The BRIT (British Record Industry Trust) School is Britain’s only free Performing Arts and Technology School, dedicated to the education and vocational training of 14-19 year olds with a passion for the performing arts, art and design and media. With past students such as Amy Winehouse, Katie Melua and Leona Lewis the BRIT school has an impressive list of former graduates. While clearly devoted to the arts, the BRIT school prides itself on its formidable technology resources offering students a sophisticated learning environment, featuring state of the art equipment typically only found in the most advanced of workplaces.
Video production is a prominent and increasingly popular element of the school’s curriculum. In keeping with its reputation for investing in state of the art technology, the school recently revamped its edit centre and purchased a multi-user Final Cut Pro editing suite. Anticipating the increased demand for content creation, sharing and storage, the BRIT school knew it needed to find a solid and reliable storage solution.
“Our needs were demanding: we wanted a shared storage system that would allow any student or group of students to simultaneously access, edit and share media files from any of the seven available FCP workstations in the editing suite,” explains Alison Pemberton of the Broadcast and Digital Communication Department at the BRIT School.
Working with Apple Reseller Jigsaw and specialist audio / video distributor NewMedia AV, Studio Network Solutions created a customized shared storage system, featuring two globalSAN X-16s with SANmp able to handle multiple, simultaneous streams of HDV over Gigabit Ethernet using iSCSI.
The SAN was connected via one of two Mac Pros 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports with the other network port being used for a separate LAN connection. This gave students the ability to open up their projects from any of the seven suites.
An archive server was also installed, to access the globalSAN volumes with Read Only access for backing up and the server was configured so it can mount volumes with Write access should a restore ever need to occur on the system. The server archives from SAN to an LTO 4 Tape Library using a local SCSI connection and Backbone NetVault workgroup software.
“globalSAN has helped the BRIT School teach essential content creation and editing skills in a far more effective way than a room full of isolated workstations could. Centralising their storage needs brings them not only archival security but a huge increase in flexibility. Studio Network Solutions’ iSCSI product range, offers greater access to this level of technology for educators at a far lower cost than fibre channel based shared storage,” comments Jeremy Strootman, Director of Worldwide Sales for Studio Network Solutions.
The globalSAN X-16s were installed during the beginning of October 2007 and have been in constant use ever since. The solution that SNS provided for the BRIT school has already made a vast improvement within the Broadcast and Digital Communication Department of the school.
“The system that we are now using is not only reliable, but because of the current trend in Apple as a brand, the students are no longer finding the conversion from PCs to Macs difficult. The fact that students now have the freedom to use any computer in the room, allows us and our students to be much more flexible. We are able to have more projects happening at the same time as our globalSAN can now handle the volume of work,” says Pemberton.
The number of projects produced so far is a great example of how successful SNS’s globalSAN system has been since it’s been installed. At present, the BTEC National Diploma Media Production students in year 12 are completing the editing of television adverts. The BTEC National Diploma Media Production year 13 students are also editing film trailers that they have produced.
AS Media Studies students have also been completing their practical coursework projects, comprised of the opening two minutes of a thriller film, and upcoming projects for A2 Media Studies students will include the editing of music videos.
“Our new edit suite is fantastic. Our students now have access to the same technology as the leading universities and post production businesses!” says Alison Pemberton. “This is currently our busiest time in the edit suite and our globalSAN solution is working like a dream, providing us with the freedom and security we have desperately needed.”
School: The British Record Industry Trust School
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