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Proxy transcoding

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Trevor Asquerthian
Proxy transcoding
on Sep 29, 2010 at 9:36:48 am

I'm set to do a documentary from about 20TB of DVCProHD material. This, I understand, has been logged and clipped fairly extensively in FCP but we will be matching back and pulling sections for ourselves.

I'm minded to get the production company to invest in CatDV server edition and have them harvest the metadata from the clips and FCP projects, then transcode the original files to smaller files for further cataloguing and editing, with a relink / reconnect to the DVCProHD originals at the end.

I think they'll need the server edition due to the sheer quantity of material available. One catalogue would struggle.

The question is - which codec would you recommend compressing to for best space / RT FCP performance? Or is it feasible to just daisychain 10 x 2TB firewire drives?

And then which is the best / most versatile format to compress to for proxy viewing / cataloguing?

Does catDV have to do the compressing or is it more efficient to use MPEG streamclip or compressor or similar to do that donkeywork?

Many thanks


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bryson jones
Re: Proxy transcoding
on Sep 29, 2010 at 2:55:27 pm

Agreed, on the server thing, I've done a 20 TB P2 production and it gets big.

As to the storage, it's irrelevant to CatDV but it would obviously make your life easier if it's faster and more reliable. I don't think anyone would offer up 10 firewire drives as a solid storage solution.

There are hundreds of solutions, but if it's to be ethernet/server connected, there are great SAS RAID card/JBOD systems out now that would work for you or if you need fibre channel, there are even more solutions for that. In a confusing bit of magic, the CatDV Server doesn't need to see the storage or media, since the Client app makes the catalogs and it and the Worker can both do the transcoding. (Server is just the database part of the system.) This will become more clear as you install. However, most folks run the Worker on their server, at least in smaller shops and so it does seem that the server machine transcodes. Even though it's not the "Server" app.

Whether or not to do the transcodes in Worker is a speed thing. You can have more than one Worker, or you can hand it off to Compressor (not my fav choice) or Episode, or anything really. If the file shows up in the right path with the right name, CatDV will consider it "the proxy". If you've got more time than money, the Worker, along with your client machines, can easily crank out a few hundred hours of proxy a week.

Generally, the Squarebox crew offers up PhotoJPEG, if you need frame accurate proxy, but I've seen folks use h.264, mpeg4. It should be a mix of size, quality and frame accuracy chosen to match your storage and post workflow. Your dealer/installer can help you decide that one.


bryson "at"

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