Adobe, Avid and Xsan

If you’re a former Final Cut devotee thinking of making the move to Media Composer or Premiere Pro, the prospect of giving up your Xsan and losing all that lovely shared storage might seem a bit daunting. However, all is not lost: there are some surprisingly simple ways to work around this, and keep the functionality of your Xsan intact.

The surprisingly simple bit

Premiere Pro works with Xsan. No, really. Granted, you may have to make some tweaks to your workflow – some users find it works better if you ensure that your project lives on the SAN, with your working media caches being set to ‘same as project’ so that you can carry the same preferences between workstations and editors, but generally speaking, you can keep your Xsan setup as is, especially if you’re using Premiere Pro on Macs, too.

The Avid option

Sadly, working things out with Media Composer is less easy. If you’re feeling flush, one option is to rip out your Xsan and replace it with one of the Avid equivalents – ISIS 5000 will stand in just fine for a standard SAN setup, or you can upgrade to Unity MediaNetwork hardware if you need truly simultaneous sharing of assets between users and platforms. There are plenty of advantages to moving to ISIS or Unity – the combination of AVID hardware and software should ensure reliability and they’re both certified by AVID, so you can be sure of a certain level of support.

The third way…

However, there is another way. Earlier this year, Tiger Technology and FilmPartners teamed up to offer a new, universal SAN management system for FCP, Premiere Pro and Media Composer.

MXFServer has been around for a while as a project management tool. It lets you store metadata and media in universal MXF containers that are then accessed through different ‘abstraction layers’ based on which editing application you’re using. This allows multiple users to access footage in QuickTime or any native MXF file format instantly, and use MXFServer’s bin-locking options to work collaboratively or individually on the project without needing to transcode anything.

Tiger Technology have now made everything that bit easier by developing an API that will allow MXFServer to interact directly with metaSAN. The result is a flexible system that allows for high speed, scalable shared storage to be managed effectively, with metaSAN handing the fine detail at file level while MXFServer takes care of your edit-in-place demands.

The flexibility of this system is fantastic, and makes it a great choice for anyone who needs to collaborate with third parties who may use different system, but it’s not certified by Avid or Adobe.

Wondering which is right for you? Give our consultants a call on 03332 409 306, email or head over to to see our full broadcast range.

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