The Rebel Fleet Adopts Quantum Storage for Post-Production in Challenging Remote Film Environments
July 2019 by Marc Jacob
Quantum Corp. announced that The Rebel Fleet has deployed a Quantum StorNext storage solution to meet the rigorous digital workflow service demands of a large-scale film project. The Quantum Xcellis and QXS storage solution enabled The Rebel Fleet to support real-time processes involving high-resolution content in the field while maintaining a small footprint. It also was configured to be used in a mobile rig, rendering 150 frames of footage per second in three different formats and supporting real-time color grading.
Storage Performance and Mobility for a Major Film Project
Based in New Zealand, The Rebel Fleet provides a wide range of digital workflow services for television and film production crews, including on-location color correction and quality control, archiving, content delivery, and more. When a major Hollywood studio was preparing for principle photography for a live action film project set in New Zealand and China, The Rebel Fleet proposed a full range of digital workflow services, including conducting initial color grading and quality control, archiving content to digital tape, creating mezzanine and proxy formats for post-production, and uploading clips to the web for immediate review by the director and other stakeholders. The solution had to be mobile, and therefore dense from the perspective of both performance and capacity.
“In the past, we had used direct-attached storage as part of our rigs,” says Michael Urban, founder and managing director at The Rebel Fleet. “But to manage the digital workflows for this new film, and to support onset processing of high-resolution media, we needed higher-performance shared storage.”
Factorial Recommends Quantum StorNext
To evaluate various technologies, The Rebel Fleet turned to Factorial, a Quantum partner with expertise in designing digital workflow solutions for broadcast and post-production studios.
“When The Rebel Fleet team started to look at the next performance level up for their unique needs, we suggested they take a look at Quantum storage,” said Tim Benson, director and technology evangelist at Factorial. “Instead of focusing on capacity or bandwidth, we talked about workflow. And that discussion centered on the benefits of the Quantum StorNext platform.”
The Rebel Fleet chose Quantum Xcellis workflow storage with Quantum QXS hybrid storage systems for online and nearline storage.
High Performance Enables Real-Time Color Grading and Fast Rendering High-performance storage based on the StorNext file accelerated color grading. This ultimately made the entire production process run much more efficiently. “Our colorist has been working on large-scale projects for years, and he had never experienced the performance he achieved with this environment,” says Urban.
High-performance storage also enabled fast rendering. “With the Quantum solution, we were able to crank out 150 frames of footage per second in three different formats while also supporting real-time color grading,” says Urban. “Overall, this online environment delivered 6 GB per second of throughput. It was very impressive, and it helped us meet tight turnaround times.”
Seamless Scalability and Vast Capacity for a Mobile Environment The StorNext platform enabled the Factorial team to scale the ingest volume, doubling its size from 200 to 400 TB, without interrupting the shooting schedule. When the production team started shooting more than they had planned, Factorial was able to add storage without disturbing previously ingested data still residing in the environment.
Reliability for Today, Flexible for Tomorrow
System reliability is particularly important on a remote location where support personnel are miles away, and the Quantum system exceeded The Rebel Fleet’s reliability expectations. The positive experience with Quantum storage on the major studio film led The Rebel Fleet to acquire additional Quantum systems. The company deployed another Xcellis system for television and commercial workflows, and it has standardized on StorNext and Xcellis for all high-performance needs going forward.
“StorNext has changed the way we work,” says Urban. “It provides the performance we need plus the flexibility to support a wide variety of creative tools and processes. With StorNext, we are completely unconstrained.”