Since its inception in 1995, Nomad Editing has been offering creative editorial company with integrated CG, visual effects, graphics and sound design for commercials, Internet advertising and feature films. Twenty years later, the company’s operations have expanded from its Santa Monica headquarters to encompass operations in New York and London, delivering spots for some of the world’s biggest brands.
Nomad collaborates with advertising agencies such as Media Arts Lab, Wieden + Kennedy, TBWA, Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett and BBDO, for a multitude of companies, including Starbucks, Bridgestone Tyres, Pepsi, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, Lexus, American Express, Facebook, Visa, Nike, Samsung and T-Mobile. They have also collaborated with directors Traktor, Kinka Usher, Michael Bay, Frederik Bond, Dayton/Feris, Gerard de Theme and Guy Ritchie.
The company has a strong relationship with Bruckheimer Films and has worked on feature projects with DreamWorks, Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox. Over the years, Nomad editors have cut music videos for high-profile artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Madonna, Tom Petty, Michael Jackson and Bon Jovi.
That’s a lot of work diversity, and it’s a lot of assets. To keep track of it its massive and ever-expanding volume of assets alive for 24/7 review and reuse, Nomad calls on a combination of CatDV and Akomi.
“Nomad has always championed creative people and provides facilities in an atmosphere that enables them to focus on inspiration and execution,” says Matthew Poletto, technical producer at Nomad Editing. “This ethos extends to having a fully-functioning and easily-accessible library of assets. The creative teams with whom we collaborate worldwide constantly want to review and possibly reuse old materials, as well as view work-in-progress. Thanks to CatDV with Akomi we have complete control over a massive archive of advertising assets and can deliver an efficient, accurate and collaborative MAM service across local, national and international locations and across different time zones.”
Easy, Fast Access
“A dynamic of our business is that advertising clients always want to reference previous projects and rushes, for all manner of creative and practical reasons,” says Poletto. “Back in the day when the company first started, the pace of work was slower and the need to find assets was less. Finding materials on videotapes, hard drives and consolidated onto DVDs from data in a spreadsheet was slow, but doable. As Nomad grew we invested in an LTO-tape machine for archiving, and that was okay too for a while, for retrieving assets, as we could access file names and restore in a decent enough amount of time.”
However, things changed as Nomad began to grow with additional clients, new operations in New York and London, and a dramatic increase in the size of original RAW media it was starting to handle from the then-new breed of digital cameras.
“What’s more, with the blossoming of the Internet and mobile telephone communications, clients became accustomed to faster gratification of their requests – they wanted and expected to see their media much quicker,” he explains. “Our existing LTO-tape system was getting swamped, finding media was in danger of becoming a guessing game, and that reflects badly.
“Driven by our client needs in a rapidly changing world, where the volume of media would only continue to mushroom, we recognized the need to take our MAM to another level entirely, and decided to invest in a more intelligent, flexible and scalable way to manage our assets globally. With CatDV and Akomi in place, searching for clips takes just a few minutes.”
According to Poletto this solution worked for Nomad on a number of levels. “We also liked Square Box’s progressive attitude towards integrating CatDV with other vendors — such as the LTO-tape archiving system from StorageDNA and North Shore Automation’s client-facing Akomi system — and we could see a clear, cost-effective path to scale-up into a larger enterprise system in the future.”
“For a small company we generate an outrageous amount of media,” he says. “Along with high-resolution RAW camera rushes, and 4K DPX, CG and VFX files, we also create many different versions and lengths of each commercial, as well as wide range of deliverables for different distribution platforms. While all of that media needs to be archived safely to LTO, only a certain proportion needs to be instantly searchable — mainly low-rez proxies of the rushes, work-in-progress and final commercials.”
In most media management workflows, assets in the MAM system are sent to archive after a project is complete. However, to handle the high-asset count at Nomad with optimal efficiency, the assets for a project are archived to DNA Evolution first and, through middleware developed by North Shore, only the required media — proxies of rushes and completed jobs, plus associated metadata — are parsed to CatDV.
“By enabling CatDV and DNA Evolution to communicate intelligently together, and by enabling DNA Evolution to tell CatDV what’s been archived, we have effectively flipped the archiving workflow around, hence the ‘reverse archive’ workflow,” explains Poletto.
Along with client-side search and review, Nomad is also using the integration of CatDV with Akomi to enhance creative collaboration between its three different offices.
For example, a cut made by an Adobe Premiere Pro editor in Los Angeles can be dropped into an Akomi folder and rapidly published to multiple recipients for viewing and annotation using CatDV Worker Node.
“The traditional route of uploading work-in-progress to the cloud is notoriously slow and, possibly, insecure,” he comments. “With CatDV and Akomi the assets are published in seconds. What’s more, a finishing artist in New York or London can pick up the project with the certainty of having the correct assets, and the latest cut, eliminating the possibility of any costly errors. The international barriers of distance and time have gone. The workflow is now more unified between our sites and were closer as a company.”
Poletto also notes: “We absolutely love the new integration of Advanced CatDV Panels with Adobe Premiere. From within Premiere an editor can easily search for and pull-in any media from CatDV, and it all looks very fast and streamlined in the client-attend session.”