Case Studies

Extreme Conditions for Volvo Ocean Race Require Extreme Storage

The Volvo Ocean Race, the renowned continent-to-continent, offshore yacht race, attracts some of the most talented sailing crews and state-of-the-art vessels in the world. The race is no small undertaking for competing sailors or video crews that document the event.

Covering over 39,000 miles in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet, often in excess of 40 knots at times (70km/h), the event is one of the world’s premier offshore yacht races. It not only requires the utmost skill, physical endurance and competitive spirit from all of the contestants, but it also requires the most reliable and efficient technologies to document it.

“SANmp has been completely reliable and created an environment where editors could easily all follow the same workflow. “We required a robust central station for all of the footage to be stored, and a reliable solution for finding the right shots quickly”

Sarah Marriott, Associate Producer

Sponsored by Volvo, the round-the-world, eight month long yacht race is now held every three years, departing Spain in the fall to make port in nine countries by traveling over four oceans. Generally, the route runs south through the Atlantic Ocean, around the tip of Africa, and then around the Southern Ocean where some of the most severe weather conditions exist with waves that top 100 feet, and winds that reach 60 knots (110 km/h). The course for the race is deliberately plotted through some of the planet’s most inhospitable environments and competitors can expect to face three-story swells, iceberg-strewn seas, and ship-swallowing squalls. Sailing around the clock, the 10-person crews share a single cabin and forgo commodities such as fresh food, mattresses, pillows, and reading material — conveniences that are all too heavy. Eventually, the vessels round Cape Horn and turn back into the Atlantic for a finish in Europe.

Of course, winning this race is all about teamwork, efficiency and speed. And, producing the documentation for this race has equally rigorous requirements. After decades of sponsorship, Volvo understood the need for the most efficient and reliable technologies for the production challenges involved in documenting the event. And, when it came time to deploy the best in shared storage technologies for the event’s post-production editing crews, the company enlisted Studio Network Solutions to take on the challenge and join the team.

“We required a robust central station for all of the footage to be stored, and a reliable solution for finding the right shots quickly.”
Sarah Marriott, Associate Producer, Volvo Ocean Race

For the 2005-2006 event, several thousand hours of footage was shot both at port and onboard the seven competing boats. Footage shot in port was edited down to one hour packages and transferred via satellite to race headquarters where the edit suites and SAN system were based. Meanwhile the crews themselves were responsible for shooting, editing and satellite-feeding the onboard images back to race HQ and these were stored and edited in the same way. The creative team had a total of six stations for logging, editing and archiving — comprising six seats of Studio Network Solutions’ SANmp sharing software. The workgroup used Mac OS X and Final Cut Pro for editing, and asset management software for data-basing, clip searches, sequence building and more.

“SANmp has been completely reliable and created an environment where editors could easily all follow the same workflow.”
Giles Bracher, System Administrator, Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race looked at other storage solutions but they were too expensive and too complex to administer. SANmp, Studio Network Solutions’ shared storage networking software, gave the company the capability to maximize the value of their SAN investment by enabling all projects and media clips to be easily shared among the users in the various workgroups.

“Studio Network Solutions’ SANmp has been rock solid for two years. The system is left running 24/7 and whenever we needed it, it has been there for us.”
Sarah Marriott

By deploying SANmp, post-production crews for the Volvo Ocean Race realized great efficiencies that resulted in a weekly television series with thirty-two episodes, a documentary series, and a number of one hour programs and news feeds throughout the event. And finally, the production teams summed it all up with an official feature film at the end of the event.

Location: United Kingdom

Industry: Video Post Production

Work Environment: Final Cut Pro

About SNS

Studio Network Solutions (SNS) specializes in the development of shared storage hardware and software solutions for the Media and Entertainment industry. Since day one we’ve applied unmatched ingenuity and experience to create outstanding products that exceed industry expectations while providing outstanding support to our customers.

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