Creative Liquid is a full-service production facility in Washington D.C. with a focus on bringing clients’ visions to life from concept to final product by extraordinary storytelling. Their clients range from U.S. government organizations and NGOs to major entertainment companies like MTV, NBC, and Nickelodeon. The award-winning team at Creative Liquid provides a full spectrum of production services from pre-production to post, live streaming, broadcast, and everything in between.
The team at Creative Liquid realized that keeping up with all of the new content meant they would need a backend solution to scale their workflow without sacrificing the efficiency their customers rely on. Their workflow before EVO was a mix of shared hard drives and a Studio Network Solutions Xtarget iSCSI SAN. They had success with this model, but as they grew their operations they needed a larger, more integrated solution, and continuing with SNS was a natural choice.
A Solution That Fits All Parameters
“One of our biggest issues was sharing media between multiple editors,” said Ryan Pratzel, Executive Producer and President of Creative Liquid. “We had to duplicate media onto portable hard drives and transfer them from edit suite to edit suite. We then purchased SNS’s Xtarget SAN software and turned a Mac Mini into an iSCSI SAN. This worked for raw media, but it still didn’t allow our editors to work together as much as we would have liked. This is when we realized our growing business really needed a more comprehensive workflow solution.”
When the need for a more collaborative and scalable solution arose, they looked back to SNS to help overhaul their storage workflow.
“We wanted a solution that could easily grow with our company–expansion and future upgrades were vital. EVO was a perfect fit for us because it met all of our current, short term, and future needs regarding storage capacity and connectivity options.”
Three things took top priority for Creative Liquid. First, they needed a flexible workflow system that fit the way they wanted to work and didn’t force them to change the way they already do things. Their second priority was a simple media management solution that made it easy to organize and find their digital assets (raw footage, project files, graphics, etc.). This need was well met with EVO’s ShareBrowser, an easy-to-use asset management application included with every EVO system that allows users to search, tag, comment, preview, and verify all of their media from a single window. The third priority for Creative Liquid was scalability: They knew that as their company continued to grow — and as they took on bigger projects — they would need a solution that could grow alongside them.
“The ability for EVO to serve as both a SAN and NAS was important. We also really liked the ShareBrowser management interface; learning to use it was very easy,” said Pratzel. “We wanted a solution that could easily grow with our company–expansion and future upgrades were vital. EVO was a perfect fit for us because it met all of our current, short term, and future needs regarding storage capacity and connectivity options.”
Easy Implementation and Room to Grow
After deciding on a 16 Bay EVO from Studio Network Solutions, the team at Creative Liquid started working with SNS to build and implement the perfect solution. “We set up a call with our rep and talked through our process and what we needed the system to do. We also evaluated the best options for our budget, keeping in mind that we would expand later,” stated Pratzel. “The process was simple. Once the server arrived the SNS support team made a remote connection to help with the configuration and install, and we were up and running quickly.”
Their EVO was initially set up as a half-populated system using eight drives. This gave them the performance they needed to work on 4K and HD projects and also gave them an easy route to expand with eight more drives when they were ready. For connectivity, the EVO was equipped with multiple GbE and 10Gb Ethernet ports, with room for an additional expansion to add even more direct-connect users.
A Competitive Advantage
With the EVO in place, the editors, designers, and producers at Creative Liquid can now work directly from a centralized location with access to all of their digital assets. They can collaborate on projects more efficiently, and they’ve taken back hundreds of hours of time that used to be spent waiting for files to transfer, shuttling drives back and forth from edit bays, and working around lengthy processes. EVO and ShareBrowser have given them an edge by simplifying their entire workflow and helping them take back their time to focus on what matters: delivering outstanding content to their clients.
“We can move large amounts of HD, even 4K, media quickly. When camera cards come in from the field we can offload footage fast and in a shared environment where an editor can begin working with the footage almost immediately. And now we have ample storage to keep all of our media in one place. It is such a huge time saver. We no longer have to copy media between multiple hard drives if more than one editor needs to work on something,” said Pratzel.
The reliability of EVO and the massive increase in performance that Creative Liquid has seen since installing the system has proven to be extremely beneficial to their productivity. As their business continues to grow they are confident that working with Studio Network Solutions’ EVO will continue to help them succeed.
“The increased efficiency allows our team to turn around projects for clients faster. And to put it more into dollars and cents, we used to have a separate RAID in each edit suite. Those aren’t cheap, and hard drives fail. Keeping up with a bunch of different storage devices is time consuming and expensive. Now everything is in one appliance. The amount of time we have saved and peace of mind knowing EVO is reliable and expertly supported by the SNS team has made the investment well worth it.”
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.