Bait Studio is an internationally renowned visual effects and motion design studio located in Porth Teigr; at the center of the creative industries in Wales, United Kingdom. Their client list includes a diverse range of companies from around the world in TV, Film, Broadcast, and Advertising.

In 2013, Bait Studio expanded their services to include a children’s animation arm, Cloth Cat, which produces animation series and features for broadcast and streaming on major networks such as Disney, Netflix, ABC, Sprout, and Cartoon Network. This expansion nearly quadrupled the size of their business, creating an immediate need for a more robust shared storage solution that would fit within a rapidly growing and dynamic studio.

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“At the time of the expansion, the studio consisted of around 10-12 people,” says Jon Rennie, Managing Director of Bait Studio and Cloth Cat Animation. “But then we took on a few animation series projects, including a 52 episode series for broadcast across the U.K., while simultaneously working on a million pound (~ $1.5M USD) visual effects budget feature. This grew the company to around 80 people overnight. So we suddenly required a lot more storage, bandwidth, and something more agile to work across multiple applications.”

“We have a total of 75 custom-built Windows PC workstations with a 40 node render farm hanging off the backbone of the infrastructure. So whether there are artists working on EVO or major renders happening, there can literally be 100 machines hammering our EVO systems simultaneously, and these demands are met effortlessly.”

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Finding the right storage for a rapidly growing, dynamic studio

With the company having instantly ballooned, they knew that they would need additional storage that could handle dozens of artists working simultaneously with multiple applications. The studio houses three separate creative groups with a variety of animation tools and VFX software–in environments like this, the flexibility of a solution is hugely important. So one of the primary reasons for choosing Studio Network Solutions’ EVO Storage was exactly that: its ability to work seamlessly with all of their existing hardware and software, with users constantly hitting the system.

“The beauty of this system is that you don’t need to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Our artists come in, a custom script automatically mounts the correct volumes, and it just works–regardless of what software or hardware the artists are using,” said Rennie. “It’s given us more time to just focus on our projects, and that’s incredibly important to us.”

 

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The team at Bait Studio includes between 50-75 artists, and they can be working on 15-20 projects at any given time. Each project requires some combination of animation, visual effects, and/or motion graphics, which requires the use of 12-24 different applications and the ability to render projects 24 hours per day. Some of the primary tools in use by Bait Studio are Maya, Nuke, Houdini, C4D, After Effects, and Premiere, all of which perform flawlessly with EVO.

There is a massive amount of data being generated in the facility, so Bait Studio needed a centralized storage solution capable of handling their demanding workflow. It was also necessary that their storage/workflow solution operate with any and all production applications, and simultaneously be available to every workstation and their render farm.

“We have a total of 75 custom-built Windows PC workstations with a 40 node render farm hanging off the backbone of the infrastructure. So whether there are artists working on EVO or major renders happening, there can literally be 100 machines hammering our EVO systems simultaneously, and these demands are met effortlessly.”

A Customized Solution

To more effectively achieve the workflow that they needed, Bait Studio worked with Studio Network Solutions to develop a feature that at the time did not exist in EVO or any other storage system. Rennie and his team relied heavily on Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) for managing users. Making sure that EVO could support LDAP usage was essential, but there was one aspect of LDAP that no storage system addressed; Bait Studio brought this up to SNS, and SNS added it to the EVO OS in a matter of a couple weeks. “It’s nice working with vendors who actually listen and have the capability to implement customizable solutions that not only solve your problems, but also naturally fit within your existing production environment,” says Rennie.

“SNS understood our need and built a special feature using LDAP into the system to address our request. It solidified my expectations that working with SNS would be a great option moving forward as we grow quickly.”

With EVO, Bait Studio and Cloth Cat can continue to expand and push the envelope with new types of projects, and they can rest assured knowing that they have a reliable solution in place that can handle anything they throw at it.

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About Studio Network Solutions (SNS)

SNS shared storage solutions are at the core of optimized video workflow for professional content creation workgroups worldwide. The SNS EVO shared media storage server combines high-performance with extensive connectivity, including 10Gb/s Ethernet and Fibre Channel. With EVO’s included ShareBrowser asset management software, you can search, index, preview, tag, and verify video and project assets with no additional software required. NAS, SAN, or both at the same time, EVO is designed for online real-time video editing with leading video/audio applications including Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro/CC, Final Cut Pro (FCP), Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), DaVinci Resolve, Pro Tools, and others.

Read more user stories or contact SNS now to see how the EVO shared media storage server can help your company.