With help from Factorial, The Rebel Fleet team started to explore Quantum solutions.
“Instead of focusing on capacity or bandwidth, we talked about workflow,” says Benson. “And that discussion centered on the benefits of the Quantum StorNext platform.” The Rebel Fleet ultimately selected Quantum Xcellis workflow storage plus Quantum QXS hybrid storage systems for online and nearline storage. “Quantum QXS systems are military grade storage,” says Benson, “so we knew they would work in this rugged, mobile environment.” The mobile rig used multiple Apple Mac Pro computers for ingesting, calculating checksums, archiving to LTO tape, and colour grading. Fibre Channel connectivity provided high-bandwidth network performance.
Delivering high performance for real-time colour grading and fast rendering
High-performance storage based on the StorNext file system helped significantly accelerate workflows.
“Our colourist Pete Harrow has been working on large-scale projects for years, and he had never experienced the performance he achieved with this environment,” says Urban. “He was instantly happy. We were able to crank out 150 frames of footage per second in three different formats while also supporting real-time colour grading. Overall, this online environment delivered 6 GB per second of throughput. It was very impressive and it helped us meet tight turnaround times.”
Seamlessly scaling in the ‘middle of nowhere’
The StorNext platform enabled the Factorial team to scale the ingest volume, doubling its size from 200 to 400 TB, without interrupting the shooting schedule.
“Halfway through the production, the production team started shooting much more than they had planned,” says Benson. “We had to fly to South Island, drive on a dirt road up a mountain valley, and do a field expansion of this system to add capacity—with previously ingested data still residing in the environment. Fortunately, StorNext performed in the real world exactly as was advertised and truly let us scale the system seamlessly. The Rebel Fleet team and the film production crew were very happy.”
Providing tremendous capacity in a mobile rig
The Quantum storage systems were able to provide the capacity for a large volume of high-resolution footage in a very dense environment. “In all, the environment processed nearly 900 TB over the course of the shoot,” says Benson. “And we managed to provide all that capacity in a rig that was the size of a deep refrigerator.”
The rig’s mobility enabled The Rebel Fleet team to set up temporary on-location review environments in remote locations. “It felt like you were in a plush postproduction house, even though you were actually in the garage of a hunting lodge far away from power or internet connectivity,” says Benson. The director, director of photography, and others could review footage, and evaluate colour grades and lighting, minutes after calling “cut.” Providing that immediate feedback enabled the production team to make critical creative decisions and maximize on-set productivity.