ERA client - University of Salford

The problems

The solutions

The results


For the University of Salford, delivering a state-of-the-art campus at MediaCityUK would allow it to offer new graduate and post-graduate courses for tomorrow’s broadcast journalists and production specialists. This multi-purpose building was also established to house first-class media research facilities and provide a sought-after location for the UK and international commercial production community.

The move to these new facilities provided an ideal opportunity to resolve the University’s lack of technological integration and supply the proper IT infrastructure to meet the changing demands of a more agile, global community.

Client challenges

Traditionally, the University’s studios, post-production areas and laboratories operated in silos, with media transported on disk or tape between units and all media management carried out manually.

In addition, none of the media systems sat on the core IT systems, so departments’ own technical staff managed functions such as access control and security management.

Creating a file-based collaborative working environment was central to achieving the vision for the new campus. Enabling students and departments to share and collaborate on projects would enhance creative output and deliver significant workflow efficiencies — making media assets more easily accessible and improving inter-departmental project delivery deadlines.

So, the University chose ERA to create the infrastructure that would deliver the collaborative working environment it was striving for.

ERA client - University of Salford - Collaborative workflow infrastructure

ERA’s solution

We delivered solutions for storage and archive, render management, active directory-based authentication, networking and servers — all integrated into a complete and efficient file-based workflow.

Due to the sheer volume of content created and the number of users accessing the system, ERA deployed a bespoke media asset management (MAM) solution developed by Mediasmiths to connect the content islands.

By integrating the MAM with FilmPartners MXFserver media platform, we could connect and support the University’s 160 NLE systems (mainly Avid, FCP and Adobe Premiere edit stations), creating a powerful collaborative workflow for users across the campus.

MXFserver’s platform allows up to 20 projects to connect simultaneously, offering bin-locking, improved project sharing and switching between or merging NLE editing systems. Plus, connection to media is based on virtual files, making it fast, safe and secure.

An open agnostic structure enables users to access, transfer, manage and share content easily — without additional software — to provide the University with exceptional flexibility to tailor workflow and courses to meet changing student and industry demands.

To enable this level of secure project sharing, ERA designed and built a scalable, robust and efficient IT backbone to link all the editing stations and other stations on the network. The IT architecture features Cisco switches, storage and archive servers, an archive tape system and PipelineFX Qube! render management software with full power backup.

Following the successful delivery of the project — from initial workflow analysis and solution architecture to system build — ERA’s team continues to provide ongoing maintenance and technical support for the systems deployed.

ERA client - University of Salford
ERA client - University of Salford

Project outcomes

  • Secure, collaborative post-production environment enables enhanced efficiency and creative output.
  • Bespoke media asset management platform and editing infrastructure offer improved content access, effective project collaboration and maximised productivity.
  • Open and scalable IT infrastructures are integrated into legacy systems, providing future-proof flexibility for evolving workflows.