International Automotive Parts Leader Revs Up Media Production with Xcellis and CatDV

When international automotive aftermarket giant MPA found their video training team stuck in the slow lane, they turned to Quantum Xcellis® Workflow Storage and CatDV Media Asset Management software. The result was turbo-charged production, agile collaboration, and lightning-fast automated archiving and retrieval.

With a focus on manufacturing and remanufacturing a broad range of products for cars and trucks, Motorcar Parts of America (MPA) is an international leader in the automotive aftermarket. MPA distributes its products across the U.S. and Canada under its own brands and those of its private-label partners.

Instructional Videos Critical for Training and Support
“One of the keys to MPA’s continued success,” says Joe Micallef, the company’s multimedia production manager, “is that we recognized very early that we needed an innovative approach to training, service and support, along with our world-class manufacturing and quality.” Part of that program included an early emphasis on video training, so MPA took on the task of creating and editing its own training content to help both professional mechanics and DIYers install and maintain the company’s products.

Historically, the company produced high-quality content on its Apple workstations. However, this approach made it difficult for the team to share content between editors and reuse existing material. “In the very beginning, a lot of what we were doing was just basically passing thumb drives back and forth,” Micallef remembers.

Finding a Better Solution
The MPA team decided to upgrade its production and editing systems and sought help from Sunset Studios—an integrator that specializes in helping clients set up production facilities to meet their media workflow requirements. The Sunset Studios team helped MPA create and modernize a full-blown studio that includes four-camera recording in a two-bay garage facility that is now supported by a high-performance data sharing and archiving storage capability.

John Edwards, Sunset Studio principal, explains, “Our phase two of this project entailed a Fibre Channel network with media asset management software, as well as the need for a modern and full-featured production storage and archive solution. At the end of our evaluation, we chose Quantum and CatDV.”

The system that Sunset Studios installed for MPA was based on Quantum’s Xcellis Scale-out workflow storage and CatDV media asset management from Square Box Systems. Quantum’s StorNext®-powered Xcellis storage appliance is a scalable solution designed to give media production teams high-speed shared access to critical data to increase collaboration, simplify management and accelerate production timelines.

Tight Integration Between Xcellis and CatDV
The Xcellis solution is also tightly integrated with the CatDV Media Asset Management toolset that MPA selected as their asset management and workflow control software. “CatDV enables editors to build custom tags for recalling the content that they’re looking for when they need it, and it happens very quickly over the Fibre Channel network,” Edwards explains.

Automated Hi-Res Builds and Web-Based Collaboration Features
One key advantage of the new system is that it makes it easy to carry out the edits in low-res proxy formats, which can make the initial editing faster and easier to carry out. Once the program is set, the CatDV system automatically pulls the high-res content from the Xcellis archive and builds the final version.

Cutting-Edge Video Production Now in the Fast Lane
The new facility and its state-of-the art video capture, editing, storage and archiving systems helped the company launch its own YouTube Channel in 2016, and allows the team to more rapidly create even better content, and keep up more effectively with product changes and new customers. “Basically, everything that we do now is going to YouTube,” says Micallef, “because most installers, especially do-it-yourselfers, are going to YouTube to find a solution.”

Thanks to the new system, creating and maintaining that content has become easier than ever. “Now we can pull content from previous shoots and do it quickly using CatDV and Quantum,” says Micallef. “Having an advanced storage architecture powered by StorNext has really allowed us to collaborate like never before, and it’s made our training videos the talk of the industry.”