The Media Services Unit at the University of Florida's (UF) College of Journalism and Communications produces a plethora of digital content for PR and marketing purposes, as well as for UF's seven multimedia properties.
From the creation of cutting-edge marketing videos to 30 second TVCs for broadcast and interstitials for UF channels, the department turns to a dedicated staff of experts, talented students and a post production workflow supported by Facilis TerraBlock shared storage to complete each project.
Reed Erickson, UF Director of Media Services, spearheaded the department’s transition to TerraBlock at the end of 2013 in hopes of simplifying project management. “I was tired of playing musical chairs with local storage, and wanted a centralized solution that would give us easy read/write access to every file,” he explained. “TerraBlock has given us all of that and more; our media now lives in one central place, and anyone with permission can access it from any machine, which has accelerated our workflow incredibly.”
Upon installation, Erickson established a set of rules to facilitate the organization, flow and security of assets across TerraBlock, allowing system managers to set up specific user log-ins, tailor volume sizes and adapt read/write permissions as projects demand. “The fact that we can secure files and make them available as needed is crucial, especially in an environment with students; it’s minimized the risk of accidental file deletions,” shared Erickson. “We’ve also been able to create specific volumes for campus b-roll organized by year and building, so if someone needs footage of campus, we can pull up the volume and grab whatever they need instantly.”
Forming the epicenter of the department’s workflow, the 48TB TerraBlock 24D is connected via 1Gb copper to 11 Mac Mini editing, graphics and master control workstations, as well as a Windows suite, running Adobe Creative Cloud and Apple Final Cut Pro X. Once projects are complete, files are zipped together and sent to clients. For an added level of security, Erickson also ensures that clean versions of all projects are saved to a separate volume on TerraBlock. “If a playout machine goes down, we’re covered with TerraBlock. We can quickly pull a completed master off a control room Mac via TerraBlock and play it on air,” Erickson explained. “We haven’t had to do it yet, but it’s a huge relief to know that we can keep the show on-air if something like that happens.”
TerraBlock’s user-friendly interface, coupled with the system’s advanced speed, capacity and performance, have been integral in improving the team’s operations. “TerraBlock is so transparent; it does what it needs to without interference – no clunky interface or unwanted painful steps; it just works,” Erickson added. “I can quickly pull up monster Pro Res video files and play them simultaneously without a glitch; it’s a very reliable system.”
In the coming years, Erickson expects that the group’s project load will continue to grow, and as it does, he plans to continue expanding the TerraBlock’s reach. “We’re a growing unit on a fiscally conscious campus, so one of the great things about TerraBlock is that it’s an affordable solution that fits our existing pipeline needs, but will still serve us well in the future as we adapt our workflow to keep pace with new demands,” he concluded.