Bonfire Labs

"The editing performance our employees are getting at home with Synology is faster than the performance they were getting prior to leaving the office." Jim Bartel

The Company

Founded in 2009, Bonfire Labs is a creative content agency based in San Francisco, CA. They create promotional and narrative video content for large brands, and maintain long-term partnerships by integrating closely with in-house teams. This collaborative structure allows Bonfire to iterate on projects faster than would be possible with a more traditional agency model, which decreases project turnaround times.

The Challenge

Bonfire Labs was using a fiber channel-based server for all in-studio editing and production. That system was intended only for local collaboration, and had become cost-prohibitive to maintain and expand. When Bonfire transitioned to remote work in 2020, their previous system was not able to support their needs, and required a large footprint in an office space that Bonfire no longer needed.

Additionally, because their clients relied on rapid turnaround times and frequent collaboration, Bonfire needed a solution that could support fast transfer speeds comparable to the previous fiber-based system, but for their now exclusively remote editors.

The Solution

As a part of their transition to going fully remote, Bonfire rented out space in a data center where they deployed three 12-bay Synology NAS. The first NAS holds 60 terabytes of storage and automatically duplicates incoming footage from camera drives to the NAS using Synology's USB Copy feature. The second NAS is Bonfire's main production NAS, which holds 100TB of storage in total. The third is an identical unit with 120TB of capacity, and serves purely as a backup NAS. Using Synology Hyper Backup, a license-free backup software included with the Synology NAS, the backup NAS takes "snapshots" of both of the other NAS every three hours for quick recovery in case of data loss.

Using Synology Presto File Server, a high-speed file transfer protocol included with the Synology NAS, footage can be quickly duplicated from the main production NAS to eight different Synology NAS in the homes of Bonfire's remote editors, assistant editors, and VFX artists. Each remote NAS holds 40 to 80 terabytes of storage capacity, and is linked to each employee's Apple workstation via a local 10GbE connection.

Lastly, Bonfire maintains a small office for on-site collaboration with four iMac workstations and another large Synology NAS holding 54 terabytes of storage. This unit is synchronized via Presto File Server to Bonfire's main production NAS so that editors working from the office can access footage as soon as it is taken in at the data center. The in-studio Synology unit is also equipped with dual 25 gigabit Ethernet ports, which provide enough bandwidth for each iMac to maintain a dedicated 10 gigabit connection with the Synology NAS via an on-site network switch.

The Benefits

Synology supported Bonfire's transition to remote production in ways that were not possible with their previous server solution. Because footage is synced from the main data center to all remote Synology NAS, employees can edit directly from their local Synology NAS and changes to projects are immediately reflected across all devices.  Additionally, Synology's QuickConnect gives over 30 freelancers and non-editors immediate access to Bonfire's NAS data via a simple web app. This simplifies the onboarding and collaboration process for contract workers without requiring specialized equipment or training.

Bonfire Labs was also able to minimize their office footprint by transitioning their storage to off-site Synology NAS. Bonfire's 60 terabyte NAS allows production assistants to plug camera drives directly into the unit and automatically download that footage into Bonfire's storage infrastructure. This process decreases the risk of losing footage, quickens project turnaround times, and allows mobile drives to be wiped and immediately redeployed for other projects.

Finally, transitioning to Synology allowed Bonfire Labs to restructure their workflow for remote production while lowering costs compared to the fiber channel-based system. In total, Bonfire's Synology setup cost one third of the system it replaced without sacrificing performance. Bonfire also saved more than two thousand dollars per month in software licensing fees that were necessary to run the outgoing system.


Recommended Models

  • DS1621+
  • FS6400
  • FS3400
  • RS2421+

Recommended Features

  • Collaborative video editing over 10GbE studio network
  • Remote video editing via 10GbE home workstations
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