Sweden’s Filmlance Turns to DDN for End-to-End Media Workflow Management

Data Direct Networks (DDN) announced that Filmlance, one of Sweden’s largest independent media production companies, is replacing its entire file system and storage infrastructure with DDN’s MEDIAScaler workflow management and end-to-end storage solution.

DDN-Storage-RedBG-SVG_jpg copyThe new solution, based on DDN’s MEDIAScaler offering, is designed to work with increasingly higher-resolution formats  – such as 4K, 8K, UHD, HDR, and IMF – as well as to accommodate rapidly rising camera counts and higher frame rates. Deploying DDN MEDIAScaler will enable Filmlance to meet the Big Data requirements of today’s films and TV series shot in ultra-high definition.

MEDIAScaler allows Filmlance to manage its end-to-end media workflows within a single platform, including ingest, editing, transcoding, distributing, collaboration, and archiving.  The system is designed to scale to 100s of petabytes, and meets Filmlance’s needs today and well into the future.

Henrik Cednert, Filmlance’s CTO, explains, “Creating a show has always generated huge amounts of files. The older shows were running around 10 terabytes. But these new shows, shot in ultra-high definition, generate about 40 terabytes of source material. Additionally, we know future files and workflows will be even larger so we had to prepare for that eventuality as well.”

Established in 1988, Filmlance has produced more than 100 high-end television and feature films. Its filmography includes major motion pictures, animated children’s films, TV films, TV series and short films. Many of its productions have received awards and have attracted a great deal of attention at film festivals around the world. Filmlance’s hit series, “The Bridge,” was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2013 and has been sold to more than 130 countries with successful remakes in France, the UK, Mexico and the US.

In March 2016, Filmlance launched its latest series, “Spring Tide.”  The first episode of the crime thriller had an even better debut than Filmlance’s hit series, “The Bridge,” which was first issued three years ago. These new hits provide Filmlance with an increased viewer base and enhanced revenues, but it also has put a serious strain on Filmlance’s IT operations.

Filmlance’s many projects – especially the new offerings shot in ultra-high definition – are generating massive workflow and storage requirements. DDN’s MEDIAScaler offering is proving to be invaluable in meeting the challenges associated with modern media workflows such as those confronting Filmlance.

“Our MEDIAScaler solution uses a parallel file system client for some of our users and NFS for others.  With MEDIAScaler we don’t have any permission issues,” Cednert says. “We can connect with any computer in our IT infrastructure using regular gigabit Ethernet. This is far more versatile than other solutions that require IT to buy licenses, fiber cards for the computers, and other add-ons. As a result, the DDN solution is much more cost effective.”

Scaling with Ease
The DDN implementation met all of the key requirements established by the Filmlance IT team – including the requirement that it scale with ease. Cednert explains that although streamlining post-production operations was a major goal, the ability to work efficiently with constantly growing file sizes was a key criteria. The system’s raw deployed capacity of one petabyte with growth patterns built in to accommodate 100s of petabytes provides the required scalability.

Cednert adds, “The beauty of this system is that we don’t have to do a lot of planning regarding increasing capacity in the future – we just buy another box and add it to the system as we need it. This makes for a much smoother process than we had before. Plus, the DDN solution is geared to meet the needs of Filmlance’s demanding post-production environment, now and in the foreseeable future.”

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