Screen shot of the Facilis management system
SAN DIEGO — Serving 42 school districts, 119 charter schools and five community college districts is a tall order for San Diego’s County Office of Education, but the institution is well equipped to handle everything from school improvements to budget approval – even a TV station. Run by executive producer Doug Gilmore, SDCOE’s iTV-16 creates and distributes a wide range of content, from academic programming to daily news and district event coverage.
The station is also responsible for developing training videos and e-books for teachers. Managing all the raw data and files for these projects requires a talented crew and a high-performance shared storage solution — for which iTV-16 uses a Facilis TerraBlock 24D. At the center of iTV-16’s facility, TerraBlock is connected via 10 GB Ethernet to six editorial suites that run Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, Compressor and Motion.
Before introducing TerraBlock into iTV-16’s workflow, Gilmore and his crew considered a number of solutions, carefully examining feature sets and market pricing, while also fielding advice from industry friends. Gilmore and his team decided on TerraBlock, which was integrated into the operation’s workflow.
SDCOE’s Doug Gilmore works on the facility’s equipment.
“Out of all the people we spoke with, Facilis received the most glowing praises; the fact that TerraBlock offered the most value out of all the systems, was just icing on top of the cake,” Gilmore said. “And, it’s definitely made an impression.”
The ability to access files from anywhere in the facility using TerraBlock has saved Gilmore’s team hours, and even as the system reaches capacity, Gilmore continues to see solid performance.
“With the TerraBlock, we’re working in a whole new way, and we’re more productive than we’ve ever been,” he said. “I no longer have to go over to an edit suite to review a project; I can just pull the project volume up on my desktop through the TerraBlock interface, and make my notes or request changes like that. And even if the system is 95 percent full, there’s not a noticeable impact on how we’re working, which is a huge step up from the past.”
Gilmore also noted that the system is easy to use.
“I also love the simplicity of TerraBlock’s UI, and that I can easily create and expand volumes on my own; basically you can do a ton of useful things on it, on an ongoing basis, without any hassle,” he said. “The system is also so reliable that I don’t give it a second thought; we’ve come to trust it that it will do what it is supposed to do.”
Annually, iTV-16 and SDCOE run a K-12 student video competition and festival dubbed “Innovative Video in Education” which features hundreds of videos from aspiring student filmmakers representing schools across the county. iTV-16’s crew sorts through all the material and cuts it together for a special festival and award ceremony in honor of the students and their work.
TerraBlock has become integral to the event, allowing Gilmore and team to format the videos as needed, share files and get a clear picture of how the timeline is coming along.
“Though ‘Innovative Video in Education’ is traditionally an extremely time-consuming project, TerraBlock has streamlined our process and made it much smoother for everyone to work together,” Gilmore said.
Though Gilmore rarely runs into technical issues, he maintains an open line of communication with Facilis’ sales and support team, providing feedback on additional features that might prove useful.
“It’s been refreshing working with Facilis’ sales and support teams, because they’re very responsive,” he said. “If I send them an update about a feature that might improve the system, they reply quickly, pass it along and consider integrating it into the next update. Often times you work with an organization, and they don’t always take your recommendations into account, but the company really listens to us.”