Ross BlackStorm Is Star Player at YouTube Space LA

Ian Sellers

LOS ANGELES—YouTube Space LA is a state-of-the-art production facility designed and built exclusively for the next generation of content creators. The facility provides established and emerging YouTube creators with the time, free production resources and inspiration to evolve and innovate how they tell their stories on YouTube.

After a period of successful operation, we found ourselves in transition between two workflow solutions and decided that it was time to look for a new playout server for our applications and workflow requirements.

We were already familiar with Ross Video’s line of products as we had been using a Vision production switcher, as well as three of their Carbonite production switchers. The success that we’d had with them encouraged us to look at the company’s BlackStorm playout server line.

We discovered that the BlackStorms offered some really great features, one of the most advantageous being its ability to easily integrate with our Vision and Carbonite production switchers. We also found that the BlackStorm provided the ability to designate channels to different productions and that its operation would be easy to understand by all users.

This integration between our current switchers and the BlackStorm has become key for all of our productions. The tight integration allows our technical directors to easily queue clips and roll them from the production switcher rather than having to go through a separate server playback operator.

Aside from the ability to easily integrate into our existing systems, we were also able to fit four channels of playout into a 1RU rack server, saving a lot of rack space. Another of the Ross BlackStorm’s added features that particularly appealed to us—especially so as Google is very much an open source company—was Ross’ DashBoard control system. DashBoard is an easy-to-use open platform for control and monitoring, and this reinforces our feelings that the industry will always improve faster with everyone working together with common protocols.

The Ross server installation went very quickly and easily. Since then, its implementation and use has saved us many man hours.

With other technologies, we spent many hours training our operating personnel; however, with the Ross BlackStorm playout servers, we have found that it only takes a very short time—some 10 to 15 minutes—for operators to learn the essentials and become comfortable with operating it. And once an operator is trained, they are off and running without the need for any refresher sessions.

Our key goal at YouTube Space LA is to provide great products and solutions for our creators so they can produce their greatest content. With a little help from Ross Video, we’ve been able to provide varying technologies based on the level of experience of our creators, and this allows them to grow their channels and try new production methods.

Ian Sellers is head of engineering for YouTube Space LA, overseeing execution of all live productions and new technologies. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Ross Video at 613-652-4886 or