The University of Sunderland


Overview
The University of Sunderland School of Arts, Design and Media in Northeast England operates one of the country’s most vibrant and well-equipped media departments in the country. With a rating of excellence from the Quality Assurance Agency, the media and cultural studies department attracts a diverse group of students to its undergraduate and graduate programs in film, production, journalism, television, radio and public relations.
The Challenge
The School’s coursework combines theoretical studies and practical experience with students learning on the same types of equipment and systems used in by industry experts. To keep pace with the latest technology innovations, the David Puttnam Media Centre at Sunderland recently completed a £1.5 million upgrade of its media production department. The project included a shift to a totally tapeless environment with centralized and expandable storage; the workflow would mirror the most up-to-date professional facilities. The School was also installing 70 Avid Media Composer and Apple Final Cut Pro editing systems. They needed a storage system that could interchangeably handle FCP and Avid files as well as materials from other effects and compositing programs. “From an infrastructure point of view, it absolutely can be the worst environment you can think of because of the mix of systems,” says Gary Stubbs, Media Project Manager at Sunderland. ”We needed to cover so much in terms of software. We had a lot of users and we needed to be conscious that they were students, not computer experts, and a shared storage system that was easy to use but efficient was paramount”
The Solution
Working with regional broadcast equipment and authorised EditShare reseller Digital Garage www.digitalgarage.tv, Sunderland installed a 96TB EditShare XStream System as its centralized storage solution. Designed for the most extreme and demanding media sharing workflows, EditShare XStream combines the award-winning collaborative features of the EditShare Storage Series with the highest performance hardware available. XStream offers large creative workgroups - from digital intermediate, news, sports, reality TV and education – the ability to simultaneously share high-resolution media for real-time edit-in-place and true workflow collaboration. EditShare XStream takes advantage of PCI-E infrastructure to combine a very high number of simultaneous video streams with almost limitless storage scalability
The EditShare XStream provides a truly open environment for freely sharing media, regardless of application or platform, file size or format. With EditShare, users of Apple, Adobe, Assimilate, Autodesk, Avid, Digidesign, Sony, Thomson and other systems can connect via standard Gigabit or 10-Gigabit to the EditShare Extreme. At Sunderland, the 70 dual-boot computers run both Avid and Final Cut editing software as well as AfterEffects from Adobe Production Suite. They are connected via standard CAT 6 Gigabit Ethernet cabling to one of three HP ProCurve switches which connect to the EditShare Xstream via 10-Gigabit Ethernet to ensure maximum through-put for sharing large volumes of work, including high definition formats with speed and efficiency.
The Workflow
Depending on specific coursework and the level of sophistication, students can be working on anything from basic broadcast production and editing in a classroom setting to full-blown studio productions, documentaries or independent films in private edit suites. Regardless of where the students are working, they can access content stored in the EditShare XStream. The rights and permissions structure in EditShare allow access by only the authorized users to specific content. EditShare’s rules-driven workflow ensures that no data is ever overwritten or destroyed, an especially important feature in a teaching environment. “Everyone has adapted very well,” says Stubbs. “It’s quite easy to locate your work from whatever position you’re working at and just get right on with it. In terms of administration, it's very straight forward and it’s easy to set up and organize the passwords and access rights.”
In classroom situations, instructors use projectors to explain exercises and students log on at individual computers to simultaneously access the video from assigned folders in the XStream to work on their editing and compositing assignments. Instructors are able to view student work-in-progress and offer tips and critiques. Coursework emphasizes practical and artistic skill sets as well as theoretical. As students advance, they shoot their own high-definition video using SONY EX cameras and often work in teams or independently. EditShare’s unique project sharing for both Avid and Final Cut Pro workgroups simplifies group collaboration on projects. Editors can instantly see, copy or revise the work of colleagues with the assurance that a bin, sequence or project is never overwritten. The David Puttnam Media Centre has several edit suites strategically located throughout the facility, giving students the opportunities to work in shared breakout suites or one 15 individual suites which include specialized hardware for finishing work.
The Benefits
With as many as 400 students matriculating through Sunderland’s media programs at any given time, the Puttnam Media Centre is continuously busy. Thanks to the Centre’s high performance EditShare XStream, the heavy volume of editing work and instruction can be handled without system slowdowns. In addition to the strong rights and permissions structure, the system’s RAID 5 hardware configuration offers additional protection against loss of data. And because the EditShare XStream can be easily expanded, there’s no worry about adding storage capacity anytime in the future. The combination of state-of-the-art tools and EditShare’s collaborative workflow further strengthens the University’s strong ties with many professional broadcast and postproduction organizations who provide and full time job opportunities to the students. “Because we provide excellent instruction that incorporates hands-on knowledge on the most advanced systems, our graduates are well-rounded and prepared to assume responsible roles in the industry as they begin their careers,” says Stubbs. “That’s our mission.”

Tags: media college | iss045 | avid media composer | apple final cut | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Articles
Making the Workflow Flow
Bruce Devlin - new The toughest things about being the Standards Vice President (SVP) is that everyone expects standards to be the most important thing. In all the systems that I’ve designed and deployed over the years, I've yet to find any production workflow that is 100% standards based. True, the core technologies may well be standards based, but the overall workflow is made up of many technology pieces from open source code, through de-facto delivery specifications based upon SMPTE or Trade Association Specifications that in turn depend on full, International Standards to work. I can already hear some folks saying "In the good old days, everything used standards", but I beg to disagree.
Tags: iss138 | pye museum | pye-philips | smpte | ietf | ieee | w3c | aes | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
Centre Stage for Cameras with All About Eve
Anthony Newton Taking its inspiration from the classic 1950 film, Ivo van Hove’s stage production of All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson as theatre darling, Margo Channing, and Lily James as the eponymous Eve, retains the themes of ageing, celebrity and obsession. The piece, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions garnered stellar reviews during its recent run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.
Tags: iss138 | blackmagic design | micro studio camera | ronin | smartscope duo | Anthony Newton
Contributing Author Anthony Newton Click to read or download PDF
How the Womens World Cup was Boosted by Broadcast
John Griffiths As we write this article, England’s Lionesses have just beaten Norway 3-0 and are smashing viewing figure records, with 6.9 million viewers tuning in to watch them play Cameroon on BBC One. Rewind to the previous World Cup in 2015, and England’s group and early stage knockout games tempted up to 2.5 million viewers for each match. It’s safe to say that women’s football is finally having its moment; what was perhaps once considered a niche sport is finally gaining momentum in the mainstream space with broadcasters giving it the attention it deserves.
Tags: iss138 | wwc | world cup | spicymango | diversity | John Griffiths
Contributing Author John Griffiths Click to read or download PDF
Make Time for Remapping
Alex Macleod For my 4th Kitplus article I thought I’d highlight an effect in Premiere Pro that frankly I would be lost without. Namely - time remapping.
Tags: iss138 | premiere pro | post production | editing | speed remapping | remapping | mediacity training | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation: Wings, Fine Coffee and Fake Nudes
Dick Hobbs - new One of the many attractions of this time of year is that I get to meet with my fellow judges for the IBC Innovation Awards, and see what the industry sees as the most important, most forward-looking projects of the day. For me, this says what the key talking points are going to be in September, far more eloquently than the endless press releases from vendors which are already tumbling into my inbox.
Tags: iss138 | ibc | smpte 2110 | deepnude | cisco | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF