- Insight

Mach2Media Chooses ELEMENTS ONE for Global Production of GT Academy Series

ELEMENTS ONE simplifies collaboration between international team of editors in 24 countries

ELEMENTS, developer of advanced solutions for unrestricted collaboration in shared media workflows, has announced that Mach2Media, a full-service production house located in Germany and the UK and specializing in sports programming, has deployed its recently purchased ELEMENTS ONE all-in-one server and shared storage appliance for production and post-production of 68 episodes of GT Academy, broadcast in 24 countries worldwide. GT Academy, an initiative by Nissan and Sony PlayStation, is the immensely popular international virtual-to-reality contest that follows the world’s best Gran Turismo video players as they compete for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a real-life professional race car driver. The television show documents the intense competition and training for the final candidates. Mach2Media chose ELEMENTS for its unique embedded Media Library, a comprehensive web-based workflow management feature, to enhance and simply the extensive global workflow.

Headed by Simon Südel and Daniel Thomé, two seasoned veterans in sports journalism, Mach2Media served as the production company for the German edition of the GT Academy series for the past three years, establishing an unmatched benchmark for high-quality.  In order to adopt and apply the same standard of programming to all other participating countries, Mach2Media was selected as the worldwide production company for the 2015/2016 season to be aired on RTL, Europe’s largest TV network as well as networks around the world.

Mach2Media chose the 24bay edition of ELEMENTS ONE as their centralized high-performance server and storage solution for the entire video content, captured with over 50 cameras around the globe, including RED Digital cameras, Sony F5, Canon DSLR, video drones and GoPro’s Hero4. The all-in-one solution provides up to 360TB of shared storage in only 4 rack units and enables customers to work in a heterogeneous SAN or NAS environment to share media files natively across all platforms and non-linear editing and VFX applications. Maintenance is reduced, and complicated workarounds and time-consuming transcoding or copy tasks are eliminated. Located in the Mach2Media production headquarters in Cologne, Germany, ELEMENTS ONE provides the international team of editors, based in 24 countries, with 24/7 remote access to all media assets. The highest level of data security is maintained with automated back-up routines, both online and on tape, and with the embedded token-based security system for added access control.

“The biggest challenges in a decentralized workflow setup over such great distances are quality control, data security and efficient communication,” says Simon Südel, Co-Owner and Executive Producer, Mach2Media. “ELEMENTS is the only vendor who was able to supply us with fast and highly secure storage plus a sophisticated, yet easy, user management. But, above all, the great set of features in ELEMENTS Media Library simplifies and improves communication, making ELEMENTS ONE the perfect solution, without any third party components.” 

ELEMENTS Media Library is a comprehensive web-based workflow management feature set that provides a fully intuitive graphical user interface for professionally managing, presenting and sharing media assets. Eliminating the necessity to perform any time consuming transcoding or copy tasks first, the embedded Rough Cut Editor allows for editing original film material remotely via the HTML 5 platform.

“For us, the greatest benefits of the ELEMENTS solution arise from its Media Library,” Südel continued. “The unique features enable us to manage and supervise each episode abroad as if we produced it right here on site.“

Globe-spanning Workflow

To guarantee the same high standard of quality in the all countries, Mach2Media created three master templates for on-site editors to load their local content. The entire process is facilitated within the fully-featured Media Library Rough Cut Editor. Once the local content was loaded, Südel and his team of production supervisors in Cologne previewed the episode and left comments within the same file in the Rough Cut Editor.

„Leaving comments and change requests with an accurate time-code reference would already be quite helpful; however, the Media Library provides a lot more than that,“ says Südel. “Especially the option to draw directly on the image, commenting specifically on the outlined part of the image, simplifies the communication process, and reduces the rate of inquiry calls significantly!”

All Proxy files, automatically created within ELEMENTS ONE, are linked to the original source material, making it extremely easy to implement requested changes fast and effortlessly. With ELEMENTS Media Library being fully compatible with virtually every professional editing application available today, such as Avid, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro and others, operators on site can even execute the changes directly in any editing application. The Media Library also fully supports Avid bin-locking and project sharing.

“Since the Media Library is fully intuitive and so easy to use, editors working on the GT Academy project were able to jump right in without any training,” adds Südel. “All the feedback from the team of international editors was positive, and everybody was thrilled to work fast and in such an uncomplicated and easy fashion.”

In addition, Mach2Media leverages the workflow automation option of ELEMENTS ONE, including automatic email notifications to an unlimited number of recipients and triggers to automatically initiate customized actions, such as moving files automatically to certain folders.

Easily expandable – anytime and not data-destructive

As is oftentimes the case, Mach2Media realized eventually that the originally deployed storage space of 43TB was not sufficient to execute the entire project.

“Fortunately we are able to expand ELEMENTS ONE during operation without the need to shut down the system, let alone conducting any data destructive tasks,” says André Kamps, CEO of ELEMENTS. “We doubled the media storage space by simply adding a JBOD expansion – on the fly and without any downtime.”

Within hours Mach2Media had 96TB raw (or 86TB net) media storage space available, instead of 48TB raw initially purchased.

“For us this was almost a life-saver,” adds Südel. “Not only were we able to continue to work without any interruptions but we were amazed that we could double our storage space without spending twice as much!”

Data Protection – Fort Knox style

An automated 3-stage back-up routine, including ELEMENTS ARCHIVE with LTFS support to back-up the data on redundant LTO tapes on a regular basis and additional back-ups an external NAS, guarantees data security. But ELEMENTS ONE provides additional layers of data and access security: embedded in

the comprehensive user management, the system provides the option to create unique token-based access keys that only the dedicated team member can use, making it virtually impossible for any unauthorized people to access the files.

Cost-savings Benefits

Südel points out that working remotely enables Mach2Media to realize remarkable cost savings by eliminating travel expenses and reducing the production budget significantly with an accelerated implementation and approval process. “While in the past it was necessary for us to bring the editors together in one room in order to ensure proper and efficient communication, ELEMENTS enables us to have everyone work remotely, while we are still collaborating very closely – almost as if we were in the same room!”

“This kind of workflow setup, with people working simultaneously but remotely on the same project will become more and more common in the future,” believes André Kamps, CEO of ELEMENTS. “Utilizing today’s technologies to simplify and accelerate certain processes is critical, and we are proud to offer a solution that provides intelligent features that actively support the workflow and increase the manageability of every project, while helping our clients to save time and money.”

About Mach2Media

Mach2Media, award-winning production company, is specialized in developing and realizing high-end concepts and designs for sophisticated and renowned sports events and shows. For moving picture projects such as documentaries, image films, commercials and all other video based content, Mach2Media provides the entire range of production services, starting with creating the storyboard, to filming, to executing the post production. For live events and installations on the international stage, Mach2Media invents cutting-edge concepts, utilizing the most innovative technologies such as holographic 3D and interactive projection. A large number of international clients in the field of sports, such as soccer, boxing, and motorsports like Formula 1, rely on the vast experience and expertise of Mach2Media to create conceptual designs that tell the story in the most exciting, innovative, and memorable manner.

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