By Jason Coari, Global Director, Product and Solution Marketing at Quantum
Focused on manufacturing and remanufacturing a broad range of products for cars and trucks, Motorcar Parts of America (MPA) has become a household name and international leader in the automotive aftermarket. MPA distributes its products across the U.S. and Canada under its own brands and those of its private-label partners. Today its supply chain, manufacturing and test facilities maintain a common quality standard throughout its operations spanning the United States, Mexico, Canada, Malaysia and China. Over the years, the company has continued to grow, and in 2018 will have nearly half a billion U.S. dollars in annual revenue.
But MPA’s commitment to quality manufacturing worldwide is only part of the equation when it comes to its growth and success. The company recognized very early that an innovative approach to training, service, and support would help give MPA an edge. As part of this approach, MPA puts a strong emphasis on video training. Early on, MPA began creating and editing its own training content to help both professional mechanics and DIYers correctly install and maintain the company’s products.
Historically, the company produced high-quality content on its Apple workstations. However, this approach made it difficult for the team to share content between editors and to reuse existing material.
According to Joe Micallef, MPA’s multimedia production manager, “In the very beginning, a lot of what we were doing was just basically passing thumb drives back and forth. When we wanted to actually retrieve footage to get content from a shoot that we did earlier, we could spend hours just looking for a bit of content.”
MPA decided to upgrade its production and editing systems and looked to integrator Sunset Studios for help. The integrator specializes in planning for and setting up production facilities that meet clients’ media workflow requirements. Working with Sunset Studios, MPA created a complete, modernized studio that includes four-camera recording in a two-bay garage facility supported by a high-performance data sharing and archiving storage capability.
The second phase of the project entailed a Fibre Channel network with media asset management software, as well as modern and full-featured production storage and archive.
The system is based on Quantum’s Xcellis scale out workflow storage and CatDV media asset management from Squarebox. Quantum’s StorNext-powered Xcellis storage appliance is a scalable solution designed to give media production teams high-speed shared access to critical data to increase collaboration, simplify management and accelerate production timelines.
MPA selected a Quantum system that includes an Xcellis Workflow Director for management and client connectivity, Brocade Fibre Channel networking and Quantum QXS RAID storage. Now powered by a StorNext file system, instead of each editor working on an isolated workstation, the entire production team can share and access files from a centralized data pool. As the MPA content repository grows over time, the team will be able to cost-effectively add an archive tier of storage within the same global namespace. The Xcellis solution is also tightly integrated with MPA’s CatDV Media Asset Management software. CatDV gives MPA an end-to-end asset management solution that allows digital media content to be tracked, tagged, archived, and re-accessed quickly and easily in a shared storage environment.
One advantage of the new system is that it makes it easy to carry out edits in low-res proxy formats, which can make initial editing faster and easier. Once the program is set, the CatDV system automatically pulls the high-res content from the Xcellis archive and builds the final version. A second important feature for MPA’s team is the system’s ability to provide web-based collaboration for projects that involve private-label clients using Akomi software with CatDV.
“Akomi’s web-based interface makes things a lot easier for us here in the studio,” Micallef said. “We can brand the videos specifically for our customers, and then give them the ability to add any comments that they want.”
The new MPA studio and its state-of-the-art video capture, editing, storage, and archiving systems helped the company launch its own YouTube Channel in 2016, and allows the team to more rapidly create even better content while effectively keeping up with product changes and new customers.
“Basically, everything that we do now is going to YouTube because most installers, especially do-it-yourselfers, are going there to find a solution,” added Micallef.
Thanks to the new system, it has never been easier for MPA to create and maintain video content. “Now we can pull content from previous shoots and do it quickly using CatDV and Quantum,” said Micallef. “Having an advanced storage architecture powered by StorNext has really allowed us to collaborate like never before, and it’s made our training videos the talk of the industry.”