CASE STUDIES

Punched In the Head Productions

Brooklyn, NY
New Post Production Facility: Robust, Efficient and Hurricane-safe

Organization:

Punched in the Head Productions, a mom-and-pop company founded by Craig and Amelia D’Entrone, has been developing its own television shows for networks like MTV and Bravo since 2004. The company produced The Freshman Class for The Cooking Channel and pieces for the Sundance film festival. Punched in the Head has several Reality TV shows in the works, and prides itself on creating, from start-to-finish, “serious documentaries about not-so-serious people.”

Project:

Launched in the owner’s small basement and growing incrementally for the past decade, Punched in the Head Productions recently expanded to a full production and post-production facility occupying the basement and first floor of a Brooklyn office building.

Rather than renting post-production facilities as needed in New York City, the company sought to move all operations into one building, reducing costs and streamlining the workflow. “We needed to increase capacity to be able to work on three or four shows simultaneously, with systems that would accommodate additional growth,” said Post Production Supervisor Jonas Bender Nash.

The Punched in the Head team, which includes Nash, COO Heidi H. Hamlin, and Unit Supervisor Meagan Maudsley, selected technology systems integrator VCA to design and integrate 10 post-production editing suites, four assistant editor work stations, four producer editing rooms and an online room on the lower level, with most of the sensitive components housed in a first floor machine room.
To fill the client’s post-production and editing needs, VCA specified an Avid ISIS 5500 64-TB unit for shared storage and a BlackMagic Universal Video Hub Router to route AV signals to any workstation in the facility, enabling collaboration between editors in different rooms. A Yamaha MGH2CX mixer is included for audio mixing, using only four of the eight inputs giving the client space for growth. Similarly, the seven racks in the machine room are only partially filled, leaving room for expansion.

Work stations in each edit suite are equipped with dual JVC broadcast monitors, an editing control surface and a keyboard; the HP tower for each is housed in the upstairs machine room.

Challenges:

With Hurricane Sandy still fresh on everyone’s minds, the integrator and client had concerns about housing mission critical components in a Brooklyn basement situated near the waterfront. VCA’s focus was to design a facility that would minimize the client’s exposure to the elements in the event of a disaster. This was achieved by placing most of the gear, including the server and work station towers, router, and audio mixer in the first floor central machine room, and elevating the monitors, keyboards and control surfaces to desk level in the basement edit suites. Additionally, electrical outlets were moved to 30 inches from the floor, providing more than two feet of flood clearance in the basement.

On a tight construction schedule, VCA deployed the VCA link process, an engineering service which provides customers with design documents detailing cable pathways, power and cooling requirements, and equipment to be purchased. This service results in cost and is saves time for the customer.
Punched in the Head’s Maudsley noted that she was impressed by the way the VCA team collaborated with the production company’s IT staff to ensure the project went smoothly. “They worked to make sure our IT people had everything they needed.”
Nash added, “VCA has a very good track record and turned out to be the right choice to get the project done in a timely and cost-effective manner.”

Result:

The ISIS server and BlackMagic router enable easy collaboration between team members in the facility, save the production company time and money, and rival anything the staff has used in Manhattan post-production facilities.
“When you manage your own equipment and space, you don’t have to work around other people’s hours. If you need a little extra space or time, you don’t have to worry about additional charges,” Nash said. “Having all the capabilities we need at our fingertips has made everything less complicated and having everyone in the same building has made the workflow much faster than we ever imagined.”