Facilis Improves Workflows at Montgomery Community Media

HUDSON, MA (October 25, 2018)Facilis, a leading international supplier of cost-effective, high performance shared storage solutions for collaborative media production networks, announced that Rockville, Maryland-based Montgomery Community Media (MCM) has recently upgraded their Facilis shared storage network to 96TB. Part of Montgomery county, MCM is the only independent, nonprofit organization providing access to public media (public access television and broadband media) directly to the county’s over one million residents as well as non-profit organizations, associations and local businesses. Near to DC, the public TV and web resource has served the public since the early eighties.

MCM has two channels that are available to Montgomery county residents via cable. The content for those channels is created at MCM or donated by individuals and organizations. “At MCM, people can come in and make their own TV shows and we put those shows on the air,” said Michael Walsh, Technical and Network Manager at MCM. “We teach people how to use the gear, so they can come in and make their own films. Some content creators borrow our cameras and go out into the field to film their own shows. A lot of the content we air is created by access users.”

MCM also has an in-house staff of editors and shooters and six different editing workstations running Adobe CC. “We have about 10 staff shooters who cover everything from news to community events and human-interest stories in the area,” says Walsh. “When I first started, everything was done over “sneaker-net”. We had hard drives stacked up in drawers, and some people had several terabytes on G Raid drives. We literally had credenzas full of drives that were filled with media. They weren't plugged in, so we didn’t know if the media was still valuable or if it could be accessed at all. We needed a way to move our media files onto some kind of a secure storage device that could be accessed from multiple stations.”

To solve the storage problem for all in-house and production team shows, MCM purchased a Facilis TerraBlock 24D shared storage network from Virginia-based system integrator Digital Video Group (DVG). Initially installed with 48TB, the system was recently upgraded to 96TB. The storage is connected to the editing workstations via Fibre Channel, while others can access the storage via Ethernet from laptops or remotely. The Facilis system also supports a Tightrope play-to-air system and is connected to a Telestream Live Capture 4-channel ingest system. DVG recommended Facilis storage in part because they are one of the only vendors that offers both Ethernet and Fibre Channel connectivity on a single storage server. “The TerraBlock is a robust and reliable key component at MCM that gets the jobs done,” said Jim Deigan, Sr. Account Manager at DVG.

“The Facilis system has really eliminated all the risks of losing material or accidentally losing someone else’s work,” says Walsh. “We are better organized than we’ve ever been and finally free of the mountain of drives and all the hassles associated with them. The new Facilis Web Console has made it even easier to access our storage from anywhere to grant permissions and create volumes. Multiple editors can work at the same time while reporters are browsing footage from their desks deciding how they’ll want a to put a story together. It's a critical part of the workflow that we do every day.”

About once a month, MCM hosts a live event with a speaker, panelists and an audience of 30-80 people. Topics range from local politics to small business opportunities. This event is filmed at MCM’s studio using Hitachi and Ross studio cameras. All the camera feeds go into a Telestream Lightspeed Live Capture box and are then saved to the Facilis TerraBlock as both high res and proxy images.

A lot of content ends up on the web, whether it’s on MCM’s YouTube channel or Facebook page. “So far, MCM has built up over thirty thousand followers on Facebook,” says Walsh. “We don't really know who’s watching our over-the-air channels, but our website and social channels are very popular and of course we can see those analytics. We pride ourselves on being more of media center, not just a TV station, so that anything that's going on in the county might end up on either our shows or on social media.”

“We had several meetings with Jim Deigan at DVG and it was clear from the beginning that he really understood our needs and knew his stuff. He was conscious of the way we finance here and that prices are important. He went through different options and informed us that Facilis could do whatever we needed,” says Walsh. “We’re just delighted with the system. If there is a problem Facilis support jumps on it and fixes it immediately. They can even log onto our system remotely if we want. The support has been fantastic.”