Church of the Resurrection Video Production Manager Sandy Thailing and his team embarked last summer on a search for a shared storage solution to enable greater collaboration between team members, some working remotely. The team’s goals were to reduce the overhead associated with media production and simplify their technical support challenges. “Our main goal was to have on-premise shared storage for our video editors to access and edit from, eliminating local RAID storage that filled up pretty fast over time,” Thailing says. The team found its solution in creative.space’s //ROGUE PRO and //AUTEUR on-premise managed storage solutions. Learn why they made their decision and how it has impacted their workflow.
Come visit DigitalGlue at booth 421 to learn more about creative.space during the upcoming Church Facilities Expo on Sept. 21-22, 2021, in Dallas.
As the video production manager for Church of the Resurrection (CoR) in Leawood, Kansas, Sandy Thailing leads one of the biggest and most influential mainline denominational churches in the country. In addition to providing content for the church’s multisite midweek and weekend contemporary and traditional worship services, the video team at CoR is also responsible for producing content for areas such as social media, online devotionals, conferences, special events, and a weekly television broadcast. They also provide unique media support for areas like their kid’s ministry, women’s ministry, and recovery ministry.
When COVID-19 severely restricted how ministries could function in 2020, Thailing and his team found themselves faced with dramatically increased demands for content that could be delivered remotely, yet also be produced remotely. “At the time, we had fiber infrastructure in place for networking, but we didn't have the server we needed to manage it all,” Thailing shares.
“We’d been looking hard over the last 2-3 years for something that would help with all of that. When DigitalGlue came along with their creative.space products we got really excited about managing both on-site storage with the //AUTEUR model and protocols for remote production as well.”
"The //AUTEUR [storage server] has really helped us move from five video editors working in a fragmented way," Thailing notes, "with the media assets that couldn't be easily accessed by the other editors. The immediate big push for us was to get everything back to a centralized approach.”
One of the best aspects of DigitalGlue’s creative.space solution for the IT team at CoR ultimately proved to be how easy it was to cede system control back to the video team leadership.
He adds, “The //ROGUE [portable storage server] really helps us stay working and hitting deadlines while everyone is remote. It allows two of our producers to take their cards and drives home, finish the project there, then sync between their //ROGUE and the //AUTEUR. It’s also allowed us to maintain our primary location in our Leawood location, where the //AUTEUR is located, while boosting the immediacy of our remote productivity. For instance, while we film the weekend message at our Saturday service on our main campus, the editing is actually happening remotely in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
Another advantage of utilizing the creative.space solution proved to be just how user-friendly the hardware and software turned out to be. For CoR’s senior network administrator, Dan Leafblad, deploying the servers is both easy and efficient.
“From an IT perspective, the setup on that was almost nothing for us,” Leafblad explains. “We use a network that's peer-to-peer, which was well-supported by the //ROGUE. That meant we could set up direct networking without having to set up credentials. Then, on the software, we were able to set up Spaces, which made it like they were all in the same room together.”
Leafblad adds, “Early on, I anticipated that we'd have to build some kind of VPN connection from the editor's home to the central servers, which could have created serious problems and a clunky experience. With the //ROGUE, we have a more dynamic solution, allowing editors to work seamlessly from anywhere without us having to get them up and running.”
One of the best aspects of DigitalGlue’s creative.space solution for the IT team at CoR ultimately proved to be how easy it was to cede system control back to the video team leadership. “I created a network for everything to work together, then Sandy's just been able to take care of management from there,” states Leafblad. “All of those devices are nodes on our Zero-Tier software-based VPN network, letting them all see each other as though they’re right on the same network.”
On working with the DigitalGlue team to implement creative.space, he says, “We’ve definitely had a good experience working with DigitalGlue on this. I'm used to owning the entire deployment process, and with this system it's been far more hands-off than we’re used to. It's designed in a way that, even if you don't have an in-house IT department, you can likely get away without one.”
On the software side, the creative.space application allows the main administrator to create “Teams,” “Groups,” and “Spaces” for granular control of which users can access specific projects and files. “Spaces help give a producer access to certain things like rendered master files, without the ability to accidentally delete anything,” says Thailing. “It makes it easier to focus on the creative work without having to worry about the IT side of it.”
Thailing adds, “Whoever's going to run creative.space doesn't have to be an IT person, which saves time not having to email someone every time you need something. It just gives you the control you need. Ultimately, we’ve really enjoyed the process of working [with] DigitalGlue and their product creative.space. Their team is so receptive, accommodating, and innovative. It feels like a true partnership experience, and they've really helped us figure out how to make everything work.”
“Having the //ROGUE actually allows us to approach our next steps for the future,” says Thailing. “For instance, one of our new editors wants to work one day a week from home as she's a new mom, but we really weren't set up well for that. Now, thanks to the creative.space product and Microsoft Teams connections, we're way more comfortable with that and flexible for people with families. And the //ROGUE will be a big part of making that more likely.”
In addition, “The //STREAMLINE software that they're developing now should really help things feel a little more like cloud storage with great data management, making hybrid remote production even more likely. We're still in beta testing on that now, but we're eager to see how //STREAMLINE is going to take that kind of power and control into the future.”
Thailing closes, “Ultimately, I want everyone on our team working to their strengths. Because of the demands right now, we're all knocking out our own projects, but these new technologies are letting us start to ask if there might be better ways to help our producers play more to their strengths in regard to shooting, editing, color grading, and things like that. Solving that should allow people to really enjoy their jobs more, and hopefully find even more satisfaction in what they’re doing.”
ALEX SCHWINDT is a filmmaker and writer with over two decades of ministry experience. He’s also the creative director of Alex Schwindt Media, a boutique media agency specializing in commercial, documentary and concept film and video