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Newbie - any help please

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Sean Murphy
Newbie - any help please
on Dec 5, 2009 at 10:45:06 am

Never really used servers before just edited locally but Ive been asked to create a solution to allow up to 12 machines to link to a server in order to digitise and store a lot of material.

I have been informed that the storage requirement is between 25-50 Tb and the material to be digitised is lowly VHS mainly. I do not want to compress the footage as the quality is important.

Im a Mac person and would rather if the editing machines were macs. The solution has to be secure and reliable as the task is time critical.

I recently attended a Final Cut Server seminar which seemed to be an ideal software solution for this task.

Can anyone recommend where I should start? I must admit Ive had a few quotes from people that vary greatly in cost but I was wondering what is the best way to attack this. Where are the bottlenecks?

Big thanks in advance.


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Matt Geier
Re: Newbie - any help please
on Dec 5, 2009 at 7:03:52 pm

Sean,

What kind of video Formats are the editors going to be using mostly? The different formats require different things in the response of the storage.

You're going to want a 6 port Gigabit Ethernet Adapter from Small Tree. This will provide the network bandwidth you'll need for the entire workgroup.

The server will need to be an Xserve or a Mac Pro (Preferably the newest Mac). With the Small Tree card installed you'll have two additional ports. If you want some kind of network access to the server, use one port. You can serve about 600-800MB/sec of bandwidth (6-8 Gigabit Ports).....

You'll want a Managed Switch -- one part of it dedicated to the video editors and another dedicated to the vfx traffic. Again I suggest Small Tree's Edge-corE switches. They work very good in a Video environment.

(Be careful about the storage) All I can tell you here is that your video formats require different speeds of response times with the storage. Not only will you need some high performance storage you will also be looking for "FAST" storage --- You need fast access for the video editing, and the additional hits that will be coming in from the vfx people will need to be addressed as well (These are typically going to be push/pull, not real time editing). The same storage can work if it's fast enough and has enough "beefyness" to keep up with the entire workload.

Let me know if this helps.

Matt G



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Bob Zelin
Re: Newbie - any help please
on Dec 5, 2009 at 7:27:09 pm

the big bottleneck is not understanding what you have to do in making this happen. There are a lot of solutions on the market to accomplish this - and many of them are expensive - some, not so much, but the bottom line is that 24 - 50 terabytes of strorage will cost you a LOT of money. The person that says "well I can get a 1 terabyte drive for 100 bucks, so with 50 drives, that should cost me about $5000 for 50 terabytes" - is an idiot, and has no understanding of what is involved in making this happen.

Choose a company that can assist you with this project, or you will fail badly. This is not something you just "figure out" by yourself.

Bob Zelin




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Sean Murphy
Re: Newbie - any help please
on Dec 6, 2009 at 8:42:52 am

Thank you for your advice Matt and Bob, I have had a few quotes from various places but everyone seems to want me to go fibre channel. From what I have read this is overkill for my task.

Your article is very helpful Bob and the small tree solution appears to be exactly what is needed. The format I plan to use is DV Pal once digitised (I may create prores versions for the client - see stage 2 below) and kept as DV Pal when editing, it will eventually be output as MPEG2 for this project.

Your wise words Bob are echo-ing in my ears and I will have support (and installation) from network specialists but I just feel that the companies supplying the kit are seeing this as a bit of a quick earner. This forum is helping greatly. I just want to educate myself a little Bob so that I know what these suppliers are providing or more importantly should be providing.

Matt, are there any advantages/disadvantages in using a Mac Pro than an Xserve? Will this one server do all I need?

To explain further-

Stage 1 of the task - to digitise all the material into DV Pal and store the files in a media management tool - probably Final Cut Server. I envisage 12 machines (in order to meet the deadline) with green valley boxes connected to them to perform this task and will probably use Mac Minis to do this. (By the way the figure of 25-50 Tb has been quoted to me by the supplier and may be a white elephant, Ive estimated the total amount of material to be approx 16 Tb.)

Stage 2 - to mirror the storage and provide the mirrored solution to the client in order to review of all the material (using Final Cut Server) and upon completion the client will provide instructions to me for editing. (This could be done using prores versions of the original file as these files are for viewing only, in order for storage costs to be kept to a minimum)

Stage 3 - With instructions in hand, using the original digitised material my team (expected to be on 3-6 i7 iMacs using Final Cut) will edit the material (there will never be two editors working on the same file) therefore creating edited versions of the files which are to be converted to mpeg2.

I hope this gives a clearer view of my task.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Newbie - any help please
on Dec 6, 2009 at 7:21:20 pm

I am confused by your reply -
I will do my best to respond below. A web forum is good for general advice, not detailed answers.



Matt, are there any advantages/disadvantages in using a Mac Pro than an Xserve? Will this one server do all I need?

REPLY - A Mac Pro will give you up to 10 clients using Apple AFP. You need OS-X Server to have "unlimited" clients. You can "fake it" on regular OS-X by using NFS, but OS-X Server software will allow you to do whatever you want. A Mac Pro has three slots inside it, so you can stick in a multi port ethernet card, a disk drive host card (like a SATA or Fibre card), and it also has a graphics card, so you can see what you are doing, without using remote desktop to get into the computer.



To explain further-

Stage 1 of the task - to digitise all the material into DV Pal and store the files in a media management tool - probably Final Cut Server. I envisage 12 machines (in order to meet the deadline) with green valley boxes connected to them to perform this task and will probably use Mac Minis to do this.


REPLY - 12 clients is a LOT of clients - this is no small simple system. 12 clients is more than some major companies have. You can run final Cut Server on a stand alone iMAC if you want to observe your media (or run FCS on all of your clients !). What the hell is "green valley boxes" - do you mean Grass Valley ? And exactly what product ?



(By the way the figure of 25-50 Tb has been quoted to me by the supplier and may be a white elephant, Ive estimated the total amount of material to be approx 16 Tb.)

REPLY - I have no idea of what your storage demand is. You can always add storage if you buy the right stuff now - expandable SATA arrays.


Stage 2 - to mirror the storage and provide the mirrored solution to the client in order to review of all the material (using Final Cut Server) and upon completion the client will provide instructions to me for editing. (This could be done using prores versions of the original file as these files are for viewing only, in order for storage costs to be kept to a minimum)

REPLY - you are working in DV25, and now you are saying "review in ProRes" - do you mean creating ProRes proxy files, becuase ProRes422 is higher bandwidth, and takes up more space than DV25.


Stage 3 - With instructions in hand, using the original digitised material my team (expected to be on 3-6 i7 iMacs using Final Cut) will edit the material (there will never be two editors working on the same file) therefore creating edited versions of the files which are to be converted to mpeg2.

REPLY - you need on site support to setup your system. You are not describing a simple workflow.

Bob Zelin




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Sean Murphy
Re: Newbie - any help please
on Dec 7, 2009 at 2:18:13 am

Apologies Bob I did mean grass valley (got my green tree mixed up with my grass valley for a minute) and the model in particular being ADVC 110.

I will liaise with a local specialist as you have pointed out this is not a simple set up however the main thing I have got from this is that it doesnt necessarily have to be done with fibre channel and can be done over ethernet.

Many thanks
Sean


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