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September 2012

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HEARD CITY Evan Mangiamele is a mixer at NYC's Heard City (http://heardcity. com), which opened its doors in April. They offer audio post services for the advertising community, and though the company itself may be new to the block, its staff is well acquainted with audio post for adver- tising, with past commercial experience including audio for the NFL, ESPN, Comcast and Dell, as well as other spots. Currently, Heard City has five audio suites running Avid Pro Tools, with a sixth audio room still being completed. All the rooms are networked via Ethernet to a central Linux server, but Heard City is in the process of installing a fiber optic switch that will significantly speed up transfers. All session work is done to local drives. Each individual workstation has three 2TB internal SATA drives, which is more than enough space to work on. "We mainly work on TV spots, so our Pro Tools sessions don't get too big," says Mangiamele. "On average, we may go back to a session between three and five times. Sometimes, on bigger projects, there can be between 15 to 20 sessions." When a session is finished for the day, the engineer will copy that session to a central 16TB Linux server, so all rooms have access to it. For redundancy, Heard City is also installing an additional 16TB drive to be a nightly clone of their main server. "A lot of times we do ses- sions really quick and maybe one engineer will move onto another session but a client will need a quick revision. We always try to keep our stuff on the server as up-to-date as possible, so if someone else does the revision they know they're working with the latest version of the project." Since Heard City moves sessions between five rooms, they use a data management tool, ChronoSync, created by Econ Technologies, to help them keep the session folders up to date without unnecessary file redundancy. "Often, we are bringing a version of a project back to a local drive that already has an older copy on there," explains Man- giamele. "We use ChronoSync so we are not pushing all that redun- dant data back to the drive; we are only taking the changes that were made back into the folder." When a project is no longer active, it gets archived for long-term Ultra-Sound offers two Pro Tools audio suites that are networked to a larger video post facility. The audio and video rooms share proj- ects on a 65TB BlueArc Mercury NAS (Networked Attached Serv- er). The NAS is broken down into segments for daily shared projects, and it also serves as the location for long-term audio archiving. "We no longer use our old AIT drive and tapes in favor of a large NAS," says DiCesare. Projects are worked on locally, and saved to a designated internal audio drive on the Mac. At the end of each session, a set of splits are bounced out. Those are stored on the local drive and are also copied into the project folder on the NAS. "That way, if the worst-case sce- nario of losing a Pro Tools session ever happened, I could recreate the session with the splits just like how a video editor would work, or how a client might supply me with an out-of-house session. This is not ideal, but it certainly works as a last resort kind of thing. Thankfully, I have only needed to do this one time." When a session is considered finished, it is copied to the archive folder on the NAS. The archive folder is broken down by year, and then by month. DiCesare makes it a point to classify the folder as an archive folder, and not a back-up folder. "I do not consider it a back-up because that would imply that the original is still on my local audio drive. That's not true for projects that are over a month or two old at our studio. Long-term storage on the NAS means this is the one and only version of the job after it has been completed." Once DiCesare archives data to the NAS, it is then in the hands of director of engineering services, Maciej Maciak, who has a dual system for backing up the NAS. The BlueArc Mercury has a feature called "snapshots" that creates versions of the file system, similar to the Time Machine feature on Macs. Maciak also uses a large Adic Scalar Tape Library with 3 LTO-5 drives, which can store approxi- mately 200-400TB of data in its immediate enclosure. Since all of their old sessions are immediately accessible on the NAS, DiCesare had no trouble going back to a session from 2008 while in the middle of a new session for a Beggin' Strips commercial. "We did a new version of a spot called Around The World, where Alex storage. For archiving, Heard City uses external drives, as well as LTO tapes to ship off-site. "For us, we like tape because of the longevity of the format. It has a longer history than hard drives or any of the optical media," says Mangiamele. Remote back-up services are relatively new, and while they offer off-site data storage, the pricing, speed and reliability still seem ques- tionable. "It would be great, once the Internet speeds get faster, and the networks get faster, to see online back-ups get better. Then we could rely on those as an off-site option. Right now, it just doesn't make sense cost-wise to push that much data to a cloud service. It would be good to see those bandwidth costs come down, or something to change with that, to make that a better option." ULTRA-SOUND Ron DiCesare is the senior audio engineer at Ultra-Sound, a division of The Napoleon Group, in New York City. Ultra-Sound (www.napny. com) mainly provides audio post services for advertising clients, and is currently working on Tidy Cats' "No More PU" television campaign. Heard City specializes in spots, such as (L-R) Reading is Fundamental's Book People Unite and Anthem promoting Monday Night Football. Bloom, the creative director of AFG, was the voice of the dog. He had a brilliantly funny line when the dog says, 'I'd get it myself but I don't have thumbs.' The client wanted to hear that line in the new spot, so I recalled the session from 2008, pulled the line, and edited it into the new spot. It fit perfectly. That just goes to show you never know if a spot is going to seep into the lexicon like Beggin' Strips has." Now that DiCesare has moved away from tape-based storage, he is optimistic about using one centralized server for all of the facility's storage needs. "According to Avid, Pro Tools 10 can run off of a net- worked RAID drive. I don't know anyone personally who is doing this, but if it is possible that means we can record all of our material to the NAS rather than local audio drives. That is a quantum leap forward for Pro Tools. A multi-room facility like us would be able to run all the rooms off of one singular drive for all the media and content. Currently, we are forced to duplicate all media, via drag and drop, anytime a ses- Post • September 2012 39

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