See How Seagate Solutions Helped Create Season 2 of the Thriller CODE

CODE Season 2, the hottest sci-fi thriller this summer

The first season of CODE aired on Star Chinese Movies in 2017, receiving widespread acclaim, and winning Best Writing for a Mini-series at the 52nd Golden Bell Awards. Building on the popularity of Season One, Fox Networks Group and United Pictures are set to release CODE Season 2. Continuing the story of the previous season, Season 2, in its ten 60-minute episodes, presents a mysterious APP which preys on human weakness, seducing its players with promises of fulfilling their greatest wish, a trap from which there is no escape. Like a lit fuse, events have been set into unstoppable motion, behind which people are fighting for the truth. Season Two stars Chieh-kai Shiou, Aviis Zhong, Shang-Ho Huang, and Eleven Yao Yi-Ti.

An 8K visual treat from director David Chan

To prove that a Taiwanese show is able to rival the best sci-fi thrillers abroad, director David Chan has opted to shoot in ultra-high 8K resolution and strives to match top productions from the US. “Our dream is to create a sci-fi show that people can immerse themselves in,” says David Chan. “High-quality filming and the enhanced equipments are critical to deliver such a superior visual experience.”

In the meanwhile, a need occurs for mass storage in order to accomodate the 8k filing requirements. “Our storage needs are massive and complex, and we need the right storage solution for the right situation. When looking for a storage solution, one of our main considerations is whether a product is tailored to meet the needs of our workflow,” says David.

This is why David decided to go exclusively with Seagate storage solutions for production. “Seagate has products tailored to every step of the video production process, with clearly outlined specifications, along with product recommendations for different stages of the process. I trust Seagate to safeguard the fruits of our labor.”

The stars of CODE Season 2, from left to right: Shang-Ho Huang, Eleven Yao Yi-Ti, Aviis Zhong and Chieh-kai Shiou. (Courtesy of Star Chinese Movies)

The CODE Season 2 team aims to craft a sci-fi thriller that can rival top productions in the US by using dual 5K cameras

For director David Chan, Seagate’s customized hard drive solutions for different stages of the workflow was the biggest reason why he went with their solutions

Lightning-fast file transfers with BarraCuda SSD, so that DIT people don’t have to wait long!

Cinematographer L.T. Chang says each day of shooting results in 6-8 memory cards-worth of files that the digital imaging technician (DIT) must transfer into a hard drive on-scene. This used to be a nightmare for many crews, who often had to sit around waiting for the transfer to complete for 2~3 hours after shooting had ended.

Seagate BarraCuda SSD, when combined in use with AKiTio SK2520 Taurus Mini U3.1 external storage enclosures, changed everything. With lightning-fast BarraCuda SSDs, the contents of a memory card can be transferred in less than 20 minutes. “Now the crew doesn’t have to wait for the DIT to complete the transfer, the DIT is often done before the rest of the crew, and even has time to help with clean up!”, says L.T. with a laugh.

Interior shooting

Cinematographer L.T. Chang shares how the contents of a memory card can be transferred in less than 20 minutes with BarraCuda SSDs

After the DIT copy the files to a hard drive, those are backed-up to three IronWolf PRO hard drives simultaneously via the AKiTiO Thunder3 Quad X

Triple-backup for maximum peace of mind with IronWolf Pro hard drives and AKiTiO Thunder3 Quad X

L.T.’s eyes just light up when he talks about onsite backup. Sharing his experiences with film shooting in the US, L.T. talks about how large-scale productions typically have at least 3 onsite backups. “From location rental fees, to actor fees, and crew salary; every scene is expensive. The loss or damage of a file could mean millions of dollars down the drain. You need onsite backups, and you need to give them to different people in order to mitigate the risk,” says L.T.

The CODE Season 2 team has opted to go with the AKiTiO Thunder3 Quad X storage enclosure with IronWolf Pro hard drives. With the disk array of AKiTiO, files can be simultaneously copied onto three IronWolf Pro hard drives, to be kept separately by the director, producer and cinematographer to reduce the risk of lost files. With the IronWolf Pro, L.T. gets to enjoy average transfer speeds as high as 150 MB/s, much faster than his previous hard drives, which is, in his words, “really amazing”.

No news is good news! Exos enterprise-grade hard drives, editor Liu Bing-Liang’s best friend to work leisurely!

With the increase in picture quality comes the challenge of handling the large number of files in post-production. Editor Liu Bing-Liang says that with 10 episodes, each of them 45-minutes long, the RAW files can add up to more than 100 TB in total; a volume that requires careful planning. “Our equipment is basically running 24/7 during editing, so we need enterprise-grade hard drives capable of handling such a heavy load,” says Liu.

“No news is good news,” says Liu Bing-Liang . “Nothing scares me more than a hard drive problem or crash in the middle of editing.” The CODE Season 2 production uses PetaStor’s high-density AH-8 RAID disk array system (2U/24-bay) equipped with 24 10TB Seagate Exos enterprise-grade hard drives in RAID 6 configuration. “Throughout the editing process, we never encountered any issues with strange noises, overheating, or decreasing in speed over time with the Seagate Exos hard drives. This has made us even more confident about Seagate’s enterprise-grade hard drives.” Liu also has high praise for Exos’ performance. “With transfer speeds in excess of 2200MB/s in RAID 6 configuration, we can load our video with virtually no lag, making the editing process super-smooth.”

Editor Liu Bing-Liang uses Exos enterprise-grade hard drives in post-production for CODE Season 2

Top-notch technical specs, top-notch script, top-notch shooting. A revolutionary step forward for sci-fi thrillers in Taiwan.

At the end of the interview, director David Chan expressed that CODE Season 2 is an attempt to break new ground, and a challenge that his team were eager to take on. “Taiwan has not had many native sci-fi thriller productions combining action and mystery. We have the opportunity to work with a multinational media corporation like Fox Networks Group on this project. We hope to bring a form of Taiwan drama to the audience, at home and abroad, that’s totally different from the idol and romance shows that people are used to. In addition to a carefully crafted storyline that’s filled with mystery and suspense, the show has a good amount of action, and multiple explosions and sci-fi scenes, boasting over 500 special effects shots that deliver a cinema-grade visual experience. Season 2 is set to premiere on Star Chinese Movies. It will be a totally different viewing experinece to the audience, and a good show that meets the international standards.

CODE Season 2 will air in mid-June this year on Star Chinese Movies and Fox+. For Sci-fi and thriller lovers, please stay tuned.


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