Icon Fitness Keeps People Healthy with Help from Facilis

HUDSON, MA (February 19, 2019)Facilis, a leading international supplier of cost-effective, high performance shared storage solutions for collaborative media production networks announced today that Icon Health and Fitness has invested in additional Facilis shared storage networks to support the increased video content demands of its growing business.

Icon Health and Fitness, Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer of exercise equipment. Based in Logan, Utah, the company manufactures treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bicycles, weight machines, and yoga and Pilates equipment. Icon has a wide range of brands including NordicTrack, ProForm, Weider, Weslo, Gold’s Gym and FreeMotion fitness.

Combining fitness and technology, Icon’s iFit brand includes a video-based coaching platform that works with many of the company’s machines and requires a significant amount of video content to bring personal trainers and varied fitness environments into customers’ homes. Creating all the iFit content, as well as all the commercials and marketing material for the different brands, keeps the postproduction teams at Icon Fitness very busy.

The Icon team initially purchased a 40TB Facilis system back in 2012 when their Synology DiskStation NAS just couldn’t keep up with the demands of video media and the sheer amount of data required over their 1GB Ethernet connection. As Icon continued to grow, and as the products themselves started to require video content, it was time to purchase a system that could handle the team’s collaborative editing workflow that frequently sees up to 10 editors on individual workstations editing simultaneously.

Last year, Icon purchased a new TerraBlock 24EX with two TX16 expansion chassis for a total of 320TB just to handle the increased content creation demand for the popular iFit brand. Most recently, the marketing department purchased a new 192TB 24EX system. All workstations are now connected via 8 Gb Fibre Channel to the storage network for the required performance.

Ryan Humpherys, head of post-production for the Icon Fitness marketing department, and his team handle all the marketing and social media campaigns at a studio a mile down the road from the Icon Fitness headquarters. The team either shoots at the in-house studio or on location, with all post-production happening at the Utah facility. “We recently hired a post manager for all the iFit content since it is such a growing part of our business. We go all over the world and film trainers coaching from many different locations and environments,” says Humpherys. “The video coach might tell you that he or she is going to increase the incline or change the speed and we program the equipment to respond in perfect sync with the video which makes for a very immersive workout experience.”

Initially the editing workstations were Apple Mac Pro workstations, but the team has since switched to robust 48-core Lenovo PC workstations with dual graphic cards to power the full Adobe CC suite. Humpherys also does color work in DaVinci Resolve which performs very well with their Facilis system. The team shoots ultra-high-resolution imagery to give them maximum flexibility in post-production without ever compromising on image quality. “We frequently shoot on ARRI Alexa Mini at 4K or on Red cameras at 5 or 6K. We’re able to edit the footage natively, without transcoding or making proxies on the Facilis system, which saves lots of time. With 8GB Fibre Channel connections to each workstation, we get about 500MB/sec on each workstation, it’s like having an internal SSD. When we’re pushing around 4 or 6K content, it makes it really seamless to edit, move around the timeline, and copy files. We have multiple editors working at the same time and we’ve never run into a bottleneck,” says Humpherys.

With the iFit brand continuing to grow, the organization has built an additional studio at Icon HQ. Eventually the plan is to continue to build out the main headquarters facility and at that point the two Facilis storage systems will be combined. “We know that it will be easy to combine the servers in the future thanks to the flexibility of the Facilis shared file system,” says Humpherys. “We looked around at other vendors and nothing else ticked all the boxes for expandability, high-speed, ease of administration, and all the connectivity options.”

Humpherys and the team can create volumes, groups, and manage permissions easily by themselves, even though Icon Fitness has its own IT professionals on staff. “We’re really happy with the new Facilis Web Console which makes it super easy to mount volumes, monitor the system and manage permissions. It’s very user friendly. Even our IT admin was impressed as he’s never seen another system that works as well, allowing us to easily manage everything ourselves over such a high-speed connection with no IT assistance required.”