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Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?

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Francois Stark
Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:54:05 am

Hi
We have a 12 seat, 60TB sanmp SAN. 8 seats are used for FCP 7, the rest for audio. We have a central job server, where the FCP suites save all projects and related Motion files.

Any client can walk in and open any project on any machine and continue working in any FCP 7 suite. New media for that project gets saved on the suite's own write-enabled SAN volume, and any media stored on any other SAN volumes are accessed in read-only mode. No problem - we have been running like this for 6 years. No metadata server needed, not secondary ethernet network. It just works.

How do you see FCP X working in this environment? I understand that it will see each suite's own write-enabled SAN volume as just another local disk. It will create events and projects there. However:

-If you want to open a project in another suite - what happens? It will only see the media, events and project from the original suite in read-only mode. Does it create a new events database on its own write-enabled disk? Or is this just a bad idea?

Considering the AVID and CS6 alternatives to FCP X - in an environment where I have hundreds of clients who work on thousands of projects in 8 suites looking at the same media set - where do I go?

Regards
Francois


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Oliver Peters
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 6, 2012 at 3:29:56 pm

[Francois Stark] "Considering the AVID and CS6 alternatives to FCP X - in an environment where I have hundreds of clients who work on thousands of projects in 8 suites looking at the same media set - where do I go?"

Based on my experiences with FCP X and a FibreJet installation, I would say it's doable, but you need a lot of manual oversight and control over the media and projects. A lot of editor interaction. Given you criteria, your best option today the foreseeable future is going to be Avid and either ISIS/Unity or Terrablock.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Patrice Freymond
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:21:14 pm

Hi François,

we run a similar setup to yours, albeit smaller. The question of upgrading to FCPX looms and I'd be very interested to share any info regarding FCPX/SanMP (on an EVO server) with you.

Sorry I can't be of much help as of now. I plan to start testing the FCPX/EVO setup towards the end of the year.

best,

Patrice Freymond

patrice@monteur.tv


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Caspian Brand
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 6, 2012 at 8:51:04 pm

Hello Francois,

From your description it sounds like you might have your SAN volumes configured per suite. For FCP X, you might also want to consider using some volumes configured per project (if you aren't doing so already). In this way a project can move from suite to suite as needed with write access to the media.

Regards,
- Caspian

Product Specialist
Studio Network Solutions


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Bob Zelin
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 8, 2012 at 4:49:36 pm

from this wonderful article written by Steve Modica at Small Tree.
I don't know one person willing to do this, however -

http://www.small-tree.com/v/vspfiles/files/pdfs/NoMiracleToUsingFinalCutPro...

While it’s true that FCP X will not show mounted
storage volumes in either the Event library or the Project
library, they can still be shared between workstations.
Here’s how:
First, go to the Utilities folder and open Apple’s Disk
Utility. Under the File menu choose New>Blank Disk
Image. Select the drive to save it to (the Desktop is the
default) and give it a unique name. Under Size select
Custom and make it as large as you can – it cannot be
larger than the drive you’re saving it to. Now, under Image
Format select Sparse Disk Image. Click Create and your
new Disk Image automatically mounts.
Launch FCP X and the Disk Image will appear in both
the Event and Project Libraries. Select the Disk Image
in the Event Library and hit Option+N to create a new
Event. Select the Disk Image in the Project Library and
hit Command+N to create a New Project.
Now select File>Import>Files and locate the folder on
the shared storage volume containing your media fi les. You
want to Add them to Existing Event and choose the Event
you just created. Uncheck Copy Files to Final Cut Events
Folder, make sure Create Optimized Media and Create
Proxy Media are also unchecked, and then click Import. If
you open the Final Cut Events Folder on the Disk Image
you’ll see that Final Cut has created an Alias to each of the
media fi les on the shared storage - note the fi les have a
Quicktime icon with a little arrow in the corner.
Edit your project and, when you’re done, use the
Finder to copy the Disk Image to the shared storage.
When another editor in another edit suite wants to
work on this project he/she simply copies the Disk
Image to a local drive, mounts it, and then opens FCP
X. The Events and Projects should be online and ready
to edit. When fi nished, use the Finder to copy the Disk
Image back to the shared storage again.
Follow the above instructions and you and your team
will be using Final Cut Pro X and marveling at everything
it has to offer.



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Tim Wilson
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 8, 2012 at 6:20:41 pm

see? piece of cake.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 8, 2012 at 6:34:37 pm

[Bob Zelin] "I don't know one person willing to do this, however - "

You need to get out more, Bob ;-)

[Bob Zelin] "Here’s how:"

This is a good post, but bear in mind that creating sparse disk images has nothing to do with working in shared environments. It's merely a way of organizing sessions/productions without having to move subfolders in and out of the Events and Projects folders on your hard drives. You'll notice that in this description, the actual working files are being moved from the SAN to/from local storage for work.

Here is an alternative workflow. Media stays on the common SAN volumes. SAN volumes can be organized by client/session/production or by write-volume-per-room. On each workstation that will work with this media, import the media into an Event (stored locally). Make sure to link and not copy media. All workstations involved should have identical Events. At this points various editors can cut entirely different projects from the same Events/Media. When you need to share or move sequences, simply copy the pertinent Project subfolder (renders files would be optional) to the other workstation. Place that Project subfolder into the FC Projects folder and launch FCP X. You may have to relink media files, but it's a dirt-simple process.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Harlan
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 8, 2012 at 10:48:21 pm

Never mind. Sorry. Nothing happening here.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 8, 2012 at 10:45:35 pm

[Bob Zelin] "Edit your project and, when you’re done, use the
Finder to copy the Disk Image to the shared storage.
When another editor in another edit suite wants to
work on this project he/she simply copies the Disk
Image to a local drive, mounts it, and then opens FCP
X. "


It just blows my mind that people are using disk images to share files and that other people are crowing over FCP X's super slick media capabilities. Apple is the only company I can think of that people would do this for. Any other company would have been laughed off the planet.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 8, 2012 at 11:14:29 pm

[Chris Harlan] "It just blows my mind that people are using disk images to share files and that other people are crowing over FCP X's super slick media capabilities. Apple is the only company I can think of that people would do this for. Any other company would have been laughed off the planet."

FCP X isn't particularly better or worse than legacy as far as sharing. Collaborative workflows have never been a strong point for FCP. Due to its somewhat "open" nature, plenty of folks had developed really good, but highly customized, workflows. These allowed them to do collaboration/sharing in ways that worked for their shop. In most cases, those have never been true collaborative environments, but rather "project-duplication" and "project-moving" environments.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Harlan
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 12:34:58 am

[Oliver Peters] "[Chris Harlan] "It just blows my mind that people are using disk images to share files and that other people are crowing over FCP X's super slick media capabilities. Apple is the only company I can think of that people would do this for. Any other company would have been laughed off the planet."

FCP X isn't particularly better or worse than legacy as far as sharing. Collaborative workflows have never been a strong point for FCP. Due to its somewhat "open" nature, plenty of folks had developed really good, but highly customized, workflows. These allowed them to do collaboration/sharing in ways that worked for their shop. In most cases, those have never been true collaborative environments, but rather "project-duplication" and "project-moving" environments.

- Oliver
"


Oh, I know. I was just being crabby. Actually, the "never mind" I left in a neighboring post was meant to replace what I'd said above. But, while we're here-- having to make "disk images"? Isn't that a little much. I mean, instead of copying a folder and sharing a project file you have to fake a system out completely by making it think its using the same disk? I'm glad it works, but doesn't that seem a wee bit crazy? FCP has never had the kind of capabilities that you get with Unity, but for the last five or six years, its been pretty easy to share work. A lot of people complain about Media Manager, but its worked very well for me. Its pretty easy to give somebody a chunk of timeline, let them work on it for awhile, and then re-intergrate. It really doesn't take a lot of figuring or a high level of customization. Again, it ain't ISIS, but still--we're talking cut & paste.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 12:53:53 am

[Chris Harlan] "But, while we're here-- having to make "disk images"? Isn't that a little much. I mean, instead of copying a folder and sharing a project file you have to fake a system out completely by making it think its using the same disk?"

Read my post before. Disk images are not necessary. It's *a way* of doing it, but for organization, NOT "sharing". Just last week I was bouncing sequences between two rooms based on common media. Didn't even copy the Event. Different imports in each room (from the same media files). Then I just moved the project files from one room to the next and relinked. Pretty much like in Avid (without Unity) or in FCP 7.

Would something like Unity/Isis be nice? Sure. We'll just have to see if it's in the plans. Want one better? Lightworks has actually demonstrated two editors actively working on parts of the SAME timeline at once!

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Chris Harlan
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 4:01:07 am

[Oliver Peters] "Read my post before. Disk images are not necessary. It's *a way* of doing it, but for organization, NOT "sharing". Just last week I was bouncing sequences between two rooms based on common media. Didn't even copy the Event. Different imports in each room (from the same media files). Then I just moved the project files from one room to the next and relinked. Pretty much like in Avid (without Unity) or in FCP 7."

Well, that's good to know. I definitely have to say things out loud a little more to ferret out where my misconceptions lie. I'm curious: Let's say you are working on a sizzle reel with a very tight deadline. In FCP X, is it easy to take like four or five chunks of a long rough cut, do something like media manage them with handles (so that they don't have to carry source files with them), hand them out to different editors, and then re-assemble them for completion? Is something like that as doable as it is in other NLEs?

[Oliver Peters] "Lightworks has actually demonstrated two editors actively working on parts of the SAME timeline at once!
"


That's pretty wild!


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Oliver Peters
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 3:13:59 pm

[Chris Harlan] " I'm curious: Let's say you are working on a sizzle reel with a very tight deadline. In FCP X, is it easy to take like four or five chunks of a long rough cut, do something like media manage them with handles (so that they don't have to carry source files with them), hand them out to different editors, and then re-assemble them for completion?"

Copy and consolidate - no problem. Trim with handles? No. I agree with what you are asking, but I am also finding that trimming creates some problems. In general, I see that developers are moving away from it in a file-based world, since clips are *usually* short. When I say "problems", for instance FCP 7 MM completely messes up Alexa files if you don't take the entire clip.

My greater concern these days is that FCP X is still pretty much an island. For instance, right now I have a project where I am unable to translate the timeline over to 7 and get a proper audio configuration. I need to do that for the OMF. Definitely still a work in progress.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 4:32:17 pm

[Chris Harlan] "It just blows my mind that people are using disk images to share files and that other people are crowing over FCP X's super slick media capabilities. Apple is the only company I can think of that people would do this for. Any other company would have been laughed off the planet."

While it's a very clever work around, I agree it is completely odd. Like Oliver, I also think it's kind of unnecessary.

There has been some discussion on this method, and the consensus seems to be while it's convenient and does "solve" a problem it hampers performance.

I have a file based SAN (not Volume based) and I really like FCPXs media capabilities. The SAN Locations makes things very manageable, and it's a shame this capability isn't built in to non SAN volumes (although technically, I can see why it's not). It is super simple to load Events/Projects on any machine without quitting/leaving the application or messing around in the Finder, and my SAN software acutally has a lockout system (called ProjectStore) that enables virutal read/write and read only "Volumes" to prevent people from overwrting each other's work. It also enables a checkin/checkout system. Screen grabs here:



0_projectstore.png

What it looks like on the desktop:



projectstore_2.png

A volume based SAN, as Oliver pointed out, isn't all that different from an FCP7 way of doing things once when you get used to what it looks like. The separate Project and Event structure is actually not so bad. Sharing Projects (edits) is acutally pretty slick. Having the timeline spearate from the browser can be helpful, but it does take getting used to.

[Chris Harlan] "In FCP X, is it easy to take like four or five chunks of a long rough cut, do something like media manage them with handles (so that they don't have to carry source files with them), hand them out to different editors, and then re-assemble them for completion? Is something like that as doable as it is in other NLEs?"

You can consolidate media from a Project to a new Event, but it doesn't trim.

There's this (third party) application for clip based exporting in FCPX, but it only works in ref files it seems. Still it's an interesting app to know about if you haven't seen it before.

http://clipexporter.mindtransplant.com/

I'm sorry I keep being "that guy" that always chimes in on SAN posts. Although full capability/flexibility isn't there yet, I feel it's a really good start for "out of the box" support for file based SANs and sharing within an NLE. I do think it will get better, but it's up to Apple. Better/easier Volume based support would be good too.

Jeremy


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Chris Harlan
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 5:21:14 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I'm sorry I keep being "that guy" that always chimes in on SAN posts"

No! I find it interesting. I haven't been working with a SAN for the last few years, other than when I sit in with a company that has one, but I've always been interested in networking, so I live vicariously through your posts.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jul 9, 2012 at 6:18:44 pm

[Chris Harlan] "No! I find it interesting. "

The weird thing about FCPX is that for every "how come this isn't there?" like the lack of Volume (or hard drive) based "Location" type media management, there's also a "wow, this is actually pretty cool" like file/directory based SAN Locations.

A work in progress is a great way to describe it.

Jeremy


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Chris Toll
Re: Anyone seriously using FCP X in a Volume-based SAN like SanMP?
on Jun 30, 2014 at 4:21:35 pm

I have SANmp running on 3 suites. I have also used both FCP7 and FCPX on the setup.

The limiting factor is that FCPX can not see a volume that is mounted “Read-Only” it must be “Read-Write”. There may be a work around, but frankly we didn't have the patience for that. Since we use FCPX for the vast majority of our projects, and considering upgrading to more storage anyway, we chose to go with a new file-based SAN system (non-XSAN). Now all suites can access all projects and access all the footage when they need it.

There are a couple of all-in-one solutions out there now that have metadata controllers and such all inside the box. Worth checking out.


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