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smoke & mirrors

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smoke & mirrors




smoke & mirrors



CHALLENGE


Planning a move to a new building, Smoke & Mirrors identified a requirement for high-end computer resources to be available to multiple locations across the entire facility. Initially the computers would also need to be accessed from the existing and new site whilst keeping all computing equipment in a central server room location. The system needed to be flexible and deliver video, fast switching between resources and audio performance expected of a professional post-production company.

A challenge in making this a reality lay in the design of the new building, which comprised a number of different editing suites with users stations and larger office areas with multiple stations and users. As a result, the computers needed to be extended from the server room to each station in single and dual head format, with switching capability and without loss of quality or any lag.

Smoke & Mirrors’ IT team chose to contact Adder Technology, the high performance IP-based KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) specialist, who they worked with in defining the exact requirements and then specifying the best solution.

“We were looking for flawless switching and extension capabilities,” said George Cook, head of engineering, Smoke & Mirrors. “The move provided us with the ideal opportunity to upgrade the technology and get more functionality for our artists and designers.

“We wanted a technology solution that would enable us to take control of different workstations at any location and share screens, all while the computers themselves are located in a server room, away from the user.”

The relocation of computing equipment brings ergonomic benefits to the office environment – freeing up room on desks and workspaces, while eliminating additional heat and noise, the latter, particularly, can be a drawback in post production.

A further requirement was that the system needed to be user-driven and access controlled, with certain users only able to access designated machines. However, the two most important needs were that the system had to deliver pixel perfect video, ensuring that video over the network is displayed without losing quality or dropping frames and the user experience had to be flawless with no juddering, jittering or lagging.

“Basically our business is making video look good so we have to ensure that it looks right before we send it to client. If it doesn’t meet those standards as a result of the technology, then that’s a major flaw,” explained Cook.





RESULT


The benefits of using a standard IP network to transport the signals throughout the facility are significant and have had an impact on the cost-effectiveness of operations, as well as ensuring easy scaling and flexible operation. Using the IP infrastructure adds flexibility to the system, enabling operational changes and the addition of end points without changes to the infrastructure.

“Due to the complexity of the layout, we learned a lot about Smoke & Mirrors network design during the installation process. Any issues that presented were dealt with by our technical support team who worked with the facility’s engineers,” said Adkin.

Going forward, the next steps will be adding 4K-capable solutions. This can be easily accomplished through the use of the IP network as the infrastructure already exists to support it. “I am looking forward to exploring how we can roll out Adder’s 4K solutions into our facility as they become available”.

“The installed AdderLink Infinity solution more than met our requirements and expectations and was backed by great service from the Adder team. As a result, I am looking forward to exploring how we can roll out the 4K solution from Adder Technology,” concluded Cook.



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