A Tiger in The Hall
Oxfordshire, UK-based The Hall chooses Tiger Box to make operations as efficient and cost-effective as possible
London, England offers the media production capacities you would expect to find in such a large centre and also has the traffic and commuting problems to match. Rob Burchell, founder and Managing Director of The Hall, was sure there was a better way of getting things done than spending four hours a day on a commuter train.
For Burchell, who came up through the ranks of the BBC, and then managed a 60-suite editorial department for Oasis, the answer was to set up shop close to home, and offer high quality creative and technical services outside central London.
“Once you’ve used shared storage, you can’t go back.”
The Hall (www.the-hall.co.uk) is named after its location, a completely renovated heritage building in Oxfordshire, and the company prides itself on the quality and range of its services as well as its idyllic location. “Here at The Hall we offer editorial, shooting, graphics, and audio services, as well as production studios with blue- screen and a voice over booth with ISDN. Even QC and mastering tools such as Harding testing for PSE are all in-house, so we are a true one-stop shop for our clients.”
As for so many companies today, operations need to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. Naturally, central shared storage was a requirement. As Burchell says, “Once you’ve used shared storage, you can’t go back. We’ll often have ten to fifteen projects going at once, and to meet our customers’ deadlines and budgets, we need our six suites working together.”
“We need a simple system that our freelancers can use without training, that is multi-platform, easy to run, and to expand, but one that supports our Avid workflows and also fits our budget.”
Burchell worked with Digital Garage UK to design a workflow and select the gear. Creative tools include Avid Media Composer and Symphony, Final Cut, Pro Tools, and After Effects. After trying an Editshare product for central storage, The Hall settled on Tiger Box from Tiger Technology to power their operations. “We are a small company, and we can’t really afford to get it wrong. We need a simple system that our freelancers can use without training, that is multi-platform, easy to run, and to expand, but one that supports our Avid workflows and also fits our budget.”
With Tiger projectStore PRO project management, The Hall can easily set up Avid workflows including bin locking, multi-user access permissions, and easy bin searching. “The other systems we tried were expensive and complex, but Tiger Box provided everything we need at a considerable savings. We can easily expand capacity, and using direct 10 Gigabit Ethernet connections saves us the cost of a switch.”
“With Tiger Box, it does all that we want it to do, plus a little bit more, and was considerably more cost effective. It just works.”
“Part of the whole reason for choosing Tiger Box is we can’t justify a huge overhead to manage shared storage. Big facilities may have someone on staff just to manage their Avid Unity but our business model doesn’t support engineering and IT Storage Workflows Simplified overhead; we need to be able to manage the setup ourselves, and once it had been set up for the first time, it had to sit in the bay and just work. You can often get ‘it just works’ if you spend huge amounts of money, or go with a cheaper version that’s going to take a bit of fiddling. But often these cheaper solutions were never designed to do exactly what you want so, for example, the Avid bin locking doesn’t work. With Tiger Box, it does all that we want it to do, plus a little bit more, and was considerably more cost effective. It just works.”
Quality is key for The Hall and Burchell says “delivering to broadcasters like the BBC and ITV requires total attention to detail – client budgets, timelines, and expectations don’t allow for any problems with the masters.” On “Saturday Farm,” a 21-episode series for ITV, The Hall loaded footage from Canon XF and 5D cameras using Avid AMA. “To be as efficient as possible, we put one editor on each episode – that way they could track the project from start to finish.” Then when editorial starts the following week, the next episode’s material is loaded and a second editor starts the process again. Burchell himself completed the grading and mastering using the same instance of the footage, and then added the mix from ProTools before delivery. “We delivered 21 one-hour episodes in 18 weeks using this approach and every episode passed QC, first time.”