There’s no shortage of demand for the skills necessary to professionally package and present content, which is why more and more educators are embracing media production in their mass communications & journalism curriculums. Today, hundreds of universities and even high schools now offer film/video production courses and degrees.

It’s not just for film schools anymore.

According to the US Dept. of Labor, employment for film and video editing occupations is projected to continue its faster-than-average growth for many years to come. In fact, the current average annual wage for a video editor is over $60K!

It’s more important than ever for educators to not only build strong media curriculums, but to also create a learning environment that most closely resembles the real world experiences students will have after graduation. That means using the latest tools, including a modern centralized shared storage environment for students to work in.

Employers in this industry will be looking for team members who can work in an ongoing and collaborative environment, rather than solo operators. Therefore, using shared storage is nearly certain to be a big part of your graduates’ real world work process. The collaborative tools students use and the workflow methodologies they learn in coursework will be highly portable, making them much better prepared for life after graduation.

Shared storage solves common challenges in media production classes

Successful post production companies have long-known the benefits of using shared storage, and many universities have found that its advantages apply just as much to effectively teaching the craft. If your classroom doesn’t have the right storage system you will continually face these common problems:

  1. Moving large media files is a massive time sink, and when working with common source material, creating copies for each student is extremely inefficient.
  2. A push/pull method invites the potential for confusion from duplication, or much worse, doing damage by overwriting the wrong files.
  3. Organization is difficult. With no built-in asset management or ability to quickly search content, even finding and retrieving files can be a challenge.
  4. An ad hoc approach to media storage worsens data sprawl, which leads to higher costs.

A modern shared storage system designed for audio/video editing can solve all of these issues. With the right solution, students can work directly with the media and projects on the server, without pulling/pushing, inadvertently duplicating files, or worrying about bringing and taking their work with them on external drives each day. And they will learn to effectively use professional media management systems.

Choosing the right storage for media production curriculum

A storage solution designed for a modern media production workflow affords the connectivity and resources to handle concurrent use from a large group of students. It should take into account the nature of the work and cater specifically to media use. It should provide software tools to manage user permissions for more collaborative or more secure parts of the coursework.

Whether you’re spinning up a brand new syllabus for film or digital production, or looking to improve your existing lab facilities, here are some things to consider when looking for a shared storage solution that will provide the necessary hands-on experience to your aspiring editors and creators.

    Student content and common material should be available and secure.

  • No matter what computer in the lab a student sits down in front of, they should be able to open their project and work directly over the network. They should also expect that their work is stored securely, protected from other students, and available for central backup.
  • Some assignments may involve working with instructor-provided source/media content. These shared files should be readily available to the students, and the storage solution should make it easy for instructors to manage these library resources.
  • Availability includes connectivity. A robust system with a lot of Ethernet expandability means you may not even need a separate Ethernet switch on your campus/classroom to accommodate the student machines.

    Managing semester cycles should be painless.

  • From simply replacing a list of users to scrubbing shares and starting fresh, global and granular adjustments should be quick and easy to make. If directory services such as LDAP or Active Directory are used, integration should be simple, and allow for group-based management.

    Your shared storage should be easy to use.

  • Your time should be spent teaching the process of production, not how to navigate convoluted data structures. Daily and periodic operations should be intuitive for students, faculty, and administrators. The system should be designed to carry on for years with little required beyond the initial setup. Product support from the vendor should be ongoing and accessible.

    The system should accommodate courses at every level.

  • Shared storage should be able to accommodate multiple simultaneous workflows to meet the requirements of the educational environment.
  • An introductory video editing course is very different from an advanced program that simulates a real-world production facility. Beginners need simplicity, portability, and secure access. However, as students advance they will eventually need the collaborative workflows they’ll experience after graduation.
  • No matter what NLE platforms are used, your solution should be designed specifically for online editing environments, whether it’s audio or video, color correction, animation, or any other digital media production. Mac, Windows, Adobe, Final Cut, or Avid — don’t make a choice now that means limitations later.

    You should be able to easily keep track of content and assignments.

  • Storage can fill up fast, and without having asset management, things can get lost or duplicated. Having a searchable database of content, and the ability to add custom metadata means more organization and less time trying to find files.
  • We’ve all done it…accidentally deleting an important file is a learning moment that you will rarely allow yourself to duplicate. Your network shares should have a self-cleaning and customizable recycle bin, so that files can be recovered in the event they’re accidentally removed.
  • Computers don’t need time off, so put them to work when you go home. The server should be able to perform automated tasks for management and file handling.

If your current classroom storage solution falls short of the criteria above, it’s time to seriously consider upgrading. Your incoming students will be looking for the most up-to-date and relevant experience to prepare them for the job market.

A proven strategy for implementing shared storage

Taking the first step towards a more modern media curriculum is easy when you have the support of an expert team of engineers and workflow specialists.

At Studio Network Solutions, we work with educational organizations of all types, from K-12 to community colleges and state schools, all the way up to the world’s most prestigious universities like Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Yale. The most respected employers in media, broadcast, and advertising continually choose us for our domain expertise in designing state-of-the-art workflows to meet their business and creative needs.

That means, when your students graduate, they will already have hands-on experience with some of the very same technology being used at top media companies like Disney, Pixar, Vox, and thousands of others.

In the classroom, our EVO shared storage products fit all the criteria for choosing the right shared storage system, and afford the flexibility to change and grow as needed. EVO shared storage is not just a purchase, but a partnership with a company that constantly innovates. Our team knows the production business, and we understand the business of teaching the production business.

Click here to contact us for a consultation. We will work with you to implement the right shared storage system for your media production curriculum.