Blockbuster Performance For Blockbuster Movies

Codex Safeguards Blockbuster Films with Quantum Technology

Digital acquisition is fast becoming the norm in the movie industry, with many of the biggest blockbusters never actually touching film. Getting that media off digital cameras and safely recorded, transported, and stored for editing is the job of Codex, which relies on Quantum’s LTO tape drives and LTFS software. The result: The utmost in efficiency and data protection. 

Storage Capacity, Accessibility Limits

Codex has built a name as the industry standard when it comes to capturing digital movie footage direct from camera, with the company’s products used on such blockbusters as Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, and The Avengers. Given the industry’s shift from traditional film to direct digital capture, Codex is at the center of efforts to safely record, transport, and store this data. It presents a costly challenge.

“A typical shoot costs $100,000 to $200,000 per day and generates 3TB-5TB of content,” says Ben Perry, Operations Manager at Codex. “So it makes us quite nervous when we hear people say ‘oh, we’ll just put it on the hard drive.’ It’s our job to get that data protected on LTO tape as soon as possible.”

Yet with films routinely requiring 300-400 tapes for storage, efficiency can be a major concern. Moreover, the need to constantly restore archives during the editing process can create a management nightmare. A typical final editing cut will call for two seconds from this clip, three from that one, etc. When each clip is found on a separate tape, assembling footage can be laborious.

To address these issues, Codex has embraced Quantum’s Linear Tape File System (LTFS) technology solution. LTFS allows the use of tape almost as if it were a hard disk. Files can be accessed directly using a simple point and click.

Benefit: Ease of Use

With LTFS, Codex has been able to deliver several key benefits. The first comes during the ingest process, where LTFS allows for easy appending of footage—i.e., content—to any tape at any time using a simple file transfer.

Quantum’s LTFS products also help Codex customers during the editing process by making it possible to easily grab individual clips without the need to restore an entire archive to an attached storage area network. That further lowers costs and speeds up editing—an important consideration as digital production gets more complex.

“Every hard drive dies eventually, and it’s possible to lose major portions of filming, or even an entire movie,” Perry says. “Anything we can do to facilitate the process of getting footage onto tape helps. So LTFS is a great fit.”