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Old January 29th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #1
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Building an expandable HD edit suite

I'm putting together a budget and equipment list to create an HD suite that will be able to handle mixed formats(HDV, DVC PRO and DV) on the timelines, multi camera editing and professional colour correction. The first budget, which incorporated a 3.5 TB X raid worked out at around 12,000 pounds sterling - too much, mainly because of the Raid. If we go for SATA drives it more than halves the budget - but what's the trade off in efficiency? We'll go for a high end dual core Mac and FCP. Any good practical suggestions for an ideal equipment list including capture cards to allow for uncompressed HD capture?
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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #2
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Terry,

Welcome to the forum! This post would have been better served in either the non-linear editing or FCP forum on this site - i'll let the moderators take care of moving it.

To answer your question:

e-SATA arrays regardless if they are JBOD, Port Multiplier or Infiniband all suffer from one very important characterisitc - they do not have any controller cache to help keep throughput fast and stable. For example:

An 8-drive RAID-0 might start off at 240Mb/s but as it gets used will slow down to about half it's original I/O speed. The reason for this is the only cache available lives on the drives themselves; the HBA's do not have cache on-board. And this lack of cache prevents the drives from being able to purge and refresh their own cache which is what creates the slowdown. Think of it as a cache bottle-neck effect; without any place too offload their full cache buffers the drives run out of room to breathe and choke - to a degree.

SCSI or Fibre arrays however, do have cache built into the controller which not only helps keep speeds stable and constant but also allows for some error correction in the read/write process.

e-SATA is affordable compared to traditional SCSI and certainly Fibre, the tradeoff is speed, consistency and on rare occasions data collisions. There are however companies that are working on HBA's that have on-board controller cache but that's many months or a year out before it's ready for consumer use.

With regard to cards, either the BlackMagic or KONA cards will do what you want; I have no experience with BMG but the KONA LH/e has been rock stable since I purchased it almost a year ago.
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Old January 30th, 2007, 04:36 AM   #3
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HD Suite

Thanks, Robert,

Very clear and cogent - I think I get it.

Terry
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:54 AM   #4
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hard drive space

I live next to an edditor and he sugested Weibetech they make raid enclosures in a variety of styles that are 100% backup. Talk to them before you buy. You can buy the hard drives from Other world computers Hitachi is coming out with 1 Tera drives. They announced it, but just waiting fir shipping.
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Old February 4th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #5
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Old February 4th, 2007, 01:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Gross
I'm putting together a budget and equipment list to create an HD suite that will be able to handle mixed formats(HDV, DVC PRO and DV) on the timelines, multi camera editing and professional colour correction. The first budget, which incorporated a 3.5 TB X raid worked out at around 12,000 pounds sterling - too much, mainly because of the Raid. If we go for SATA drives it more than halves the budget - but what's the trade off in efficiency? We'll go for a high end dual core Mac and FCP. Any good practical suggestions for an ideal equipment list including capture cards to allow for uncompressed HD capture?
There is so much more to what you hope to accomplish than which type of RAID to purchase. FCP does not allow you to edit HDV, DVCProHD and DV on the same time line without a lot of scaling and rendering eo you will need to find a common file type that you can use to create a Digital Intermediate [DI].

It appears that most people editing on a MAC DVCProHD is good enough (sigh), if you are one then you might try HDVxDV [http://www.hdvxdv.com/] it converts HDV into any Quicktime format [DVCProHD].

I have not tried this product yet, keep in mind that it increases your files size from the HDV 25Mb/sec stream to approximately 100Mb/sec stream which requires much more disk space and better performance from your file system. However, more importantly, it converts the data stream from an m2t [Mpeg] to a a frame based one enabling you to place these converted clips onto a regular DVCProHD timeline without having to render. Which will save you a tremendous amount of time. At least that's the theory, like I said I haven't tested this yet.

I have built a very efficient HD edit suite using Cineform's DI codec, it uses wavelet compression to convert both uncompressed, DVCProHD and HDV to the Cineform AVI which in my opinion is much better than the DVCProHD codec. There apparently a similar codec for the MAC/FCP, Sheer Video Coedc or sometimes referred to as BitJazz. I have not tried this yet either. I'm hoping now that Adobe is releasing their production suite on the Intel Macs that Cineform will come along for the ride and I will be able to use it with FCP [Provided Apple decides to start playing nice with others].

Once you have a common format that you like then you should look at tuning your file system. Even highly compressed HD formats like DVCProHD require a lot of bandwidth which require a managed file system. Apple offers xServe and xSan which enables users to share file at the file level. Far too expensive and difficult to administer and for editing not required. You should learn about file system managers that enable file sharing at the volume level. Much less expensive and easy to administer.

Check this product out [http://www.facilis2.com/] the white papers on this site do a fairly good job of explaining the different types of file system management. There are less expensive alternatives available.
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