Excellence Awards SGI Ascent

Category Post and network
production facilities Submitted by SGI Design teamAMG: Kevin Sanders,
CTO of media
management services
SGI: Kevin Smith, SGI Professional Services Technology at work SGI
Origin 350
InfiniteStorage Shared
Filesystem CXFS
InfiniteStorage TP9500
InfiniteStorage TP9300
iQ digital intermediate
Pablo Suite for color

Ascent Media Group selects SGI technology for ProdNet

To address the problems of faster turnaround in a 4K data-centric media environment, Ascent Media Group (AMG) gutted its 100,000sq ft building in Burbank, CA, and rebuilt it from the ground up. The company chose SGI as prime contractor, and SGI Professional Services worked hand-in-hand with the group to design and integrate AMG’s data-centric production network, ProdNet, which is dedicated to manufacturing, repurposing and distributing large media assets in huge volumes. It also offers studio clients secure methods for accommodating a large variety of deliverables.

The SGI InfiniteStorage CXFS shared file system was a major product component for AMG, particularly in the telecine department, where each frame must be handled as an individual file. The frames add up to 24 files for each second of film. In addition, file sizes range from moderate to large, depending on whether they are HD, 2K or 4K resolution.

At the core of ProdNet are three SGI metadata servers based on SGI Origin 350 technology, each with eight CPUs, acting as the SGI InfiniteStorage CXFS servers for the storage system.

In addition to increasing the speed of workflow, another advantage of ProdNet is the ability to do several jobs concurrently. This is achieved by parallel processing, powered by SGI CXFS-based metadata servers that power the heart of the I/O, and the SGI InfiniteStorage TP9500 system. It is capable of being dynamically allocated from one department to another as needed. Instead of doing the processes in a linear fashion, workloads can be stacked on top of each other and done in parallel. The DVD can be working on the same title and the same files as audio, telecine and/or the language localization services.

In the 4K suites, which use Quantel iQ and Quantel’s new Pablo Suite, a complete colorgrading suite expressly designed for digital intermediate work, the company has found that the SGI server, storage and networking systems that power ProdNet are getting some of the fastest feeds and speeds.

ProdNet’s advanced network security Web was developed following extensive research and consultations with such agencies as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and government law enforcement agencies. The entire facility is monitored 24 hours a day by a file-based video surveillance system.

ProdNet was fully up and running in September 2005 with one SGI InfiniteStorage TP9500 storage system. A second SGI InfiniteStorage TP9500 and a TP9300 storage system have since been added, giving the company a total 100TB of enterprise-class storage in addition to 80TB in local caches around the facility.