The golden rule for production companies was always this: you want three copies of your dailies or rushes. One on a rugged drive you can send over to the post house, one on a RAID that everyone can access, and one on LTO tape to act as a long-term safety copy – if anything happens to your footage during post, you’ll always have that tape copy to restore from. But with cloud technology becoming more affordable, more widespread and more tightly integrated with traditional storage solutions, things are beginning to change.
First, it was small things, like using FTP servers to send dailies to a post house rather than couriering a drive. But now things are getting more complex. For example, Synology’s DiskStore range of portable RAID solutions combine built-in 10Gb and 1Gb LAN connectivity with their Cloud Station Sync software to allow you to sync all the footage you ingest to the cloud, or to a third party NAS, straight away.
Rather than ingesting to a drive, copying to a RAID, and duplicating again for safety (a time consuming process even before you factor in having to physically ship those drives to a post house, during which time they could be stolen, damaged or otherwise interfered with), you can now take footage from your camera card to your Synology RAID, a cloud service and your post partner’s storage at the same time.
As well as being faster and more secure than shipping drives back and forth, this instant sync provides a great deal of peace of mind – your dailies end up in multiple, remotely-accessible locations quickly, so you have a full backup that editors or production staff can access in the event something happens to your primary copy.
The low cost and long shelf life of LTO make it a reassuring format for backups, especially where you’re dealing with something like dailies, which can be huge and which you may have to keep for some time. But even the trusty LTO library is evolving.
Take XenData’s X1 appliance. Similar to Synology’s intelligent RAID arrays, this clever management appliance allows you to take a small tape drive out of location with you and sync its contents with cloud storage services and a larger tape library off site.
Again, you have your data safe in multiple locations and the cloud copy means it’s easy to access at least one copy from any location. On top of that, you can cut down on the amount of storage you need to take to set with you – because your small tape drive syncs to a large library back at base every night, you can take far fewer tapes on location with you, and simply reuse them once they’ve been backed up.
While cloud storage has become more affordable recently, many providers operate on a business model that includes egress fees – sky-high rates that you pay to download your footage from the cloud once it’s stored up there. If you’re using the cloud to move large files between production and post, your egress fees are going to be considerable, maybe even prohibitive.
That’s why we like Wasabi. Because their aim is to provide hot cloud storage for frequently-used files, they don’t charge egress fees. It’s by far the most affordable cloud storage option for files you’ll need repeated access to.
If you’re going to be working in this kind of cloud-first workflow, you should also ask us about LucidLink. This technology allows users to mount any cloud storage volume on their computer so that the system sees it as local storage, and lets them work with the files accordingly. It’s great if you want to create a central depository of footage that multiple editors can see and take footage from simultaneously – maybe you’re working in live sports and they need to be able to create highlight reels, or you want multiple editors in a newsroom to be able to grab footage from the cloud as soon as it’s been shot.
Of course, if you’re working in ENG, then you already know there’s another, more direct route for getting footage back to base: streaming it straight from the camera.
One of our best sellers, the Panasonic AG-CX350, combines 4K/10-bit/60p shooting capabilities with an RTSP/RTMP/ RTMPS function for live streaming and NDI | HX-ready IP connectivity, making it ideal for filming live events which you want to share directly on social media platforms or mix into a NDI live events workflow. Its counterpart, the new AG-CX10, takes things one step further. It comes with built-in WiFi, so you can stream H.264/MPEG-4 AVC footage straight from the camera.
Both cameras support internal and external recording at the time as the stream, so you have a copy of whatever you broadcast for editors to re-use, or they can capture the initial stream to storage back at base and begin work on a story straight away. If you’re not in the market for a live camera, the Sony PXW-Z90 forgoes live streaming functionality in support of more storage-centric features including FTP, QoS streaming and 5GHz WiFi. It can stream QoS to XDCAM air and RX1 servers, as well as supporting FTP transfer and Wi-Fi remote control with CBM (Content Browser Mobile). Wireless Time Code Link is available as a paid extra.
These days, there’s no guarantee that once your footage gets back to base there will actually be someone there to work with it. If you have key production and post staff working remotely, take a look at IPV Curator.
This intelligent asset management platform generates frame accurate proxies that are just 2% the size of your original file, so there’s no waiting around for files to download or upload – editors can grab proxies of your footage as soon as it hits the server and start editing, regardless of the hardware they’re using or the strength of their network connection.
For longer and more complex projects, Object Matrix’s Vision solution allows editors to browse all ingested footage in a clean, eCommerce-style interface, with any metadata or tags you added during ingest acting like filters on a web store. And again, it’s a browser-based solution, so proxies can be accessed from anywhere. Avid’s MediaCentral offering, which performs similar asset management tasks but also handles archive and retrieval of completed projects, is available in tailored variations for the newsroom, mid-sized productions and large scale ones, so know you’ll always have the tools you need to complete your Avid workflow.
Our experienced M&E pre-sales team are all drawn from the industry. Having worked on everything from longform to live events, they can advise on the hardware and software that’s most appropriate for your setup, and help you design an ingest, backup and synchronisation workflow that meets your project’s specific needs. Get in touch on the details below to get started.
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