South African production studio Rapid Blue uses EFS storage and FLOW to improve efficiency, speed and workflows, and help their staff keep up with a fast-paced slate of TV programming.

EditShare rapid blu fixing

Rapid Blue production company in Johannesburg produces content ranging in genre from long-running drama series Is’thunzi to studio shows like Family Feud South Africa and Last One Laughing South Africa, and location-based reality programs like The Bachelor and Come Dine With Me South Africa. Rapid Blue, as part of BBC Studios’ international group of production companies, is also the South African producer of international regulars such as The Great South African Bake Off and Dancing with the Stars.

Security First

These productions result in large volumes of content that often need very rapid turnaround times. When its central storage system reached end-of-life and began to cause serious reliability issues, Rapid Blue looked for a system that would deliver content security as the top priority. Workflows needed to be fast, straightforward and cost effective, and handle both of Rapid Blue’s NLEs, Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic Design  DaVinci Resolve.

After working through a system selection process with supplier Protea Broadcast & Multimedia, an EFS 300 storage system was purchased from EditShare. Rapid Blue has installed a 280TB storage network used with EditShare FLOW media management and workflow software, which allows multiple users direct access for review and approval, and supports large post production teams. As EditShare’s local partner, Protea Broadcast & Multimedia implemented the system alongside Rapid Blue to oversee the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the platform.

Workflow Integration

The team is now using the EFS 300 for all of its in-house shows. “The whole facility works from it, and it has performed extremely well,” said Jacques Wolfaardt, Rapid Blue Head of IT. “It hosts nearly all of our productions, and we can connect all of our edit suites – as many as 20 at the same time, on the same content, giving us better productivity and fast turnarounds.”

EditShare rapid blue pexels ron lach 8100067

Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve are tightly integrated into the EditShare FLOW media management functionality. The relevant parts of the shared storage appear as locations within the software, which means editors get direct access to the material they need, and can save their cuts directly to the storage network.

EditShare uses open RESTful APIs to make integration simpler. Even when combining different software as Rapid Blue does, users can set up project sharing and bin locking. This is because the integrations transparently transfer all the necessary project data – sequences, clips, bins, and markers – between applications. Particularly useful for post, EFS is optimised for high performance multi-stream video playback. Its native drivers for Windows, Linux and Mac help increase bandwidth, reduce latency and allow users to connect directly to storage for better workstation performance.

The system retains a single namespace across tiered storage types – nearline disk, SSD and fast HDD – with high scalability. Adding the main MAM functions to the system, FLOW indexes and centralises files from all of these locations and makes them searchable and accessible through a UI.


“FLOW automatically generates high-quality proxies,” Jacques said, “Producers working on their own computers can select the content they need from bulk ingests before it gets to editors – a key step because reality shows normally generate a massive amount of content. Producers can also review and approve cuts, all without tying up edit suites just to look at material.

EditShare FLOW Automation

“That saves us time and resources, and makes us much more efficient. We also use the workflow automation in FLOW. It creates all the deliverables in different formats, and delivers them to the associated FTP sites, without involving staff or facilities.”

James Macpherson of Protea Broadcast & Multimedia remarked, “Reliability was a key deciding factor for Rapid Blue, and we could show them that EditShare leads in that area. In production, deadlines here are often very tight and a day’s delay can be catastrophic, but EditShare has delivered the performance they need with no downtime.”