Crunch Time Editors Rely On Security, Performance of OWC Solutions

In Austin-based production company Rooster Teeth’s latest web series Crunch Time, a team of grad students using cutting-edge technology recklessly creates a small yet potentially world-ending black hole in their school lab. But while technology-induced chaos is unfolding on-screen, a look behind the scenes tells a completely different story.

A Safe and Smooth Production
Editor and producer David Ward has long utilized OWC drives via MacSales.com. And when working on the new series Crunch Time, he knew exactly where to turn to keep his data safe.

“OWC was our first choice because they’ve never failed me before” Ward said. “Our cards [for capturing footage] will be used several times a day, so when it’s handed off, we’ve gotta make sure that it’s backed up completely and securely, otherwise you’re going to lose a half a day of footage.

“And once it’s backed up, we need at least two or three copies in a timely manner so the crew isn’t sitting around waiting for that card to finish up. We went with OWC ThunderBay and Mercury Elite drives because in all of my years of being an editor and data manager, they’re the one drive I’ve never really had any issues with.”

Ward knows that a drive failure during production can be costly in many different ways.

“On any given set day, you have minimum of 30 people working. And if a hard drive fails, you’re losing all the work of all of those people put in to getting that footage done,” Ward said. “The time and the cost of re-shooting because of a failed hard drive would obviously not be good for business.”

To help prevent potentially disastrous losses, added measures were taken to keep the Crunch Time team’s data safe during production. Fortunately, the OWC ThunderBay 4’s built in SoftRAID capabilities provide another level of security not possible with hardware alone.

“[With ThunderBay and SoftRAID] if everything goes down, [and] I can get those hard drives hooked up in any other way … up [the data] comes. They just give me the options to be able to recover in case the absolute worst happens,” said Crunch Time media manager Gary Huff.

Eliminating Performance Anxiety
The OWC ThunderBay 4 was put to work on Crunch Time primarily for its security. However, the drives also provide the speed needed to keep up with the fast pace of production. And when shooting in 5K, drives fill up very quickly meaning data on the drives needs to be offloaded more often.

(Two OWC ThunderBay 4 solutions on the set of Crunch Time.)

“We shot the show on two Red Epics at 5K resolution. Because of that we were cranking out close to 1.5TB of footage a day. We needed to make sure that we had drives that could quickly and securely back up all that footage so we could get the cards back to set. That way our crew wasn’t sitting around waiting and everything ran smoothly,” Ward said.

The ThunderBay 4 family of storage solutions with SoftRAID provides read/write performance in excess of 1300MB/s for compressible data workflows when using SSDs in a RAID 0 configuration. Rebuild times are also exponentially faster than comparable hardware based RAID arrays. All of this means editors spend less valuable time waiting on files to copy.

“This has been one of the smoothest shoots I’ve ever been on with the amount of data that we’re generating,” Huff said. “And I just haven’t been sitting for two hours or five hours. I don’t have to worry about getting stuck with a 300GB card at the end of the day because that only takes 25 to 30 minutes to copy off to go into those ThunderBay RAIDs.”

But it wasn’t only OWC’s drives that were utilized to ensure a speedy production. The team also used the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock in post- production for quick connectivity. Ward said that the Thunderbolt 2 Dock with its 12 ports is an ideal solution for a production that’s constantly on the move.

“During post I used [the Thunderbolt 2 Dock] for connecting multiple ThunderBay RAIDs as well as using the HDMI output for video playback,” Ward said. “We even used it as a USB hub when needed. It was great knowing we’d have a spare Thunderbolt or USB 3 port if we needed to quickly plug in a drive to copy over a new piece of media.”

Solutions That Just Work
Production for season one has wrapped on Crunch Time and — at least behind-the-scenes — the “end of the world” scenario has been avoided.

And thanks in part to OWC’s award-winning solutions, the producers’ data was safe during shooting and delivered to editors in a timely fashion. This consistent performance and security gives Ward the confidence to continue using OWC gear from MacSales.com on upcoming productions.

“The fact the OWC drives we have used have just always worked, we don’t see any reason to switch over in the future,” he added.


And be sure to check out the trailer from the upcoming documentary DEALT co-produced by Crunch Time producer Andrew Lee with the help of the OWC ThunderBay 4.  


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