Sponsored by Salon

Changing the rules of engagement

Established over 50 years ago, Salon made its name hiring out Steenbecks, Moviolas and a whole host of linear editing equipment to some of the world’s best-known productions. Today it boasts a huge fleet of the latest Avid, Adobe and Apple editing equipment, storage systems and remote post production solutions and continues to supply equipment to the finest productions globally with industry leading technical support. Understanding the difficulties facing editors at the start of the first lockdown, Salon used its industry and technical knowledge to set about finding a solution and in April 2020, SalonSync was born.

When the Pandemic first hit in early 2020 and countries started to lockdown, there were only two realistic options open to editors who wanted to continue working. The first was to ‘remote in’, but this gave a limited editing experience and wasn’t suitable for all, especially those with unstable connectivity. The alternative was to have local media and then rely on traditional file transfer solutions between suites, which involves a lot of good housekeeping and management, or send out couriers with drives which is both slow and expensive.

Solving the problem

Believing there must be a better solution to the problems facing editors, Salon started brainstorming ideas and within a very quick timeframe developed a system which allowed editors to work using a ‘full’ editing setup and not have to be concerned by internet instability, whilst maintaining collaboration between everyone.

Nick Long, Managing Director at Salon, explains, “By using full bandwidth automated file transfer, SalonSync enables teams to work remotely as close to how they would do all together, with media workplaces and shared projects.

“We send a pre-configured SalonSync box – which includes WD Red Pro NAS storage – to each of member of the edit team. A simple plug and play to the internet (encrypted inside our secure integrated VPN) and then your box starts to communicate with our servers, keeping all your team in sync. The system is totally automated & secure. Unlike a lot of sync solutions, SalonSync has been designed to be totally hands-free and therefore there is no frustrating organising of folder structures after a sync or most importantly Avid database rebuilds!

“All the file and folder management is done by the system and you can continue to use your editing system without even knowing what’s going on in the background. By including SalonProjects you can even share your Avid project with Avid-style Bin Locking. The SalonCloud app for Mac or Windows makes connecting to and managing our services simple and secure.

“In addition we can also integrate with on premise Nexis should you wish to keep a cutting room base or mcr updated.

“By placing our MiniSync system on-set you can transfer transcoded rushes from shoot to edit rather than using couriers or alternative file transfer services. Basically it saves you both time and money.”

The heart of the system

To ensure that the SalonSync system gave an experience as close to being in the same room as possible, it was essential that at its heart it had a storage solution which offered the highest level of performance and reliability. For this Salon chose WD RedTM Pro NAS Hard Drives.

WD Red Pro drives are designed specifically to handle high-intensity workloads in 24×7 environments, and so are ideal for both archiving and sharing. Exclusive technologies, such as 3D Active BalanceTM Plus and NASwareTM 3.0, combined with support of up to 300TB/yr workload rate, ensure they maintain the constantly high levels of performance and reliability. You also have the peace of mind of knowing that every drive has been tested for extended reliable operation and even has a 5-year limited warranty.

Nick Long says, “Having designed the SalonSync system, we couldn’t let the whole thing down with internal strorage which wasn’t up to the job. We trust the reliablity of WD Red Pro and have never had a problem with them. The drives go up to a massive 18TB capacity, so we can really maximise the storage in a single SalonSync box. At the moment we have a number of 144TB boxes out at major US studios All that storage in something no larger than a Mac Pro.”

See the complete range of WD storage solutions at wd.com. 

Have your cake and eat it

Love Productions started working on ‘Great British Bake Off’ just as the UK’s first lockdown came into effect. They needed to find a way to get dispersed editors working from home, without having to shuttle drives at great expense around the UK, as many did not have the stable internet required to work with other solutions.

Chris Taylor, Post Production Manager at Love Productions, explains how they worked closely with Salon to devlop the initial SalonSync, solving all their editorial requirements.

“SalonSync enabled us to have our large editorial team work as closely to how they did pre-Pandemic when they were on the premises. We are not spending hours copying media to drives manually or spending a fortune sending couriers long distances, our editors are working on shared Avid Media seamlessly. The system needs zero management from us, media just goes back and forth automatically. It is now a pivotal part of Love’s editorial workflow and with Nexis integration it means we are in a position to move back to the office quickly and at anytime. It lets teams start up instantly as media is available and switch between projects as they are shot and new material is added.”

 Beast without the burden

Britbox’s recent revenge thriller, ‘The Beast Must Die” would not have been possible without SalonSync’s help. Filmed on the Isle of White, but with the editing work needing to be done during the UK’s second lockdown, SalonSync enabled the editors to work from home and ensure it was released on time.

Mike Jones, an editor on ‘The Beast Must Die’, said, “With an editing team of 5, all working from home for over 6 months, SalonSync offered completely seamless integration – it was brilliant. I saved 2 hours every day not having to commute.”

Dan Roberts, another editor on the team, added,

“’SalonSync made the whole project run so smoothly. It was just like we were on shared storage in Soho. Except the view was better and the coffee wasn’t as good…’”

The future for SalonSync

Salon is continuing to integrate with a number of partners, with new features being rolled out all the time, the latest being easy uploads from anywhere globally at short notice to the SalonSync network using MASV.io

But even when lockdown finally finishes, and our industry returns to some sort of normality, there is still a very bright future for SalonSync. The system can continue to provide set to edit transfers, as a backup tool or when an editor wishes to split their work/home life balance. SalonSync is truly revolutionising the way a project is now edited.

Find out more at salonrentals.com.


Jon Creamer

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