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October 2015

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Page 48 of 51

FIELD TESTED 47 POST OCTOBER 2015 wordfish is a San Francisco-based motion design studio specializ- ing in marketing and user experience. Our directors, designers, animators, and technologists work with direct clients and agencies to design memorable pictures in motion. Based in the Bay Area, we do a lot for large tech companies, but also work with agencies that represent tradi- tional consumer brands. A MORE ROBUST SOLUTION I started Swordfish about three years ago with limited resources. We had a few used Apple Mac Pro towers and a Mac Mini for our server, with direct-attached storage. After a while, we found ourselves working on really big 5K-plus projects, with lots of Red and OpenEXR source footage, and an ever-expanding team. Everybody was trying to access those files at the same time over a 1 Gigabit Ethernet network, and we realized that we needed a much more robust solution. As a motion design studio, our needs are very different than a traditional post house. Although we do projects of different sizes, some of them involve a lot of big, heavy 3D renders of high resolution content — as high as 27K — and some of the new ones are stereo- scopic 4K, so everything doubles in size. On projects like that, the processors really bottleneck, and it might take up to three hours to render a frame. We needed really powerful performance, but also a storage system sized for our business. And what- ever we came up with had to work with all the applications we were running — including After Effects, Premiere, DaVinci Resolve, Maya, Cinema 4D, Houdini and Tweak Software RV for playback. A SOLID STORAGE FOUNDATION For help in identifying a solution, I turned to Advanced Systems Group, LLC (ASG), a systems integrator specializing in media and entertainment I had worked with in the past. ASG recommended Quantum's StorNext Pro Foundation, a complete workflow storage solution that combines StorNext 5 software, redundant metadata controllers and high-performance storage in a simple-to-use, pre-configured system. The Quantum system gives us the abil- ity to work efficiently with huge volumes of Red 4K files, as well as 8K files and be- yond. We've designed projects here that are 28,000 pixels x 1080 that wrap 180 degrees around the keynote at Google's IO. We've created 24K animations that wrap 360 degrees around the Sony CES booth. These are gigantic files. The speed and power of the Quantum system sup- port realtime playback of massive files, even when checking our work on a 32-bit floating point open ERX sequence in which each frame may be 16 or 20 mega- bytes. We use RV for playback of visual effects shots, and those shots come right off the StorNext Pro Foundation system, load up and play back in realtime. Although StorNext runs on a Linux platform and we run a Mac shop, we sim- ply connect to the Quantum system as we would any other drive, and it works. When freelancers come in, there is nothing new to teach them. Working in After Effects and Premiere, DaVinci, Maya, Houdini or Cinema 4D, our creatives feel as if they are working on a Mac. In addition to enabling us to take on any project and virtually any high-res- olution file, StorNext has enabled us to perform client-supervised sessions, which is something that we just couldn't do before. If we're dropping frames while we're color correcting our own projects in Resolve, it doesn't really matter to us. With a client looking on, however, we need to meet higher expectations with files playing back in realtime — as if we're in a high-end post studio in LA. The Quantum solution makes this possible. NEW AVENUE FOR GROWTH The StorNext Pro Foundation system now sits at the heart of our operations, and is the backbone on which we're building Swordfish. Although it gives us more storage than we need now, the continual- ly-growing demand for higher-resolution content, and more of it, will require great- er storage resources. As that trend contin- ues, we can scale our StorNext system with confidence. Taking full advantage of fiber-attached storage, we'll maintain our capacity to push tremendous volumes of pixels through the pipe. Our team is incredibly skilled, with experience working on everything from user interfaces to the most complex visual effects at studios like ILM and Pixar. Our brains have the ability to tackle any type of project, and we just needed the right storage infrastructure. The Quantum system has opened up a whole new avenue for growth at our company and allows our little studio the capacity to compete with large post houses. QUANTUM'S STORNEXT PRO MAKES A SPLASH AT SWORDFISH A STORAGE SOLUTION THAT ENABLES A SMALL DESIGN STUDIO TO SWIM WITH THE BIG FISH BY MATT SILVERMAN FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR SWORDFISH SAN FRANCISCO WWW.SWORDFISH-SF.COM S Quantum's StorNext Pro Foundation helps Swordfish meet its current and future high-res demands.

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