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Gregorio Paolini
FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:01:59 am

Bob, assuming that Final Cut Pro X is a mess; but hoping - I don't know if it will be an illusion - that it can be upgraded in the next months (??) for professionals can you confirm that it is impossible now to work in a shared area network with it? I understood that now project and media (or whatever they are called now) MUST stay in the same HDD. Can it be a shared RAID? I'm asking you just to know if we can make some tests downloading and installing a copy of FCPX it in one of our Mac Pro (in a new disk, with a fresh install of Snow Leopard etc etc)... Thanks


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Bob Zelin
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 12:21:10 pm

I do not know the answer to this very important question.

This is a wonderful opportunity for companies like Studio Network Solutions, EditShare, Small Tree, Apace, etc. to post right here on
Creative Cow and say "yes, our great SAN system works perfectly with
FCP X". We have NOT tested FCP X with Final Share, so I cannot honestly tell you if it works or not.

What I can tell you is the horror I observe from the forums on Creative Cow, and other forums like FCP-L, with the huge disappointment of FCP X so far. So I am not panic'd about testing, because at this moment, I don't think that anyone is racing to get rid of their FCP 7 installation.

I would love to hear if the other manufacturers of SAN systems have tried FCP X yet.

Bob Zelin



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Erik Freid
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 1:45:52 pm

Hi Bob,

I know this is a little OT for this forum but I would love your take on discontinuing FCSvr, in a SAN environment, or any file based workflow you need to track assets. Nothing on the market can fill this niche at the price point that FCSvr was at that I can see.

I know I am poking a bear with a sharp stick but you always have genuine insight.

thanks,

Erik

Erik Freid | MediaSilo, Inc
207 South Street | Third Floor | Boston, MA 02111
t. 617.423.6200, m. 617.306.8632, f. 617.507.8577
http://www.mediaSilo.com erik@mediasilo.com


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Bob Zelin
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:04:19 pm

Hi Bob,

I know this is a little OT for this forum but I would love your take on discontinuing FCSvr, in a SAN environment, or any file based workflow you need to track assets. Nothing on the market can fill this niche at the price point that FCSvr was at that I can see.

Erik -
I was a big CatDV fan the second I saw it. I never have installed a FCSvr system, because of my
love for CatDV. So I don't care !

Bob Zelin



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Steve Modica
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 1:12:15 pm

I did a bunch of testing yesterday.
It will work with shared storage. In fact, it imports very quickly because it creates symbolic links to the files. If you don't set the special "don't move everything to events folders" flag, it starts copying everything local in the background.

All in all, it was really good. Our FCP guy was testing and editing a project (H.264 no less) right away. Performance was good. I was able to have 4 or 5 streams going with 8-10 audio and work with no trouble. It renders automagically in the background, but pauses that during playback. I could force it on and it would play at a lower frame rate. I could enable dropped frames and force some drops.

I was doing all my tests on a non-jumboframe imac. So that was worst case.

A *huge* bright spot is that this forces "good" sharing behavior. You can share your media files, but projects will be local.

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Gregorio Paolini
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 5:20:19 pm

Thanks Bob and Erik. But if "You can share your media files, but projects will be local" this is useless in a collaborative network in which one suite is supposed to make the rough cut, another goes on with b-roll, another with graphics and another makes the post... The usual workflow is impossibile because the project must stay in one suite.


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Steve Modica
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:07:44 pm

To "share" project files, you would either move or duplicate the project (you can copy everything, just used clips, or the project file alone) and then move it to the second system.

When you import from shared media, it creates symbolic links, so I expect you could even copies those and import the whole thing.

Steve

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Eric Peters
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:13:40 pm

I wanted to jump in and lend some of my observations so far regarding the "projects" (sequences) and "events" folders and the ability to move them around and work with them from different locations, though having only had it in my hands for a day, I'm reluctant to go to far into making SAN workflow claims without putting it through further rigorous testing. But some of these observations do at least answer some general questions in terms of what you seemingly cannot do...

From what I’ve been able to surmise, you cannot move the Events folder. FCP X does not allow you to change the save location, and it doesn't like it when you try to open the "CurrentVersion.fcpevent" file from another location. It will not open properly from anywhere but the designated location. This means that each user’s clip database will be customized specifically to them based on the footage that they import, whether it is stored on a server or not. You CAN move the entire contents of the “Final Cut Events” folder onto an external drive and then move it back locally to the proper location, and it will still open fine.

As for projects, these also will only work properly (as best as I've been able to tell) if in the location that FCP is expecting them. Again, you can move the entire contents of the folder from an external drive into the designated location, and you should be able to do this with or without the render files. As I'm sure everyone has noticed already, the render files no longer present themselves in Finder as QT files. Finder reads them as document files, and each render file has a plist associated with it. If you attempt to move a project but don’t move the render files, it should work fine, you'll just have to re-render the sequence when it is first opened.

As it all relates to Final Cut Server... From what I've seen, the Events library is very much taking on at least some of the features of Final Cut Server. You can create custom metadata fields and fill in metadata as long as you want on your media. I've created 20+ "custom" metadata fields without issue. Not sure if they have any sort of limit on how many custom fields can be added...

Eric Peters
ProMAX Systems
eric.peters@promax.com



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Steve Modica
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:25:23 pm

I'm testing over here as well.
I have proven that I can replace the Movie directory with a symlink and put it elsewhere. (I do this at home with iMovie!) I ran out of time today but I plan on proving that multiple systems can edit from the same events.

Ideally, I think I'd prefer that only "Events" were shared rather than projects. I was able to put a project on a stick and move it around. So long as the events are consistent between machines, I think it should just work.

Steve

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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Eric Peters
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 23, 2011 at 3:22:37 pm

Steve, I think you may have something with the Movie directory/symlink idea... Disappointing that this is the way you would need to be set up to make it do what we all want it to.

The one option you are given as far as choosing where your Events reside within FCPX is in the File > Move Event option... But that won't allow you to permanently change your Event location. The next Event you create is automatically created locally.

On to more testing...

Eric Peters
ProMAX Systems
eric.peters@promax.com



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Gregorio Paolini
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 23, 2011 at 9:27:32 pm

Right now at the Supermeet: #LondonSuperMeet #FCPX Larry Jordan "fcpx intended for single users, not workgroups"


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Michael Kammes
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 24, 2011 at 4:22:55 am

Apple has answered some sharing issues here...and how to move them...

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/23/professional-video-editors-weigh-...

EXCERPT:

Complaint: You can’t share a project with other editors. In professional editing companies, editors routinely exchange projects. But in FCP X, “all of your project organization is now globally contained in the application rather than in your project file. You literally have to give that other editor your entire computer,” writes one blogger.

Answer: Not true. You can share your project, your files, or both.
If the other editors already have the raw video files, you can hand over the project file. The other editors can inspect the Project Library; on its Info panel, they can click “Modify Event References” to reconnect the project to their own copies of the media files.

If the other editors don’t have the raw files, the various commands in the File menu let you move the project file, the media files, or both to another computer on the network, to another hard drive or whatever.

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com
.: twitter: @michaelkammes
.: facebook: /mkammes

Hear me pontificate: Speaking Schedule .


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Gregorio Paolini
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 24, 2011 at 8:17:39 am

And what is supposed to be the workflow in a workgroup if the media files are stored in a shared storage (san)?


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Dominic Harland
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 28, 2011 at 6:09:28 pm

We have had no issues with SPACE running with FCP X, runs its media straight from our drive on multiple suites with good performance. I have not tried mapping to movies folder yet other than with OD which did cause issues each time FCP was launched as previously reported on this thread.

Speed was good and time line responsive, if other FCP X niggles can be sorted looks like it could be good!


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Bob Zelin
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:38:49 am

And you can move projects on FCP X from room to room ? So that the project you start in edit 1 can be worked on in edit 2 ?

Bob Zelin



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Dominic Harland
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:50:11 pm

Yes we can, works very well, I have now had 3 edit suites running FCP X all using SPACE for the media files. I can move 'projects' from suite to suite without affecting other 'projects' the suites have.


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Jordan Woods
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jun 30, 2011 at 3:57:05 pm

Just to post on this thread as well as what I posted to the Xsan thread. YES, FCPX will work with your video files on your SAN. You can import the footage and retain the footage on that location. Here is a growing FAQ list from Apple: http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/faq/


-Jordan


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James O'Connor
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:17:47 pm

Hi Steve,

I use Small Tree products (and GraniteSTOR) here in my business... great stuff. I'm curious about your "good sharing" practices though. You mentioned the symlink which you showed me previously. My question is this (and it's a biggie):

If we symlink, or find another way to let FCPX access events and projects on the SAN, then you will have multiple editors all accessing one "FCPX Events" folder and one "FCPX Projects" folder. When you open FCPX the project and event browsers show you ALL the projects in those folders. Even if other editors have them open and in use. Now, if you accidentally click on a project that you aren't concerned with it loads the project. Now... in this case, which editor is writing to the metadata database? ... and what is the result of such action? Corruption? Version problems? FCPX, like iMovie does a lot when you load it up, depending on your preferences, it may start doing colour/shake/audio analysis on content that another editor was busy modifying.

Plus, project sharing, the "new Apple way" is all well and good but editor ONE will wrap up his work and "share" a project for someone else (great if the media files are all on the server, reconnecting will be a good experience) but, now instead of just telling someone else to open the project, we have a copy on different machines because we shared it out. Now we have to track who's got the most up to date version, and choose to delete surplus versions. Does this scare anyone else? Can someone please put together a workflow for the rest of us? I feel as though I haven't really cracked this yet.

In the meantime, my guys ARE using FCPX but projects/versions are staying put on local machines and I DON'T LIKE IT!! :-)

When we figure this all out, I'll be sure to post back. But in the meantime, I need all the help I can get!

James


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Steve Modica
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:58:53 pm

[James O'Connor] "If we symlink, or find another way to let FCPX access events and projects on the SAN, then you will have multiple editors all accessing one "FCPX Events" folder and one "FCPX Projects" folder."

Absolutely. Don't do this!!!!
I was simply running a test to see how smart the thing was about this stuff. If you had 3 machines at your house and you were the only user, I think this could work, but I would never suggest something like this for a real shop.

There was a suggestion to create disk images using disk utility. I liked this a lot. Then you can duplicate your project to that image and had another editor a nice .dmg file on a stick he can use. Assuming he's imported the same clips as you, it should all work.

Steve

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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James O'Connor
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:57:52 pm

[Steve Modica] "but I would never suggest something like this for a real shop."

Thanks again Steve. You're helping and I really appreciate it. If that's how most "real shops" are doing it now then we have to infer that you're also not recommending FCPX to those same shops. If that's the truth we're facing then the question is: does anyone think Apple is going to deal with this issue?

I have to confess the only reason we've been "playing" with the software is because we are merely believing that Apple is going to tackle this. What worries me is that it's such a fundamental change at the I/O level that Apple would not have risked adding it after, at the risk of creating problems for those who have projects that will need to be "moved" to the now permissible "right" location.

However, it won't be the first time. The first version of their pro photo editing app, Aperture, launched with the inability to reference files outside of the sanctioned library. THEN they later added the ability to do that but denied people storing their Aperture library on a network drive. THEN they later added the ability to do that.

All we can learn from this is that they are: Crazy. But Talented. Anyway... any ideas?

J


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Steve Modica
Re: FCPX and SAN
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:30:28 pm

My not so humble opinion on "sharing" is that people over do it.

At SGI, we wanted to have all our source code in one place for all 600 engineers to access. So we had a giant machine that ran NFS and that eventually led to cxfs.

People want all their "stuff" in one big bucket because then they don't have to organize it. However, it still has to be organized!

I think FCP X is "fine" for new people that don't have existing customers that force legacy workflows. I think Apple realizes (as they do with many things) that they could either revamp FCP 7 or for the same engineering effort, create the newest thing that grabs the new market. Once again, they push down market.

If only SGI had pushed down market rather than building bigger and bigger onyx machines. Perhaps we'd all be running with SGI video cards and workstations?

Steve

Steve Modica
CTO, Small Tree Communications


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James O'Connor
Re: FCPX and SAN - getting somewhere
on Jul 22, 2011 at 4:05:11 pm

Steve, thanks for the response. Opening a project that someone else was working on 5 minutes ago when they've just left just gone for a cup of coffee... IS the greatest thing in post-production as far as I'm concerned. So I don't know about "over-doing sharing"! However, I'm a relatively "new" shop (as in we only went "shared" in January this year. So I'm VERY accommodating to a new workflow (we only have a year of existing projects in the "old" workflow).

But what I need (what we all need I think) is for someone to outline a couple of best practice workflows for medium sized production facilities. We can all spend time training and learning the new software at a feature level but Apple hasn't provided enough guidance on using the software in a pro environment. Analyzing/optimizing audio is great - we can easily figure that out - but I can't figure out how to get set up and started COMMERCIALLY because I'm worried about things like corruption, versions, keeping track of who's got the most recent version on what machine etc. that's crazy.

What we did at one point when running iMovie (yes, more proof that this is iMovie Pro) is to use an external hard drive to host the project file and just plug that in to whoever needed it 'now'. In the case of FCPX, all the source files will happily live on our GraniteSTOR and should reconnect every time a new workstation opens the project file. We'd benefit from ONE SINGLE PROJECT copy and its associated metadata, smart collections, etc.

Then, at the end of its edit we can put the project file (versions etc.) into a temporary folder back on the GraniteSTOR near to the source files I guess. But it will always need to be moved back onto an external hard drive before going back into edit again (technically not huge transfers as the source files will stay put.)

The one major problem I have with this (despite the fact that I need to stock about 10 external drives) is that while the project is "sneaking" around my shop in this way, there is no RAID 5 protection (for the project files at least) which is what I spent all that money on in January (32TB RAID 5)!

If the project files are relatively small and don't need much I/O performance then I suppose we could use memory sticks (will FCPX allow that?) but we still run the risk of losing a whole project file on a stick somewhere!!! I just don't know why Apple didn't say - ok, store the project file wherever you want and we'll protect it's resource files if anyone else tries to open it at the same time... how hard would that have been? And do you think it is something likely to be added?

I feel like I'm getting somewhere in understanding this all at least. Can you let me know if I'm going down the right road??? I REALLY appreciate it and I'm sure others are reading this too.

For the record all, Small Tree GB Ethernet rocks. I was able to get into the "serious" game this year at a very reasonable cost and have had nothing but smooth sailing and great support since then. Sorry for the plug, thanks again Steve.


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