Following in Cousteau’s and Albert Kahn’s Footsteps: LaCie at the Ends of the Earth

As a producer for The Explorers Network, Olivier Chiabodo spends most of his days traveling across the world. His job? Creating an archive of footage from across the earth that can function as an archive of the world – a sort of life insurance for the planet, like French banker Albert Kahn did in the early twentieth century. As you might imagine, it’s not a simple task.

While some might say that the age of the explorer is over, Mr. Chiabodo’s The Explorers Network is proof that there’s still a place for explorers, even today. They’ve set out with the goal of building an archive of the earth—its biodiversity, archeology, and everything else that’s become part of the planet’s legacy—in 4K RAW format, or Ultra HD, which is the highest-quality video format available today.

The footage they’ve filmed is incredible. But the logistics involved with filming in such a high resolution creates a whole host of issues, including storage. That’s where LaCie comes in.

A 4K Studio on the Waves
Olivier Chiabodo is a key part of the success of this modern-day expedition. A producer with The Explorers Network, he regularly travels to the ends of the earth with the state-of-the-art editing studio needed to handle high-quality 4K footage. But having the capacity to store that amount of footage on the boat is a huge challenge in itself.

“Following in Jacques Cousteau’s footsteps may push you to your limits, but managing 4K footage shouldn’t!” laughs Mr. Chiabodo.

The Explorers Network’s most recent project took them to French Polynesia to recreate Cousteau’s trip to the Pacific Islands. Making use of Sony 4K cameras and 1 TB CFast cards that allow for up to an hour of filming, they’ve produced a series of documentaries during their travels that showcase some of the best of what our planet has to offer. And alongside the 4K cameras and cutting-edge audiovisual technology on the boat were 10 LaCie 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2 with 480 TB of total capacity for storing, editing, and backing up their spellbinding footage.

The Explorers Network had been looking for digital storage solutions in a rack format that could be installed on a boat and were Mac compatible. The LaCie 8big Rack was the right fit. Editors for the project appreciated that the LaCie 8big Rack could provide speed, stackability, and RAID 5 data security while adapting to all of their needs. So much so, they purchased 14 more for their next project — an endeavor that will test them—and their storage solutions—to the fullest.

A 4K Studio on an Ice Floe
The Explorers Network’s next mission will take them to the Arctic Circle, where they plan to film a documentary series about the area. And, while traveling to the top of the world would be a challenge in even the best conditions, taking the equipment needed for 4K footage makes it even more difficult. The reason why is simple: weight. The expedition will eventually set up basecamp in a yurt sitting on an ice floe in the Arctic, and most traditional storage solutions are far too heavy to bring onto such unstable ground.

For this expedition, the team needs a solution that allows them to use only part of the storage rack, and swap drives out when full, so they can be moved off the ice to reduce weight. LaCie’s 8big Rack fits the bill. And with the successes that The Explorers Network has seen with LaCie’s products in the Pacific, they’re confident that storage won’t be a problem when they’re out on the ice.

For more information about The Explorers Network and their upcoming expedition to the Arctic, check out