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Multicam SAN

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David Davidson
Multicam SAN
on Dec 9, 2008 at 7:05:13 pm

I'm designing a 4 seat SAN to offline edit two network shows on XDCAM in FCP's multicam mode. I'm not entirely certain if XDCAM will be shot at 35 or 50 Mb/s.

I've had very good experiences with MetaSAN, with a multi-seat arrangement at my studio, yet I'm doing diligence on investigating other avenues, such as iSCSI with SNS or Small Tree.

With potentially 3 to 4 cameras playing back in multicam mode, seems like one would need a robust main volume and fibre to handle at minimum 35 Mb/s x 4, including 4 channels of audio. So iSCI wouldn't really be indicated.

Unless of course FCP could access the XDCAM proxies, lowering a 4 stream video rate under 70Mb/sec. Any thoughts?

David Davidson
Managing Director
solventdreams, llc
4222 santa monica blvd
los angeles, ca 90028
323 906 9700

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Matt Geier
Re: Multicam SAN
on Dec 10, 2008 at 4:09:28 pm


I don't know a lot of information about XDCAM, I would like yourself to let me know exactly how it's capable of hooking up. I believe it uses FirWire 800, but I'm unclear about that.

I'd like to know the exact model of camera you have, so I can look at it's specs on Sony's website to see what I can see.

I'm certainly making a few assumption as to your network already, but given what you are saying, those bandwidth requirements would certainly not exceed what's capable of Gigabit, or even 10Gb Ethernet and would certainly be doable some how.

*** I've been under the impression that Apple improved their performance of AFP under 10.5. We have had reports of being able to do 90MB / sec on a single Jumbo Frame Ethernet wire from a client, and we've had reports of 300MB/sec using a 10Gb card.

*** Those numbers remain to be tested and confirmed officially by Small Tree, however, we've had the 90MB results ourselves doing some other testing on other things....

I think your biggest factors would be, do you have a Server, Storage, Gigabit Managed Switch, and Multiport Gigabit cards in place already? If not, then you're going to be in for some additional investments to make this kind of "shared" environment work correctly.

Let me know if I can be of further help.

Matt G.

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Daniel Hatch
Re: Multicam SAN
on Dec 10, 2008 at 4:35:12 pm


Here's some information on Apace Systems that might be of use:

The best solution to provide you with support for multi-ingest XDCAM streams is to consider two products from Apace Systems.
a) They offer Capture assist for Apple FCP which is an intelligent utility software, that allows you to directly from your FCP application, ingest XDCAM video streams directly into Apace Systems’ vStor (file based storage appliance for real-time editing) via GE connectivity. The advantage offered by this tool is that it throttles the pace of ingest to the shared storage and as such you can have all four XDCAMs writing into our shared vStor storage simultaneously. You can set the throttle setting that facilitates Multi-ingest as well as saves CPU cycles on your client node to be an efficient editing node as well. You can ingest both 35 or 50 Mbits/s over GE connection with assured no dropped frame.
b) On the receiving end you can use their vStor as the real-time collaborative editing storage and deal with your Apple FCP workspaces at the collaborative and shared manner. No complex SAN management or iSCSI GE based SAN is needed. The iSCSI overhead sucks up 20-30 percent of your CPU cycles if it is not offloaded and you need Fibre channel like SAN management software. Also if you need to mix PC and MAC with the iSCSI based storage is not compatible.

In summary in you use their vStor v2200 series in 3U configuration with 12TB of storage with our FCP capture assist and they will guarrantee four simultaneous ingest XDCAM 35 or 50 mbits/s plus simultaneous edit of up to 20 Dvcpro-50 which is equal to the high end of your XDCAM 50 Mbits/s bit rate. Note vStor is a file based video storage so there is no client agent to load on the client nodes for edit access. You only pay for Capture assist software Lic. given your ingest needs. Editing access is free.

Hope this helps and doesn't muddy the waters for you!


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