Futuristic moves forward with Tiger
Futuristic Films is a Denver-based boutique production company that also offers post services. Frank Pickell, a founding partner, wears many hats including that of Cinematographer and Director of Post-production.
The company produces feature documentaries, branded content, and commercial spots, for local, national, and international clients. Futuristic added its own post-production capabilities as a way of increasing quality, keeping creative control, and lowering costs.
“Owning the whole process improves our work in every way. It allows us to not only be more flexible and adapt to changing client schedules, but experiment creatively to find ways to plus every project.
When the creative spark happens, being able to sit down with any available editor in any available suite so that we can get the idea working right away is critical. Having shared storage makes our projects better by increasing flexibility. We’ve gotten to the point where the collaboration between editors really improves our films.”
Futuristic began to offer editorial and finishing to agencies as a way of expanding their business. “Post has become its own animal, and we have two full-time editors and four suites, and shared storage has been absolutely critical to our growth and flexibility. We need to pass projects back and forth – assistants, editors, and directors all need to be able to work simultaneously.”
“Xsan was complicated and we are filmmakers, not networking people”
As a Mac-based shop, Futuristic used Final Cut Pro Studio with Xsan, but “like most people, after Apple gave up the Final Cut game we moved over to Premiere for editing and we have DaVinci Resolve for grading.”
Pickell says “Xsan was complicated and we are filmmakers, not networking people – I could do the basics with it but if I wasn’t on-site to maintain it, there were problems. Another challenge with Xsan was that all machines needed to use the same OS, and some of our machines wouldn’t run the latest Mac system.”
Futuristic opted to upgrade their creative workstations and consider their shared storage choices. “Quantum StorNext was an option, but they took forever to get back to us, and when we understood how much the support pricing would be, we were like “holy @#$%”, that’s a non-starter for us.”
“The 24/7 tech Support was huge for us …and Tiger management is so much easier”
GW Hannaway and Associates of Boulder told Futuristic about Tiger and how the system is designed for end-users and not technicians. “We are 100% Mac-based and we had concerns about leaving the Mac environment, but the experience our peers had with the system was great, and the availability of 24/7 Support was huge for us. Twice now Tiger Support has solved problems that we thought were storage-related but turned out to be something else. Also, the Tiger management is so much easier — all the settings and maintenance are all straight forward.”
The new Tiger Serve1 uses the existing high-speed 8 Gb Fibre Channel network that they had with Xsan, and lets them edit high-res RED footage in real-time. One of the first projects Futuristic worked on after the migration is a brand film for Boa, a closure system for medical products and footwear. The project lasted about a year and grew to include individual user stories as on top of the original film.
“We use some of the same footage in each of the stories, as well as graphic elements, and so all the editors needed access to that material during the course of production. Once the edits were done, all the stories were graded directly off the Tiger managed storage.”
Looking back, Pickell says “I didn’t realize how much we needed a new system – that old Xsan was a real weakness for us. The Tiger Serve1 has been great, and so far we have had zero issues!”