MTI Film has opened its high-speed, high-capacity data center in Hollywood in order to support television editing teams working remotely.
The MTI Remote Center allows editors to havededicated connections to remote workstations and a shared storage environment that allows them to edit and conduct routine editorial operations as they would while sharing editing facilities. Currently, the site is used by five productions with 54 editors and assistants with that number increasing to 90 over the next two months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it far too obvious why such a data center is needed, because many editors have not been able to return to the usual editing suites or office space where they normally work. Even though editors have been looking for ways to work remotely and automate routine tasks, the pandemic just exacerbated the need for practical solutions.
MTI Film CEO Larry Chernoff explained that this was one of the reasons why the MTI Remote Center was needed to help with television post-production. “When the pandemic arose in March, the post-production industry responded by sheltering at home and working remotely through a variety of internet-based streaming technologies, some good, some not-so-good. It became clear to us that we are not going back to the former model anytime soon and more innovation was required. Thinking past the current crisis, we concluded that a hybrid between remote and on-premises work will be the ‘new normal’ and that a comprehensive eco-system for picture post-production was needed.”
From the press release about the center: “The MTI Remote Center employs a unique combination of networking, Avid workstations, storage, workflow management, transcoding and collaborative technology to enable editors and their assistants to work from anywhere while collaborating with each other and their producers. It features an Avid Nexis shared-storage environment with 112TB dedicated to each individual production, enough to maintain multiple seasons online.”
Home-based editors with thin client computing devices can connect to the Remote Center via redundant fiber paths (with automatic failover). Other redundancies are built-in to guard against drive or power failures and avoid downtime. Daily backup of media and metadata happens automatically and is stored on a separate MTI SAN, while the center uses industry standard security measures against data loss and malicious intrusion.
“Editors can work from home studios or any other remote site,” Chernoff added. “We provide the bandwidth to make the experience seamless. As long as they have an MTI supplied station attached to our remote center with a minimum of bandwidth on their end, editors have the same experience as they would while connected to a system located in the next room.”
MTI Film’s Cortex software is integrated throughout the workflow to facilitate several operational efficiencies, including the ability to render media in multiple formats simultaneously, saving assistant editors hours of daily work. One new Cortex feature, which was recommended by one of the editors, facilitates “single-step” VFX pulls that merge Avid EDLs with VFX markers into Cortex timelines, another significant timesaver.
Chernoff explained, “Renders that otherwise take hours, can be accomplished in a fraction of the time. Our goal is to develop Cortex software that is responsive to the ideas and needs that editors and assistants require and enables a more efficient use of their time.”
“Our users tell us that the editorial experience is absolutely transparent,” Chernoff added, speaking on how the five television productions currently using the MTI Remote Center have been able to test the pipeline hands-on. “Post-production methodology has changed forever. MTI Film is committed to being a long-term partner to its clients and their editorial staff, improving their work experience and quality of life.”