01.11.2006 11:03 AM
The Ant Farm expands its routing system

Post & network production facilities



The Ant Farm expands its routing system



Running 24 hours a day, seven days a week means any downtime can be costly. Reliability is paramount when serving Hollywood’s biggest studios. At The Ant Farm, an advertising post-production facility, Sierra Video routers handle hundreds of video and data routes flawlessly every day.

The Ant Farm creates and produces advertisements for feature films, TV programs and video games using a variety of media formats. The company’s client roster features all of the major motion picture studios, including all of the print and editorial production for the blockbuster film trilogy, “Lord of the Rings.”

Since its inception in 1998, The Ant Farm has grown both in business and technology. When it opened a new 36,000sq-ft facility in Los Angeles in 2003, the company chose a Sierra Video Tahoe system with a nine-level router, allowing room for expansion. Within a year, the facility actually outgrew the routing system. It had originally chose Sierra Video products because of their reliability and a price point that fit The Ant Farm’s budget. The facility hadn’t experienced a single moment of downtime from any of the equipment, so when it was time to upgrade, it had confidence in Sierra Video’s capabilities.

Because of the Sierra Video trade-up program, the upgrade was easy. The Ant Farm received a credit for its existing equipment when it traded the equipment in for a higher-level system. With the help of the Sierra Video team and the local broadcast integration specialists at Mason Engineering, the facility upgraded to the larger Yosemite Series routing system, which provides both analog and digital solutions from 32x32 to 128x256. The routing switchers support the more than 50 Avid editing suites in use 24 hours a day.

The Ant Farm realized that a single hour of downtime could mean the loss of thousands of dollars for its business, so it was important to make a smooth transition that did not interfere with the production schedule. Together, Sierra Video, Mason Engineering and The Ant Farm used a systematic approach over a four-week period to test, reconfigure and upgrade a new system without any loss of time.

This upgrade allowed the technicians to use the same control panels. For the technicians, there were no operational changes — everything just happened to be running through a bigger router.

To ensure a glitch-free installation, all the hardware was bench tested prior to shipping. Mason Engineering installed seven audio/video frames to handle composite video, digital video, analog audio, time code and RS-422 machine control, pre-wiring all the levels of the new router through new patch bays. A complex audio layer is also wired through patch bays to the routers. In addition, the system includes two SCP-240 programmable control panels, which offer system flexibility and functionality.

With more room for future growth and the confidence of the trade-up program, The Ant Farm continues to create ads for the next movie blockbusters and hit TV shows.

Design Team Technology at Work
Mason Engineering: Sierra Video routing:
Ron Mason, co-owner Dual CPU frame, 128x128 video
The Ant Farm: Yosemite 128x128 audio
Craig Frieman, systems eng. Yosemite 128x128 audio
Yosemite 64x64 audio
Yosemite 64x64 audio
Yosemite 32x32 AES
SCP-240 control panel

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