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Applied Electronics Helps Spotlight Productions Put 4K in the Limelight with Avid NEXIS
Spotlight Productions is a full-service production company in Calgary, Alberta that creates television and digital series, feature documentaries and scripted content. With a focus on high-definition digital production and access to the newest camera and editing equipment on the market, the company is committed to capturing intriguing stories in groundbreaking ways.
Spotlight produces approximately 120 hours of unscripted programming annually, including educational programming for Rogers Broadcasting. It’s currently in production on more than 360 episodes of programming for Canadian broadcast networks, as well as developing theatrical, commercial, corporate, marketing, retail, educational and nonprofit projects.
Spotlight also produces a variety of lifestyle and cultural content for Canada’s cable channel TELUS Optik TV as part of the STORYHIVE program, a community-powered funding program for emerging content creators in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. Spotlight’s recent credits for TELUS Originals include People We Love, Hell or High Water: The Rebuilding of the Calgary Stampede and Minhas Family Brew.
Every month, Spotlight has to deliver a large amount of 4K/UHD mini documentary-style stories for TELUS Originals. This was putting significant pressure on its media storage capacity and throughput to its edit suites. And with demand for 4K/UHD production growing, Spotlight’s president Matt Embry knew it was time to upgrade the company’s shared storage infrastructure, computers and monitoring.
“Prior to the upgrade, we were able to cut 4K/UHD footage, but we were unable to view it fluidly,” explains Embry. “We also experienced excessive export and encode times, which prolonged our post-production deliveries.”
Collaboration and consistency
As an existing customer, Spotlight turned to Avid and its Canadian distributor, Applied Electronics, to upgrade and accelerate its post-production workflow. It decided to invest in Avid NEXIS, the first and only software-defined storage platform specifically designed for storing and managing media. The company also upgraded its seven edit suites to the latest version of Media Composer | Symphony Option with Avid-approved HP computers to drive it.
“We chose Avid NEXIS because we needed the horsepower and throughput to edit collaboratively in 4K/UHD in multiple rooms, and we also needed FX and grading consistency with the latest Avid Symphony licenses across all seven of our edit suites,” says Embry.
Powered by Avid’s MediaCentral, the most open, tightly integrated, and efficient platform designed for media, Spotlight’s Avid NEXIS | E4 enterprise-class system provides 128TB of storage and gives the team the fastest, most efficient and reliable post workflows for 4K/UHD media post production. And with Media Composer | Symphony Option always up to date via the cloud-based Avid Application Manager, the team can collaboratively correct and color grade, design visual effects, and master projects faster.
Applied Electronics worked closely with Spotlight to install, set up and support the new system. “We were very happy with the excellent level of service provided by Avid and Applied Electronics—both vendors listened carefully to our needs and worked closely with our team to discover and implement the solution,” says Embry. They’re a very professional and knowledgeable team, and their ability to access our systems remotely to fix any issues is very efficient.”
Power and performance
Since installing Avid NEXIS, Spotlight’s team has been enjoying the improved speed and capacity of its post workflows. “The workflows haven’t changed much, but with the faster computers and drives, we’ve seen a major improvement in overall performance,” says Embry. “The higher bandwidth of Avid NEXIS and Avid’s solid and dependable media management architecture have enabled us to overcome the challenges we were facing with 4K/UHD projects.”
Embry also appreciates the new system’s clean and easy-to-use interface. “Avid NEXIS has a much cleaner software interface that makes it easier to allocate, and adjust drive space to editors and projects.”
With its new workflow, Spotlight is able to quickly and efficiently handle the large number of 4K/UHD projects it delivers to TELUS Originals every month. And the company is producing two documentaries that will also make use of the Avid 4K/UHD workflow. “Avid’s solid performance makes all of this possible,” says Embry. “The systems are solid and are managing a huge amount of 4K/UHD media.”
With Avid NEXIS taking the headache out of its 4K post, Spotlight can focus all its efforts on continuing to break new ground in telling captivating stories.
Life is rich with great stories and great characters. Our job at Spotlight Productions is to find them, capture them, and share them with the world.