Multiple A/V SAN systems streamline workflow for ‘The Lord of the Rings’

London England, October 31, 2002 – Grammy® Award-winning music engineer David Gleeson is currently using four Studio Network Solutions (SNS) A/V SAN Fibre Channel storage area network systems to streamline workflow during the recording, editing and mixing of the music score for “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.” Gleeson, associate producer on the project, together with scoring engineer John Kurlander and systems expert Mark Wilsher, are utilizing an eight seat SNS A/V SAN PRO at Abbey Road Studios plus several smaller A/V SANs for remote location recording. The current “Rings” project makes use of multiple recording locations around the London area, including CTS Watford, Sir George Martin’s AIR Lyndhurst studio and Henry Wood Hall, in addition to Abbey Road, where sessions are occupying several studios. An A/V SAN PRO with 3 terabytes of storage, newly expanded from six to eight seats, is installed at Abbey Road, which serves as the main base of operations for mixer Peter Cobbin and main editor Michael Price. A/V SAN PRO is scalable from a single-seat system to 20 seats or more as requirements increase.

Smaller recording SNS A/V SANs are used at the remote locations, in tandem with Digidesign Pro Tools workstations and Prism converters. An A/V SAN has also been installed at The Film Unit in New Zealand for the film’s dub.

Gleeson, a music engineer who is equally at home working with pop acts such as Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Savage Garden or on movie soundtracks (“Fight Club,” “Panic Room”), reveals that the decision to work with the SNS A/V SAN was made earlier this year. Removable drives were used during the recording of new music by composer Howard Shore for director Peter Jackson’s extended version of the first “Rings” installment, which adds nearly 40 minutes to the theatrical release.

“But that had difficulties,” observes Gleeson. With orchestral recording, he explains, “The amount of data and drive space that you use quickly notches up. The only way to have any given piece of music available to do an overdub at pretty much any time was to go to a smaller SAN.”

By utilizing A/V SAN, the audio crew has been able to keep their options open on the scoring stage during the current sessions. “No matter how thorough your preparation is, with dedicated drives for overdubs, something sooner or later is going to get thrown at you that you hadn’t anticipated,” he says. With the majority of the data stored in the SAN the very latest edit of the session file can be quickly and easily e-mailed and the scoring session can proceed.

Reliability is also key on a large orchestral scoring date, notes Gleeson, much more so than in post production. “You’ve got 100 musicians and a huge crew, plus the overhead of the stage itself. The clock’s ticking and something’s down – it’s very, very unpleasant to be in that predicament with any piece of gear. You have to know it’s 100 percent reliable.”

Having previously experienced just such a problem with other SAN systems, he observes, “SNS have been more reserved in their claims of what their system can do, but what they do claim they do deliver. Track count and reliability give the SNS system huge advantages and the benefit is passed along to the end users-the editors simply work instead of dealing with drive issues. I’m definitely very happy with the way this system performs.”

New Line Home Entertainment’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring — Special Extended Edition” DVD is in stores November 12. “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (New Line Cinema) opens in theaters nationwide December 18.

Using Fibre Channel technology, the A/V SAN PRO storage solution provides multiple digital workstations simultaneous access to centralized storage at truly extraordinary speed. A/V SAN and A/V SAN PRO provide speeds of up to 200 Megabytes per second, per workstation and support up to 128 tracks of 24 bit audio from applications like ProTools on a single drive. A/V SAN PRO is the storage solution of choice at such world-renowned facilities as The Hit Factory, New Line Cinema, Vidfilm International and many others, and has earned respect among industry leaders as being nothing less than bulletproof.

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.

Our customers range in size from individual freelance engineers to multinational media powerhouses. Our solutions are used to produce everything from books on tape to full track scoring for major Hollywood films. Our products have been at the technical core of the music you listen to, the games you play, the shows you watch and the movies you see.

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