Post-Production, VFX

The 5th oldest film school in the world uses state-of-the-art technology

FAMU collaborates with ELEMENTS Media Library

Topic
Optimized collaboration across multiple applications
Project
Film and TV School & it's Studio FAMU of Academy of Performing Arts
Partner
AGORA plus
Location
Prague (CZ)
Challenge
Creating an extensive IP based collaboration platform including native connectivity to Avid Media Composer
System used
ELEMENTS GATEWAY + WORKER + Media Library

There are only four film schools in the world (Moscow, Berlin, Rome, and Paris) that are slightly older than Film and TV School (FAMU) of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. Ever since its formation back in 1947, numerous renown and award-winning directors and filmmakers have graduated at FAMU, including the world-famous Miloš Forman, Rajko Grlić, Srđan Karanović, Emir Kusturica, Goran Paskaljević and Lordan Zafranović. Two Academy Awards (Oscars) in the category “Best Foreign Film” are just one example of the multiple accolades these FAMU graduates have accomplished, contributing significantly to the world’s cinematographic landscape.

As part of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, FAMU is composed of eleven departments, where students can achieve their bachelors, masters and doctoral degree in every discipline of filmmaking: from directing, to documentary filmmaking, scriptwriting and dramaturgy, animated film, cinematography, sound design, editing, production, and photography, and the interdisciplinary Center of Audiovisual Studies.

With this comprehensive curriculum, FAMU has consistently been part of the list of the 15 best film schools in the world, published annually by The Hollywood Reporter.

Studio FAMU Reference projection

All-encompassing and future-ready

One of the facilities, Studio FAMU, is specialized in providing local and international students a highly professional and fully equipped workplace for training all practical exercises. Utilizing all available formats of moving pictures – from 16mm and 35mm film to high-definition video and HDTV, Studio FAMU is the ultimate training facility for in-studio production.

The set-up also embraces two high-end sound studios and a state-of-the-art post-production facility, including Avid Media Composer, Apple Final Cut, and Adobe Premiere Pro editing workstations with DaVinci Resolve, and Autodesk Maya. These well-equipped facilities allow Studio FAMU to also act as a co-production partner for numerous FAMU film projects, and in addition function as a camera and post-production rental facility.

Expanding their services even further, Studio FAMU also specializes – throughout it’s newly established CPA Laboratory (Center for Consulting & Analytical Services) – in film restoration of (not only) the Czech big-screen movies.

More services + more students = more content

With this large service portfolio, used by between 350 and 450 national and international students on a daily basis, Studio FAMU generates significant content across all its departments.

Ondřej Šejnoha, Director of Studio FAMU, has taken care of the facility’s IT environment for more than 10 years. He watched up close and first-hand how the increasing requirements for media storage slowly but surely outgrew the existing storage system.

“The old set-up lacked storage space and performance – and both MAM and user management were challenging.” Ondřej Šejnoha, Director of Studio FAMU
ELEMENTS at FAMU Ondrej Sejnoha Director Ondřej Šejnoha

The rising needs for media storage space were not the only issue with the existing solution. The overall management of both users and media assets were virtually nonexistent, posing a heavy burden and daily challenge on the professionals at Studio FAMU.

Highly sophisticated, hampered by an evolved infrastructure

Despite its age, Studio FAMU is without a doubt way ahead and up-to-date regarding applied technologies and course contents, however the outdated media storage lagged behind.

The existing set-up had evolved over time and had become everything but a “central storage solution.” Composed of various storage pools from different departments, the camera department utilized Apple Xsan storage, while the color grading suites worked with direct attached storage (DAS) from Nexsan. The Avid workstations used externally connected hard disk drives.

“We needed a modern solution that’s versatile, flexibly expandable, and future proof.” Martin Hřebačka, Data & Workflow Manager, FAMU
ELEMENTS at FAMU Equipment Room

Time to invest

Looking ahead, Martin Hřebačka, Data & Workflow Manager at Studio FAMU, determined that it was time for a new media storage solution that would allow Studio FAMU to manage the entire production and post-production process from ingest to archive.

“Was there even a solution that could provide everything we want? Yes, there is!” Jiří Novák, Sales Executive, AGORA plus

It goes without saying that the experts at Studio FAMU were looking for a system that would allow them to connect all workstations to one high-performance central storage. With 10 Avid editing suites, a seamless Avid integration was also crucial.

Martin Hřebačka contacted his preferred vendor for high-end media solutions, AGORA plus. The company with more than 20 years of experience in integration of data storage and security solutions conducted a thorough assessment of the requirements – and recommended ELEMENTS as the one solution that would cover all their requirements.

ELEMENTS at FAMU Screen

An extensive solution

Jiří Novák realized quickly that ELEMENTS was just what Studio FAMU needed. An ELEMENTS GATEWAY solution on top of their newly installed storage area network, based on Quantum Xcellis would enable them to connect all workstations across all fabrics and applications, selectively via Ethernet or via Fibre Channel.

“ELEMENTS was the perfect fit – for now and for the future!” Josef Veškrna, Chairman of the Board, AGORA plus

The ELEMENTS GATEWAY provided Media Composer Ethernet connectivity natively at the file system level meaning that all operations including “bin locking” for shared project access operated as expected. No additional editor training or change in edit operation was required to utilize the storage. Applications like DaVinci Resolve were able to continue to use 16 GB Fibre Channel for block level high performance access.

The embedded user management over Ethernet, integrated in every ELEMENTS system, lets Studio FAMU easily and quickly add new students to the user pool. With the Media Library option, a professional media asset management (MAM) solution is included.

Studio FAMU Dolby Atmos mix hall

ELEMENTS provides more

Studio FAMU was happy that ELEMENTS offered the option to activate a platform-agnostic media asset management solution, ELEMENTS Media Library. Directly integrated with the storage, the Media Library makes it not only super-easy to manage and organize media files professionally across all platforms – but by being accessible through ELEMENTS’ unique browser interface, all media assets are available remotely, allowing authorized students at the film school secure remote access to preview and (pre-)select shots at any time from anywhere.

The Media Library comes with a facility Studio FAMU really appreciated: Accessible through the same HTML5-based GUI, students can utilize the powerful Rough-Cut Editor, a well-designed editing application, providing time-code based Rough-Cuts, straight from the desktop.

ELEMENTS at FAMU Camera Behind The Scene
“The Rough-Cut editor in the Media Library opens entirely new opportunities for our students.” Ondřej Šejnoha, Director of Studio FAMU

No additional editor is required to create edit and review the Rough-Cuts – just the browser, saving on licensing costs and resources. The Rough-Cut can be rendered out from the browser ready for further edit and import into the FAMU editing applications.

In addition, for Adobe users, an ELEMENTS Premiere Pro plug-in links seamlessly with the Media Library, importing the previously created Rough-Cut sequence directly with a click and providing edit of the raw assets within Premiere Pro.

Ultimate collaboration and supervision – at home and in the field

In addition to providing a professional MAM solution with Rough-Cut Editor, ELEMENTS’ Media Library also functions a full-blown communication portal, allowing students and professors to collaborate closely in real-time.

In short, this means authorized users, both students, and professors, can leave unlimited comments and notes for any frame or clip – frame-accurately and directly related to the stored asset. Getting instructions and wishes across based on the actual image without the need for complicated explanations or potentially inaccurate timecode references has never been easier.
The Media Library also allows for on-screen drawings, using any standard trackpad, mouse or tablet providing very powerful but simple to use collaboration.

ELEMENTS Media Library Collaborative Workflow
“With ELEMENTS Media Library our professors and students can communicate remotely – and in real-time.” Ondřej Šejnoha, Director of Studio FAMU

Now, the professors at Studio FAMU can monitor and supervise their students, and provide valuable input and feedback, even when they’re in the field.

ELEMENTS at FAMU Server Rack GATEWAY WORKER
“One central high-performance storage, even including Avid. An embedded MAM. Easily integrated with our in-house LDAP server. What more can you possibly wish for?!?” Jiří Novák, Sales Executive, AGORA plus

Simplicity – nearly no training required

After an easy and fast install, performed by the professionals from AGORA plus, the ELEMENTS system was ready to go.

Studio FAMU was delighted to see that simplicity – one of the reasons why they had decided to employ ELEMENTS in the first place, also applied to both the Media Library and the Rough-Cut Editor.

Hence, without any training or elaborate familiarization, the students (and professors) at Studio FAMU were able to leverage all of the useful features and collaboration within the Media Library.

Welcome Studio FAMU to the ELEMENTS family!

Success Story Print-PDF, 500 KB
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