Weber Shandwick Chooses Facilis TerraBlock for Cutting Edge 4K, VR/360 Workflows

HUDSON, MA (October 19th, 2017)Facilis, a leading international supplier of cost-effective, high performance shared storage solutions for collaborative media production networks today announced that Weber Shandwick’s Boston office is using Facilis TerraBlock storage for cutting edge 4K and VR/360 workflows. Part of the Interpublic Group, Weber Shandwick is a leading global communications agency in 79 cities across 34 countries, with a network extending to 127 cities in 81 countries. The firm’s diverse team of strategists, analysts, producers, designers, developers and campaign activators have won the most prestigious awards in the world for innovative, creative approaches and impactful work. They work for some of the leading brands and organizations worldwide on projects ranging from brand anthems, docu-narrative storytelling, social-focused content, 360-degree VR video, to live-streaming with their proprietary GoLive technology.

In the Boston office, one of the primary focuses has been growing their video practice and capabilities over the last five years. “When we first started, we had editors working on client projects which resided on bare hard drives that would just sit on a shelf in each editor’s office,” said Victor Oates, Technical Site Lead, CMG Information Technology, Boston. CMGGRP, also owned by Interpublic Group, provides IT resources for Weber Shandwick. “If we needed editors to collaborate on the same project, we would have to spend hours copying footage to duplicate hard drives, so that each editor could have a copy of the project and its files to work on.”

The older workflow created a lot of barriers and problems for the team, the biggest of which was spending large amounts of time keeping projects and hard drives in sync, as well as tracking who had the latest version of every edit. If an editor wasn’t in the office, it was difficult to keep track of which specific hard drive each project lived on, so that other editors could make changes. The team was looking for a solution that would mitigate all of these issues, while also improving the speed/efficacy of every editor.

“After a thorough vetting of competing systems, we found Facilis to be the most cost-efficient system that could deliver the performance we wanted. We also found Facilis’ support team to be incredibly solid,” said Oates. “Over the years, they have had a relatively low turnover which is a huge plus for us, as not only it tells us that people like working there but it also means that our IT professionals have been able to build a relationship with the Facilis techs which has been very helpful.

Using the Facilis TerraBlock shared storage network, all editors can access the same footage simultaneously and it provides a central repository of the latest versions to everyone, so there is less versioning and copies of media being stored. “We started with a 12TB 24EX system, and then in the last year we upgraded to a new Hybrid24 System with 136TB of total space,” said Oates. “The server has 128TB of traditional “spinning disks” giving us an approximately 11x increase in data storage. With the Hybrid24 system, we also have an additional 8TB of fast SSD storage dedicated purely to our 4K/VR/360 jobs. The SSDs lets us edit 4K footage in real-time, which is a great feature and saves us hours. The Hybrid24 system was the same price as what competitors were asking for non-hybrid smaller units. The ability to edit 4K footage more efficiently made this an easy sell to the organization.”

The Weber Shandwick team is continually on the cutting edge and pushing the boundaries of their creative work, which places high demands on their tools and infrastructure. They’ve been working on high-bandwidth 4K projects for the last couple of years, exploring VR with 360-degree video, and utilizing on-site, same-day video edits that help brands take advantage of short news cycles in a timely manner. The team moves very fast, and they expect their editing systems to keep up.

“Since we brought a Facilis system on board, we have increased our speed and quality of our work immeasurably. A project that in 2011-2013 was taking us 15 days or so to take from start to final export, is now being completed in approximately 7-10 days,” says Oates. “Our speed has increased, we are more flexible in workflows, and able to take on more projects than ever before. Additionally, we are able to take our projects to a higher quality than ever before, as the right people can now collaborate together on projects.”