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January 2017

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Page 40 of 43 39 POST FIELD TESTED JANUARY 2017 IMN CREATIVE EMPLOYS SONNET FOR VERTICAL INTEGRATION RACKMAC PRO RACKMOUNT ENCLOSURES ENSURE SMOOTH WORKFLOW I MN Creative was founded more than a decade ago to deliver excellence in sound post produc- tion, and we made a name for ourselves on feature film projects such as Paranormal Activity and J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (mind meld sequence), as well as blockbuster TV shows like Community, and popular newcomer HarmonQuest. Looking to the future of preproduction, production and post production as a united front, our company has recently entered a new phase of picture and sound. In the past six years, we've gone through a tremendous growth spurt. We've migrated from a business model that I like to call, "taco trucking," in which we took mobile post production capabili- ties to the on-location production, to an actual brick and mortar facility that is a real showcase of vertical post production capabilities. We've moved away from a departmentalized operation to one that brings all functions together in a single sandbox; in other words, we have created a model in which all departments engage and influence one another. Today's IMN is not just a facility — it's a hub of award-winning talent, five-star quality and onward innovation with tech- nology at its core. Cutting-edge technol- ogy inspires our talent not only to assist in creating content, but also to bridge the gap between the storyteller and the finished product. We can handle camera, production sound, dailies, picture editori- al, original music, sound editorial, mixing, coloring, VFX and deliveries all under one roof. By centralizing these aspects of our operation, our team and clients benefit artistically, influencing and engaging each other in ways not possible when forced to travel between facilities to work on various tasks. Not only is this a more efficient way to collaborate, but it is also more convenient to working in one place throughout a project. In one example of how we integrated cutting-edge technology into our facility, we have deployed four Dolby Atmos stages, including what I believe was the first Atmos music studio ever built. With the ever-increasing adoption of VR and AR technologies in entertainment and communication, Atmos enables us to not only design and deliver immersive audio for movies, but also for 4D rides and video games to further enhance those experiences. When designing our facility, one of our requirements was that it supports the integration of any room into any room, instantly, allowing us to move equipment from room to room and con- tinue working without any fuss or muss. To accomplish this, we built a secure machine room housing computers, data storage and much of the processing gear. This equipment is connected to the suites over a 10 Gigabit Ethernet backbone with Dante and BlueNET networking support, and MADI. The suites are equipped with KVM switches, enabling access to various computers and their attached equipment from any room. These design choices ensured greater flexibility where various tasks can be performed. In designing our new machine room, we focused on creating a highly integrat- ed, yet secure, space in which computer systems and storage can interconnect within a 42-space rack. An important consideration was to accommodate our Apple Mac Pro computers. We have at least a dozen, and they deliver the compute power and stability we need for throughput-intensive audio and video work, and provide Avid Pro Tools support. The Mac mini is also a staple in our operation because it offers amaz- ingly good performance at a fraction of the cost of a Mac Pro. But, as any video or audio professional will tell you, neither machine's design is conducive to rack mounting or expandability. When researching practical ways to use Mac Pros and Mac minis effectively in our server racks and add the ex- pandability we needed, we came across Sonnet Technologies, a real innovator in rack-mounting and Thunderbolt-to-PCIe card expansion system solutions for Mac Pros and Mac minis alike. We are using Sonnet's RackMac Pro rackmount enclosures, which securely mount two Mac Pros in 4U of rack space, and their Echo Express III-R Thunderbolt 2-to-PCIe card expansion systems, each housing three Avid Pro Tools | HDX cards, that are connected to each Mac Pro. We are also using their xMac Pro Servers, which mount a Mac Pro and a three-slot PCIe card expansion system in a 4U enclosure, and xMac mini Servers, which house a Mac mini and two-slot expansion system. To connect the Macs to the 10GbE backbone, we have deployed their Twin 10G dual-port 10GbE Thunderbolt 2 adapters. Sonnet solved how to work around the proprietary-ness of other companies' products, integrate Macs into our workflow and make them all play together. BY MARK BINDER CEO IMN CREATIVE GLENDALE, CA IMNCREATIVE.COM

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