The Need for Space and Service Steers Santa Monica Boutique Toward a New On-Premise Managed Storage Concept

Storage is the heartbeat of any facility that relies on quick access to its content for a wide range of projects. There’s nothing more important than having shared storage that just works. So when Steve Bannerman, CEO of Local Hero — which offers end-to-end post and visual effects services for feature films and high-end TV series — decided he’d had enough of the facility’s budget-busting, under-serviced storage system, his search led him in an unexpected direction.

Local Hero is the trusted, full-service boutique post house for numerous high-profile clients, such as HBO, Netflix, Lionsgate and Apple. Their credits include the recent movie Home Again, starring Reese Witherspoon, and HBO series Big Little Lies, featuring Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, and Amy Adams starrer Sharp Objects.

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The studio works almost entirely on 4K projects and is now starting to work with HDR content as well. Since 4K requires four times the space as 2K, the facility started encountering capacity issues, which, along with a disappointing vendor service experience, drove them to explore other options. However, the search was paved with solutions that came with high capital costs and onerous support contracts.

Instead of purchasing another piece of iron and committing to another service contract, Bannerman found creative.space, an On-Premise Managed Storage (OPMS) system. creative.space, which is powered by DigitalGlue, delivered a new concept in media storage that not only met his requirements but surpassed his expectations. For Bannerman, the solution scored high on all counts — affordability, service, support and reliability. “When creative.space came along, we recognized it as the solution we were looking for,” says Bannerman. “It didn’t take very long to pull the trigger on that one.”

“We didn’t just need big, fast storage. We needed something that works for our business model as much as it does for our pipeline.” – Steve Bannerman In addition to the system’s performance, Bannerman was impressed with the unique business model, as well as the service the company provided. “We’re a full-service post and VFX house, but we’re still a boutique, and shared storage is one of the single biggest cost components for us. So we were excited that we could get a vast amount of incredibly fast storage without having to take on another capital lease with an exorbitant maintenance contract. That, coupled with the fact that they came on site, trained our staff and helped us understand how the product works, made DigitalGlue the obvious choice.”

DigitalGlue, an engineering and integration company, developed creative.space to offer a high-speed, high-capacity OPMS service featuring 24/7 monitoring, technical support and next-day repairs for an all-inclusive, affordable, fixed monthly rate. The creative.space platform offers five configurations.

Bannerman and Local Hero chose the company’s //DEUS EX hybrid NVMe SSD and HDD media storage solution, which balances solid state and spinning disk technology with a fully optimized internal architecture to provide seamless playback. Designed for uncompressed, high-resolution end-to-end post production workflows, //DEUS EX eliminates the need for separate online and nearline systems, allowing their entire team to work with collaborative workflows like those available with Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Working with a managed storage service has provided Local Hero with the support and 24/7 monitoring the studio previously lacked. Questions are answered within an hour, regardless of the time of day, and any issue, no matter how small, is diagnosed and solved immediately.

Bannerman concludes, “One of the things I love most about creative.space is that it helps us keep our infrastructure costs down and in the OpEx category. If the system we’re using turns out to not be the right product, we’re not locked in. We can simply switch to a more appropriate creative.space solution for our needs. We didn’t just need big, fast storage. We needed something that works for our business model as much as it does for our pipeline.”

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Local Hero Execs: Leo Marini, Marc Côté, Steve Bannerman