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Case study

WebMD | Medscape Uses LucidLink to Streamline Global Media Workflows 

“LucidLink helped us seamlessly transition from a local NAS workflow to a cloud-based workflow.” 

Introduction

At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, many organizations began looking for ways to move to the cloud. Companies needed to quickly adapt to remote work situations and provide employees with essential services to keep workflows up and running. Since sneakernet, shipping media on hard drives, and working off a local server were no longer viable options for several industries, companies had to figure out new ways for remote employees to access, share, and collaborate on data. 

LucidLink’s customer WebMD, owned by Internet Brands, was no different. The Executive Director, Zachary Bennett, oversees video operations of all online properties within the WebMD Network. The multimedia team comprises 20 full-time editors and 17 producers worldwide and produces over 200 videos monthly. The digital content generated from video production is attaining new growth levels with 4K video, virtual reality, 3D graphics, and their ever-growing global video presence.

Business Challenge 

With productions happening worldwide, all assets had to be delivered to the New York NAS. Crews would use whatever systems possible to either upload or ship footage to their headquarters so they could continue editing and collaborating. Producers utilized systems like Aspera, Media Shuttle, Dropbox, and WeTransfer to deliver the footage. Still, with file sizes becoming larger, sometimes terabytes in size, those transfer systems were not reliable enough, and footage needed to be physically shipped via FedEx or DHL. 

After the onset of COVID 19, all their offices closed down, and everyone began working remotely. That meant that they no longer had a central location to receive hard drives from the field or a means for everyone to access the New York NAS. With the entire team working remotely, the production process had to change drastically, which created a considerable gap in the workflow. 

Video editors had to either remotely connect to their office workstations to access the content via the server or connect directly to the server over VPN. Both methods were subpar. WebMD needed a shared storage solution to enable access, editing, and sharing of media files and collaboration on projects from anywhere. 

Solution

Zachary Bennett, Executive Director, looked at many solutions to adapt to the “new normal” for remote workflows, and none seemed to suffice. Zachary consulted with GRS, a full-service media production and post-production studio and longtime vendor of WebMD. GRS recommended LucidLink Filespaces, a cloud-native file system that provides immediate access to data files from anywhere. LucidLink has a track record of working with post-production houses and helping remote creative teams quickly access media assets in the cloud.

Since LucidLink Filespaces is a cloud solution designed explicitly for extensive data access over distance, it is ideal for media and entertainment workloads where file size and distance often inhibit data access. Using LucidLink, organizations securely run file-based workloads on object storage or Azure Blob and achieve maximum efficiency and productivity in their workflows. LucidLink has been a game-changer for WebMD.

“LucidLink has allowed us to get back up to speed and continue to output high-quality productions. It has helped us become more efficient than ever, even as we increase the number of programs produced,” said Zachary Bennett, Executive Director, WebMD. 

“LucidLink helped us seamlessly transition from a local NAS workflow to a cloud-based workflow.” 

“There was no way we would have been able to keep up with this work without LucidLink. It did save us. I tried so many systems,” said Zachary Bennett. “It was so easy, not only to start using, but our workflow didn’t have to change at all, and the LucidLink team has been so supportive in getting us up to speed and taking our concerns into consideration.”

With LucidLink, the global production team at WebMD shares, edits, and collaborates on projects in one centralized repository in the cloud, like working off their local drive. The multimedia team can:

Since LucidLink works with all standard NLE tools, WebMD editors can seamlessly use the entire Adobe Suite, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and After Effects to create projects for its media properties. 

Results 

In comparing 2019 with 2020, WebMD determined that it will not rely on a local NAS system. With a worldwide footprint, flexibility is a necessity for all remote workers and global productions. Using LucidLink, WebMD keeps the same workflow but puts its brick-and-mortar service into the cloud. “Teams don’t have to VPN into the office NAS to work,” Bennet said. LucidLink puts us ahead of the game.”

Delivering daily news

With the help of LucidLink, In March 2020, WebMD began producing, for the first time, a daily news show called Coronavirus in Context with Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD. 

LucidLink connects all TV studios.

WebMD has TV studios in New York, North Carolina, Atlanta, Paris, The Hague, Munich, and a new studio in Chicago. They have found with LucidLink that they can now connect media from all those locations, something they could not do before. “LucidLink solved problems that we didn’t necessarily know we were trying to solve,” said Zachary. 

Summary

Filespaces provide the scalability, security, and performance to meet the global demands of video production. The entire worldwide WebMD and Medscape video production team uses LucidLink, enabling them to streamline the whole production process. All of WebMD’s media assets are in one centralized cloud repository. Now, every production crew member can upload files directly to the cloud from any location, and producers and editors can finally work together seamlessly from any part of the world.  

As a result, WebMD can:

WebMD sees the benefits of using LucidLink, confirming, “When we found out about LucidLink, it was a dream come true.”

SaaS offering, no hardware or IT support required

End-to-end security encryption

Works with any object storage

Instant on-demand file access from anywhere