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Multi-site post-production work with DaVinci

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Jonathan Bigler
Multi-site post-production work with DaVinci
on Jan 23, 2015 at 11:00:55 am

Hi all!

this is a bit of an open question, where I'll post my observations. We're a production company, about two years ago grew into doing our own post-work, and now we're taking a new step working multi-site. We have used DaVinci Resolve for about 3 years now, first for color grading, then online and exporting conformed footage for VFX work.

I see that DaVinci now comes loaded with tools for remote work, and I would love to try to setup some kind of a multi-site virtual post-house. So you could work on projects, between the countries, without the need to manually send back and forth anything.

As a basis, we have:
- In each location a DaVinci workstation
- 200Mbs symmetric internet access on both ends
- Two file servers that mirrors each other in "realtime" (whenever a file is placed on one side, it's automatically sent on the other server). The servers will be mounted using the same path. The raw material will be synced right after the shoot, and the transfer has a few days to occur during the editing phase. By the time the edit is locked, the raw material should be available on both locations.

I would like to use a shared database, so that a project can for example be conformed in Oslo, VFX footage exported in Danemark, graded in Oslo and onlined in Danemark.

I would also like to use remote grading to have color sessions, and/or online approvals across the locations.

I see two main approaches:

VPN based
Those collaborative tools are intended to work on a local network. Using the VPN technology, we could create a virtual unique local network. But in my experience, VPN can be somewhat unstable, and slow. It feels like heavy machinery, and an added breaking point in the workflow. Accessing the raw material over VPN is not going to work anyways, so I am rather considering the next option.

Mirrored network
The raw material is found on each end, mounted on the workstation using the same path. The database is found in one location, and is access over the internet by opening up that port to incoming traffic. Luckily, a project conformed in Norway will load properly in Danemark as well.


To be tested and figured out:
- Is accessing the database over the internet quick enough to work? It should be a pretty lightweith traffic, but still.
- How will this work with the stills? I guess I need to have them on the synced file server as well.
- Can I do remote grading where the client and master are accessing the same remote database? I suppose, to be tested.
- Should I rather run the database on one of the two workstation, or on the file server on one end (a Mac mini). I don't like the idea of having too much running on the file server, but at the same time it's always available. No reboot. Maybe I should consider an additional machine.

If you have any inputs, experience, or ideas, I'm grateful :-) I'll keep you posted on the progress.


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Jonathan Bigler
Re: Multi-site post-production work with DaVinci
on Feb 2, 2015 at 2:42:20 pm

How to install a shared DaVinci Resolve project server on Mac OS X Server Yosemite

OK, here is episode 2 - Installing a DaVinci Resolve project server.

I decided to install our project database on a dedicated computer, a Mac mini. The documentation has a procedure for that, but PostgresSQL didn't seem to install properly on this Mac OS X Server Yosemite. So, here's my workaround:
  • Use Postgres.app to install pgsql, super easy: http://postgresapp.com/, the nice thing here, is that it's installed at a user level, instead of having it run at the system level. I think that's why it works, it avoids conflicts with existing instances of PGSQL on the system. So the config files and bins are now found in: /Users/username/Library/Application Support/Postgres/var-9.4/ One comment though, this is a newer version than the one run by DaVinci by default. It doesn't seem to be a problem so far, we'll see.

  • Install the latest pgAdmin for Mac OS X: http://www.pgadmin.org/download/macosx.php

  • In phAdmin, create a new role, called "postgres" and give it all the privileges. (by default Postgres.app is using your system user as an administrator, DaVinci however is using postgres as a user by default)

  • By now, if you should be able to open DaVinci locally, and create a new database on the PGSQL server.

  • Last but not least, you have to allow external connexion from your network on your local database server. I found DaVinci's documentation incomplete in that regard. But this worked for me: http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/postgres-allow-remote-access-tcp-connection.h...

  • Now you should be able to connect to your DaVinci project server from an other DaVinci client by setting up the connexion in the database manager on the client.


Have fun ;-)


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