Founded in 1998, Pirates ‘n Paradise GmbH has fast become one of the most renowned and innovative post-production houses in Germany. With offices in Düsseldorf and Berlin, their in-house team now includes over fifty highly qualified and technically skilled members, each working in close collaboration with their clients and partners to achieve truly spectacular results.
Covering a wide variety of post-production services, Pirates ‘n Paradise work extensively on large advertising campaigns for film productions, agencies, network agencies and industrial clients, both national and international, as well as TV advertising, event films and multinational campaigns. In addition to this, Pirates Production produce documentary films for ARTE, MDR and other TV channels.
Dealing with ever changing media formats and new approaches to advertising is part of the day-to-day routine at Pirates ‘n Paradise, as the team utilises every facet of modern, digital post-production, from editing and compositing to digital lab, motion graphics and complicated 3D projects, as well as stereoscopy, archiving, data-wrangling and DIT.
The amount of data is constantly increasing. If the camera can do 8K, then that’s what is used.Gabor Hacsi, CEO, Pirates ‘n Paradise
Passionate about both creativity and quality, „the Pirates“ focus heavily on developing exceptional and more efficient ways to provide their clients with the best possible service in the increasingly complex and competitive world of digital post-production workflows. The applications readily employed at their offices include Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Flame, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve and Nuke.
The challenge: capacity, flexibility and security
Around 45 people work at the Dusseldorf Headquarters, where beauty commercials make up a large portion of the work. The biggest customer being the HENKEL-Group, who’s umbrella brand Schwarzkopf, is distributed throughout 125 countries worldwide.
CEO Gabor Hasci, who joined the company in 2004, describes the challenge as follows, “since the switch from Pal to HD, we tried to treat all the raw material as such, to always allow for any possibility during every processes of post-production. The consequence is that even if the raw data is only backed up, the system must ensure that access to this data is immediately available at the moment it is required.” The Pirates utilised a classic SAN with a gateway that was connected at 10gbit to the normal production network. The system offered a capacity of 180TB but no real permission management, no project- or workspace-based allocation.
“Looking into the future, the important factors of any new solution were going to be capacity, flexibility, and most importantly, security. It was essential we could easily manage who has the permission to edit data, who can only watch and/or comment. We also had to look at the future expansion of any new system. Above all, the goal was to design a system that could help us to optimise our daily work.”
Currently the company’s daily work involves the management of hundreds of projects and targeted access to each respective project, by internal employees as well as a large number of freelancers. It has also been vital for the company to link projects together where required.
In 2017, Pirates ’n Paradise employed the services of an ELEMENTS ONE 60 bay, for their Berlin office. With its unique set of features and functionalities, this system met every requirement of the team in Berlin, but there were still some reservations about bringing ELEMENTS systems into the Düsseldorf headquarters. This was simply due to the fact that their requirements were different to those of post-production houses working on a project basis. Head of Technical Service, Christian Homburg explains, “we were afraid to limit ourselves too much, therefore we took a close look at the offers of many suppliers.”
This changed when the Pirates were able to see that ELEMENTS is one of the easiest and most manageable systems to get to grips with, but as Gabor Hacsi explains, “it required a long and intensive exchange, both internally and externally, to work out exactly what our requirements were”.
A system might be powerful and flexible, but its success can only be measured once the wider team begin to work with it.
ELEMENTS worked extremely hard supporting us to find the best solution.Gabor Hacsi, CEO, Pirates ‘n Paradise
Gabor Hacsi continues “Thanks to the intensive discussions we had with the development team at ELEMENTS, it was possible to design the system so that all the security needs of our customers were guaranteed. Now there is transparency for every client who is connected to their project. They are able to see who is working on it and who is allowed to view it. It’s vital for us that we have full internal control over what our freelancers are authorised to see, access and edit.
The files on the ELEMENTS system are stored in workspaces, which are grouped in productions. This structure helps to organise content and increase efficiency in relation to permission management and archiving. The Pirates decided to use up to four workspaces for each production, to structure the project and also the access permissions. These four workspaces are project, proxies, rushes and grading, so that you can optionally archive, assign and edit.
It is definitely a huge advantage that only a certain number of projects can be seen. You have access to every file you need, without having to fumble through the entire system.Florian Jansen, Senior Compositing Artist, Pirates ‘n Paradise
A secure powerhouse exclusively using the networks ethernet connection
Currently the Pirates have about 1000 productions, equal to 1000 different projects, which means a lot of workspaces. To be able to handle this smoothly, it is very important for the people working in the team, that all the right permissions are given with just a few clicks. With ELEMENTS, you can add single users or whole groups to the workspace’s access permission list. If required, productions can have a default access group enabled, which will automatically be applied to every new workspace. A single mouse click can change access permissions to read-only.
Using the network connection is the only way to build the security structure that the Pirates needed and wanted. The centre of the new solution includes two ELEMENTS BOLT’s, which is a ground-breaking storage solution that is much more powerful than regular systems, while still being easy-to-use. Supported by two ELEMENTS JBODs, the infrastructure of Pirates ’n Paradise expanded to an environment of nearly one Petabyte, a real powerhouse. Based on that, two ELEMENTS Worker Nodes manage all workspaces for the connected clients. The systems are connected via the 25/50/100 Gigabit network – all the clients have 25gig cards.
An installation team from ELEMENTS arrived, and within no time at all the systems were in the racks.Nils Voss, Technical Support, Pirates ‘n Paradise
„Certainly, there are times when you think the system is too slow, but to be fair, we are constantly processing an enormous amount of data”, says Gabor Hacsi smiling, „but the system is stable and whenever you have a problem, the ELEMENTS team will take care of it immediately. To have this level of service is very special. And to go back to the aspect of the systems expandability, with ELEMENTS this basically means connecting a new storage node, linking it and that’s it“.
Working with the new system
Finally, here are a few words from various team members who have been working with the new system.
Paolo Samadello, Compositing Artist, „we have been worried about no longer having access to everything, because in the past, we had to look for missing documents by searching through a lot of folders. Interestingly though, that no longer happens. The new structure has meant that preparation is now more conscientious. There are no more „wrong“ links because projects have simply been copied.“
Senior Editor Sabine Schaefer and Editor Timea Zentai report that everything runs very stable, is clearly arranged, mounting happens fast and even dual editing on the same project at the same time works perfect.
And Gabor Hacsi summarises, „thanks to the new system, several projects can be easily created every day in the dispatch department. After the installation, the majority of staff were very happy at how smoothly everything went. Those things that had been annoying or not so comfortable before, disappeared, and everything happened very efficiently. It really is quite impressive“.
You have to adapt constantly, and so far, there is no reason to complain. The decision to work with ELEMENTS has been very worthwhile.Gabor Hacsi, CEO, Pirates ‘n Paradise