Backblaze solves every single one of my asks. The ease is unbelievable, the support is fantastic, and it works smoothly with other S3-compatible services.
Jon Fast, Director of Production Operations, Fiture
With an ambitious production schedule and huge quantities of raw footage coming in constantly, digital fitness company Fiture was rapidly running out of room on their Synology network attached storage (NAS) device. To free up space locally and streamline production workflows, they set out to find a cloud storage solution they could implement immediately and scale with in the long term.
Fiture is a digital fitness company that brings the exercise studio into your home with a smart mirror and proprietary Motion Engine technology to track performance and provide real-time form corrections. After dominating the market in China, Fiture decided to expand into the U.S. and Europe. In just eight months, Fiture’s New York-based team produced over 500 instructional fitness videos spanning content for everyone from total beginners to fitness fiends—and they’re just getting started.
If you had eight months to create 500 top-quality videos from scratch, could you do it? That was the mandate that faced Jon Fast when he took the helm of Fiture’s just-opened New York City branch as director of production operations. After dominating the Chinese digital fitness market since the company’s founding in 2019, Fiture decided to put the success of their U.S. expansion plans in Fast’s hands.
By their deadline, Fast and his team had surpassed their ambitious goal with a total of 507 fully-produced fitness videos. But that success presented a new challenge: as banked content piled up, Fast realized that he was rapidly running out of storage space on his 200TB Synology NAS device. Fiture’s instructional fitness videos range from 5–30 minutes in length, and they’re all shot in 4K using four cameras. That means that the raw files for each individual video include the live edit from Fast’s live-to-tape control room and four isolated camera recordings in 4K quality, plus the finished line cut, fully mastered instructor audio, and playlists exported in stereo sound.
Fast attempted to make room by moving files from the NAS onto a 400TB RAID drive, but it was a band-aid fix that led to an arduous manual process and took up valuable team bandwidth. That’s when Fast turned to systems integrator Bridge Digital to discuss solving Fiture’s long-term cloud storage situation.
Fast knew Bridge Digital’s President and Founder, Richie Murray, from their time solving digital video problems together at Fuse and Peloton, so there was already trust built into the relationship. “Richie said ‘You need to talk to the folks at Backblaze,’” Fast remembers. “‘Not only can they help you out, but they can help you out immediately.’”
Taking into account the volume of Fiture’s media library and the urgency of their storage problem, Murray recommended Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage as the clear front-runner and best way forward: “I felt like Backblaze was a safe, performant, and cost-effective solution for where Jon and Fiture were,” he says.
As a B2 Cloud Storage reseller, Murray had access to one additional tool for the Fiture team: Backblaze’s B2 Reserve capacity-based pricing model. With B2 Reserve, Murray was able to provide Fast with 500TB of storage capacity for the video team to grow into over the coming years. Additionally, B2 Reserve offered free transaction calls, no delete penalties, and premium support including a four-hour response service-level agreement (SLA) in addition to complimentary access to Backblaze’s Universal Data Migration service—which covers all data transfer costs and legacy vendor egress fees when moving data into Backblaze B2.
In addition to solving the immediate storage problem, Backblaze also gave Murray the confidence that the team would be able to grow and scale with the solution down the line: “B2 Cloud Storage solves the pain point, but it’s also a safe place for tomorrow so that we can add technology on top when we’re ready.”
I felt like Backblaze was a safe, performant, and cost-effective solution.
Richie Murray, President and Founder, Bridge Digital
At the end of the day, one of the things that really got Fast’s heart rate up was the ease, speed, and convenience of Backblaze’s Universal Data Migration service. The service includes a range of solutions to help organizations easily migrate data from various cloud, on-premises, and tape sources. Given that Fiture's videos were housed within an on-premises NAS device and their aim was to move quickly without disrupting any other production, Backblaze sent Fiture two Fireball rapid ingest devices—96TB storage arrays with 10GigE connectivity—so Fiture could off-load their banked footage in days without tying up bandwidth. They then returned the Fireballs to Backblaze for secure, direct upload to B2 Cloud Storage. Knowing that Backblaze would archive Fiture’s media in their bucket as soon as they sent the Fireballs back gave Fast one less thing to worry about.
Fast also wanted to avoid tying up bandwidth on his five dedicated edit computers, and S3 compatibility was a priority because Fiture uses AWS as their transcoder. Another priority was getting the new solution up and running immediately: “We wanted something we could implement as soon as the ink dried on the paper,” he says.
But just after starting the migration process, Fiture moved to a new NYC office. Despite the disruption, Fast was able to get everything up and running immediately: “While we were still building our set and writing our control room, our editors could continue dumping footage into Backblaze and editing at the same time. It was a really quick effort.”
All new footage shot since they started working with Backblaze was archived immediately, while some files banked prior to the start of the initial migration still need to be ingested. As Fast and his team settle into their new U.S. headquarters, completing the migration of the older files is returning to the top of their list.
Fiture still adheres to an aggressive production schedule, shooting at least 60 pieces of unique content a week. All new footage is immediately archived into Fiture’s Backblaze B2 Bucket, and is also stored locally on the company’s NAS for 60 days. Beyond the 60-day mark, Fiture’s media management team archives any content that hasn’t already been backed up and scrubs it from the NAS to free up space for more recent footage. Because so much of Fiture’s raw content is banked weeks or months before videos are scheduled for release, Fiture editors are still working with raw footage stored in Backblaze B2 (as opposed to editing files stored locally) about 60% of the time.
Beyond solving the on-prem storage capacity problem with scalable archive storage through B2 Cloud Storage, Backblaze also unlocked other benefits for Fast. Instead of having to manage remote network access for every employee that needed to work with Fiture’s media files, Fast can issue credentials to anyone on his team, anywhere in the world. “Being able to work from your own personal laptop or your work-issued Mac Pro instead of having to remote into our network to access footage has streamlined our post-production workflow tenfold,” Fast says.
Fiture’s future plans are focused on implementing a media asset management or digital asset management system that will support more granular access controls. While the fact that Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage can be accessed from anywhere is important for Fiture’s often on-the-go team, Murray is excited about using proxy access to limit potential risks. “Having the ability to pull from an archive for a multitude of reasons is a big deal,” Murray says. Access controls in combination with Backblaze B2's agile archives means that marketing staff and other employees who aren’t as familiar with production processes will be able to view files freely without worrying about accidentally moving a file or removing it from storage completely.
Being able to work from your own personal laptop or your work-issued Mac Pro instead of having to remote into our network to access footage has streamlined our post-production workflow tenfold.
Jon Fast, Director, Production Operations, Fiture
With expertise in digital video workflows and the technologies that make them work better, Bridge Digital helps creators and owners of digital content build the infrastructure required to create, manage, distribute, and monetize their video assets effectively.
The Backblaze B2 Storage Cloud is purpose-built for ease. It offers always-hot, S3 compatible object storage that supports your workflows via third-party software integrations, APIs, CLI, and web UI. And it’s priced for easy affordability at rates a fraction of other cloud providers. Businesses in more than 175 countries use the platform to host content, build and run applications, manage media, back up and archive data, and protect and recover from ransomware.