The University of Sydney (Sydney Uni) is an Australian public research and teaching university. Founded in 1850, it was Australia’s first university and is regarded as one of the world’s leading universities. The university comprises nine faculties and university schools, through which it offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. Recently the uni’s Learning Media Team had to meet an ever-increasing requirement to produce high quality video content in 4K and for their solution they turned to Digistor.
Sydney Uni’s Lead Research & Learning – Media Production Educational Innovation and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education) Portfolio, Tom Cavdarovski, explained, “Our team of five produce educational videos for both international and on-campus students and the Learning Media Team has grown rapidly over the last three years in order to meet the growing demand for quality video content in 4K. Our legacy direct attach storage (DAS) system was not designed to work in a multi project environment, so we turned to Digistor to help us find a central media solution which would streamline our production workflow and integrate with existing University systems.”
Cavdarovski and the Learning Media Team worked with Digistor to find, design and install a solution that was cost effective and reliable.
He continued, “Based on Digistor’s expertise and recommendation we chose the Editshare XStream EFS 300 Node 96TB system. This included 82TB of usable storage, a 10GB Ethernet RJ45 switch and 10 Licenses of Flow. The Editshare XStream was an ideal solution as we were after a relatively small and simple set up with minimum administrative overhead. It also easily integrated with our existing IT systems ensuring the new server was secure and robust. We have both a Mac and Windows environment and connect our seven client machines via a Thunderbolt converter and cate6A cables, so the new Editshare XStream system had to be able to work seamlessly within this environment, which it did.”
The Learning Media team’s projects can have anywhere from one to sixty videos being produced at any one time and all must be able to be edited by any one of the team at any time.
Cavdarovski added, “The team now work primarily in Creative Cloud and use common templates and branding assets for all projects. This was not possible to do with our previous set-up. By having a centralised media asset management (MAM) workflow we now streamline our processes on a daily basis. When we first did a needs analysis to ramp up our production output, it was obvious we were losing valuable time trying to manage files across incompatible systems and protocols. The new Editshare XStream solution supplied by Digistor saves us that time by being efficient and effective.”
When working on videos the team’s main input consists of 4K video and podcast audio files. They shoot with Blackmagic URSA and Studio cameras, Sony FS7, Panasonic GH4 and 5 DSLR, OSMO and Mavic drone cameras. Their delivery output is 1080p and includes web-based channels including YouTube, Coursera and Arc video platforms.
With such a wide range of acquisition tools and outputs it was vital that The Learning Team worked on their new solution with a technology partner who understood their, sometimes complex, production environment and who they could trust.
Cavdarovski explained, “I spoke to Digistor staff at trade shows and had known one of their sales team, Olivier Jean, for some time. I also attended a few technology and production talks held at Digistor. In other words we knew that Digistor was experienced and the right partner for Sydney Uni. They recommended Editshare as the solution that would best suit our needs and I knew the product was well regarded in the industry. All-in-all it was a perfect match.”
Cavdarovski had also gathered positive feedback from other Sydney Uni colleagues about Editshare products and the Digistor team who support them.
He added, “Editshare represented a robust system that didn’t need a full-time onsite technician to run the server – this was important to us as we needed a solution that was relatively low cost. The XStream model also had the speed and throughput to ensure the editors could scrub through 4K files without any significant lag or compromise in quality. As a result we can now easily adjust to proxies if we need to, but generally we can use it at 4K preview quality for the early phases of editing.”
According to Cavdarovski the Editshare solution supplied by Digistor not only satisfied current requirements but has very much added value to the uni as he explained, “Our Editshare media server now does everything we ask of it and it has also increased our output significantly. We are delivering our large video projects on time and we no longer have production bottlenecks. This gives us a cost saving that enables the team to invest more time in creating higher quality videos that better meet our customer needs.”
It’s clear that Tom Cavdarovski and the Learning Media Team are very pleased with the Editshare solution recommended and installed by Digistor – a fact he highlighted by concluding, “The installation team at Digistor were very supportive and professional. They provided clear guidelines and technical support to the networks team and I must say the entire project has been a great success all-round for Sydney Uni. We are delighted with the outcome.”
“Digistor has now deployed multiple EditShare-based media production solutions into Australian Universities,” explained Digistor’s Olivier Jean. “Flexible, collaborative media production environments are critical for these institutions and it’s great that this is what Digistor has been able to cost-effectively provide.”