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Old July 8th, 2010, 04:44 PM   #1
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Sharing Assets-FCS? CATdv? Neither?

This is probably a fairly dumb question, but I find myself lost in the lingo of metadata and workflows, and no longer know which way is up. We're a small production studio and need to share assets between three computers. I can see that there are lots of additional features in Final Cut Server, and not sure if it's overkill for what we want. I'm guessing as we figure out all of what it does we'll find useful things, but also wondering if there's simpler way to just share video assets than buying FCS and a new server computer...I've read some about CATdv, but can make neither heads nor tails of it. Does it allow multiple editors to access the same video clips simultaneously?

Anyway, I'm guessing Final Cut Server is the only way to go, but just wanted to see if there were other workflows for the simple act of sharing the same clips/files across computers.


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Old July 9th, 2010, 12:44 PM   #2
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Do you want to share storage, or do you want to duplicate the assets for each system? Shared storage is both expensive & complicated. An entry level system would use something like EditShare and a dedicated server connected to the shared storage. Think low 5 figures.
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Old July 9th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response! Especially since we have the same, fairly rare name, I implicitly trust anything you say.

Basically, we're looking for any way to simplify a couple editors working on the same projects. I had a feeling that sharing the same storage simultaneously would be too expensive, but it's not necessary to have it that way. What we're trying to avoid right now is the endless cloning of files and projects and re-rendering of timelines, and then having to manually re-match files if someone captures something new, etc...If there was some way of having a central repository that could be made up of several drives that people could access without having to break up the external drive daisy chain or make sure everyone's staying up to date it would be most helpful. I realize I may be asking the impossible, but we're starting to pile on gigs and need a more efficient and seamless way of circulating projects/files between us. Would love any suggestions or ways people are doing things.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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If you connect all of your Macs together via a Gig-E router, you could share files between them over the network. That would ease the wear & tear on your sneakers.

But it sounds like you need to think seriously about your organization & workflow. If you can keep a project on a single Mac for it's entire life, you reduce the need to share files. But then each suite needs to be able to graphics, mix sound & color correct. If you want to optimize each Mac for a certain group of functions, you need to beef up your network.

Either way, you may need to spend some $$.
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Old July 11th, 2010, 02:09 AM   #5
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Arne - For basic stuff this is actually WAY cheaper than people think it is:

All you need is -
A Gig E Router - ideally one that can handle jumbo packets
A Fast RAID array

That's it. Everyone else needs to be working on their own projects.

I set something like this up for our small production studio, actually for an offsite edit where we needed to capture 5 streams of IMX50 at once our of an X-file (a server hanging off the end of an outside broadcast truck), while also allowing two separate computers to edit 5 streams of IMX50.

Now, this will only allow you to share original media only.

Final Cut won't allow you to share a single project, nor will you be able to share render files on two separate projects - but if your Scratch disk is the shared storage hanging off the fast external raid you should be fine for 3 to 4 machines using it DEPENDING on the bandwidth of the media you are using. If you are working on SD projects in either DV, IMX50 or Prores, or HD projects in XDCAM-HD, HDV, or some other relatively low bandwidth format you should be fine.HD Prores might be a strain depending on how many streams you are using, but you could try Prores LT or Proxy (again depends on your workflow.)

Capturing media across the scratch disk should generally be done locally aswell, not across the network, because GIG-E probably isn't going to be robust enough, but that shouldn't be a major problem for most workflows, and is no problem at all for file based workflows like XDCAM. For tape based capture just have the decks hooked up to the other computer, and either get the person on the computer to capture it or have screen sharing turned on so you can remote control any machine from any other machine.

I brought 10 Terabytes worth of Drives (8 1.5tb in RAID-5), put them in an enclosure and got a RocketRaid card for about $3000NZ - that's about $1900NZ. Other than that all you need is a GIG E router.

I get about 500MB/s read and write off that drive, way more than is needed for most workflows using non bandwidth heavy codecs.

It also means that the machine directly attached to the storage is capable of doing uncompressed HD with ease.

Another major plus is your RAID-5 has some in built redundancy, whereas I doubt all the machines you are currently using have either RAID1 or RAID5 drives attached.

For your size organization I know this can work, I do it myself.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 03:59 PM   #6
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I realize I'm a bit late to this thread, as I've just stumbled across it searching for something else.

I would recommend going with CatDV if you haven't already made a purchase.
It has some distinct advantages over Final Cut Server, and allows multiple people to use the same files.
An asset management tool like CatDV doesn't directly manipulate the media files, it creates a Catalog and Databases about the media and where it resides, in this manner you can track and manipulate metadata without access to the original media and can create proxy files which can be accessed from less expensive storage and smaller resolutions for viewing over a WAN, publishing HTML pages of catalogues, or viewing which files may be stored on volumes/drives which are off-line or archived.
There are many more customizable viewing options in CatDV as well, and search results aren't limited to 10 pages of 20 results each like they tend to be in Final Cut Server. You can also do basic sequence editing in CatDV using proxy files, and it also has powerful logging capabilities.

If you haven't already, download the demo of CatDV from their website and have a play with it.

Regarding shared storage, there are options out there for build-your-own systems, but if you don't want to invest your own time in building something out and you want a fully supported shared storage system for video editing that works from day one, then I would recommend you have a look at EVO from Studio Network Solutions.
EVO has some of the best video stream performance on the market and is very flexible from an I/O standpoint offering multiple combinations of GbE, Fibre Channel and 10GbE depending on your infrastructure, performance requirements and budget. It also has a built in NAS for non-SAN client access and a good location to host Proxy files for Asset Management systems like Final Cut Server and CatDV. EVO is very easy to setup and manage, and doesn't require dedicated IT. Additionally CatDV Server can be run from the EVO reducing the number of components required to build a system.

You can check out EVO here:

EVO Video SAN and NAS for Final Cut Pro, Avid. RAID Shared Storage - Studio Network Solutions

Let me know if you have any more questions about shared storage and/or CatDV.

Best Regards,

-Caspian Brand
Studio Network Solutions
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