi-episode series GPs: Behind Closed Doors, exploring the real-life challenges of surgical doctors and their patients. Another popular show is the Knickerbockerglory TV production of Stage School which is a structured reality series that follows the lives of students and teachers at the prestigious D&B Academy of Performing Arts. In Stage School you can witness an all-singing, all-dancing rollercoaster journey of exciting auditions and romantic stories.

The Challenge
File-based content is being generated at an unprecedented pace in the Television industry and the content deluge was mounting at Knickerbockerglory TV. As a result, they decided to institute a lo-res to hi-res workflow whereby camera master footage is not stored on their primary editorial storage. Instead, the camera master files were stored on a 'less expensive' set of NAS volumes and transcoded them to a lower resolution to edit with. When the program was picture-locked, the hi-res files had to be restored for finishing the program at a hi-res, broadcast-quality. But managing this workflow for multiple TV shows was not an easy task, especially when it was done manually. Ola Olowu, Edit Facilities Manager, described it this way: "The lo-res to hi-res workflow process from beginning to end was manual, error prone and could be hit or miss. The amount of effort was the same whether it was a 30 second promo or a 60 minute documentary."

As an example, the GPs: Behind Closed Doors documentary generates 3TB of raw content per episode and the series is 30 episodes. This adds up quickly to an overwhelming 90TB worth of content. Ola Olowu expressed his frustration: "Imagine trying to pinpoint what clips are being used for each edit across 90TB of storage – it could drive you mad."

There had to be a better way to achieve their desired workflow.

Knickerbockerglory TV began searching for a feature-rich automated solution that could help:
• Streamline their offline to online workflow
• Eliminate manual errors in various stages of the workflow
• Reduce both storage and production costs, using the robust LTO 6 storage tapes
• Address insurance requirements
• Simplify and provide reliable backup and restore procedures

The Solution
Knickerbockerglory TV struggled to deal with the vast amount of footage being shot and processed for their TV shows and began researching products to help their situation. LTO tape and archiving solutions seemed to fit for a variety of reasons. LTO, which is a tape-based storage medium, boasts the lowest dollar/GB cost of any media available today, while offering higher reliability than spinning disk. Along with an extended shelf life of over 30 years, it seemed like the ideal place to house their valuable camera master footage until it was needed for finishing their programs. They examined a number of video production archive solutions and ultimately selected StorageDNA's DNAevolution, based on some of its unique capabilities surrounding selective restores from LTO. Ola Olowu stated: "We were a little skeptical at first about the 'conform from LTO' feature, but found that DNAevolution helps simplify the editing process tremendously."

Since then it has been used on every single show over the last 18 months. Olowu continued: "With DNAevolution, the restore process from LTO-6 tapes is automated based on submitting an AAF straight out of Avid, which provides a full list of files that need to be restored – making things much simpler."

The StorageDNA solution was also needed for insurance purposes based on the requirements of many of the productions.

The Results
The implementation of DNAevolution has provided a number of tangible and rapid benefits to "StorageDNA has completely changed our workflow from manual and error-prone to an automated and exact process, saving us time and money," exclaimed Olowu.
Olowu is thrilled by the improved productivity and cost savings: "Previously a conform of 3TB could take up to 6 hours, but with StorageDNA it only takes 2.5 hours – giving us more than 50% savings in time which equates to money."

DNAevolution can radically improve content management and help provide a secure efficient digital production and storage process with powerful tools and features including:
• Media intelligent features that provide workflow-enhancing capabilities
• Browser-based tools to quickly find and restore content – saving valuable time
• Automatic movement of content from disk storage to lower-cost LTO tape technology for significant savings
• Long-term protection of content for up to 30 years with integrated LTO LTFS technology
• Automated project-based backup and archiving – set it and forget it
• Accurate error-free data with real-time checksum and secure tape duplication

"The StorageDNA solution has improved our workflows immensely, not to mention the amazing technical support. We've recommended it to other post production facilities in London," added Ola Olowu, Edit Facility Manager, Knickerbockerglory TV.

StorageDNA in the EMEA is represented by Polar Graphics Ltd:

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 56.

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