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update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?

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Mark Raudonis
update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 20, 2013 at 7:50:07 pm

As many of you know, I was a long time fan of FCP 7, but switched back to Avid after the release of X.

One of the primary factors driving that switch was the lack of "workgroup" or shared storage capability in "X"s original release. Here we are two years later, and rather than argue about the magnetic timeline, I'd like to hear from anyone who has successfully scaled FCP to a high number of users in a shared storage environment.

How's it going?



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John Davidson
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 20, 2013 at 8:12:59 pm

I'm not sure if we have a high number of users, but I'm convinced than a number of our users are high. (sorry, couldn't resist!).

We're pretty happy with our shared system for now. There's room for improvement but like I said in the tutorials, keep your custom trannys and effects in sync and you won't hit too many snags. I think what we're looking for now are future updates and tweaks to make X just run better in general.

We're working with NAS shared systems, not SAN. Jeremy probably has better information than me in that regards.

John Davidson | President / Creative Director | Magic Feather Inc.


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Helge Tjelta
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 20, 2013 at 9:12:26 pm

I've only done it in a 10 users place on Xsan, and have moved to a new company now and have started here as well, with FCPX and XSAN.

In Xsan, you add SAN-location and remove SAN-location, almost like open/close project from FCP7.
Also, you can write one line of terminal and link the user to a shared motion template folder, then all editors get the same FX and supers and stuff.

The is really nothing that should make problems for you on moving on to a big system.
/Helge

Helge


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Oliver Peters
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 20, 2013 at 11:07:08 pm

I freelance at a facility with a volume-level SAN for sharing. The "add SAN location" feature is not available in this set-up. If the media sits on a SAN volume, the editors can simultaneously work with mirrored Events (stored locally and only linked to the media). When that is the set-up, then editors can pass Projects back and forth for versions of cuts that tie to the same set of files. Naturally in this scenario, renders are local and so editor A's render files are offline when editor B opens his local copy of editor A's project.

- Oliver

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


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 21, 2013 at 2:46:17 am

I use a metaSAN system that has a feature called ProjectStore (that can create virtual volumes good enough for Avid) that allows SAN Locations to be passed around at will. Its a very simple html5 interface that works well.

We don't have a ton of users so I can't speak to what it would mean for a facility your size.


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Lance Bachelder
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 21, 2013 at 4:59:52 am

Hey Mark,

Obviously shared storage is a huge concern for your facility and it seems that folks are finding success in multi-user set-ups. The real benefit I see using FCPX in a studio like yours where shows are almost always multi-cam and run 'n gun with long takes is how projects can be organized. Now that I'm starting to really understand FCPX and how it works with OSX including iTunes etc (thanks in a BIG way to John Davidson's tutorials!) it can totally speed up work flow for your Editors and Post Dept. Keyword and Smart Collections just blow away old-fashioned Marker/sub-clip workflow and make finding clips, soundbites etc. much more intuitive and best of all FUN! Creating multi-cam clips and then naming and finding all the selects is a breeze and the A-list Director and Producer I've shown this on a recent Doc were just blown away - and these guys are Avid diehards since the early 90's.

Suffice to say FCPX is not the same beast that was forced out after NAB '11 - it's come a long way and if you take the time to really dig in it's very "pro" and very fun to use.

See you at NAB

Lance Bachelder
Writer, Editor, Director
Irvine, California



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Keith Koby
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 21, 2013 at 6:18:16 pm

We have a lot of users (like 35 edit stations) on an xsan volume. Only about 6 or so users have moved over to using fcpx so far, but we are finding success with it and we are planning on moving more over. It's still growing as an app, but it is definitely useable on a facility level. Here's some of our findings:

As mentioned in someone else's post, we too use san locations basically in the same regard as a fcp7 project. You can open and close an fcp7 analogous "project" by adding and removing san locations. Note that a san location is one user at a time.

The san locations where the projects are stored are on the san is in a parallel directory to fcp7 project files. You have to make sure that the storage pool where you locate your san locations is beefy enough to keep render files and play them out! If you use presstore to back up/archive your projects, you can tell it to ignore the high res media folders in order to not back up/archive renders along with your projects.

We store our media centrally and do not want it copied into the event folder. If that's the way you want to do it, make sure to turn off "copy imported media into event" in the preferences. When that is off, it will just drop an alias in the event folder.

To share projects between users like you would in fcp7 by duping a project file, you can create a new san location folder and then use the project browser to copy the project and referenced events into the new san location. This works pretty well. The user working on the copy should start a new event for materials they add if you want to consolidate everything back to the original. You can also export and import xmls from one project/event to another. And compound clips are good for moving pieces of a larger project back and forth.

Besides pointing all users to a master set of generators created in motion, we are also finding it useful to import xmls for our master sets of graphics which are pre-rolled. This way we have consistency on a facility level for role and sub role naming conventions. Also whenever an update to a graphics package occurs, it is simply a new xml that we deposit in the xml repository. The next project an editor creates, they will import the new graphics master xml.

Exporting with roles and making bundle destinations is handy in x for a facility that does variation work like promos. Check into that... But it's also handy for exporting texted and textless masters as well as multitrack audio splits of full length shows or assets.

Also, you should check out what is going on with Cantemo Portal. They are a MAM system that has an xml export that feeds into fcpx as an event. So you collect assets in the mam, and then send that collection to fcpx as an event. It brings along ranges that have been annotated in the mam as keyword ranges in fcpx. I believe catdv has something going on with fcpx as well, but I'm not certain.

One last benefit that I'm seeing is the cost per edit station is going down. FCPX runs really fast on a good iMac. We've started outfitting new stations with iMac 27s and using thunderbolt devices for IO and fiber rather than macpros with pci-e cards. Also thunderbolt minis are perfectly capable of being used for capture stations where you used to use a tower... It will be interesting to run the numbers again when and if a new macpro is released.

Keith Koby
Sr. Director Post-Production Engineering
iNDEMAND
Howard TV!/Movies On Demand/iNDEMAND Pay-Per-View/iNDEMAND 3D


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Mark Raudonis
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 5:04:39 am

Thanks for the info, Keith.

mark



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Aaron Vogel
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 6:05:09 pm

Keith,
I was interested to read your post as we're having a small issue with a process very similar to yours. We're working with a Facilis SAN setup and 2 workstations.

You wrote, "We store our media centrally and do not want it copied into the event folder. If that's the way you want to do it, make sure to turn off "copy imported media into event" in the preferences. When that is off, it will just drop an alias in the event folder."

We're having trouble with FCPX not creating alias' when we import our footage from the central storage in this way.

Did you ever encounter this?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 6:20:50 pm

[Aaron Vogel] "Did you ever encounter this?"

Check with Facilis.

What format is your storage?


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Aaron Vogel
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 6:55:35 pm

Format is NTFS, but we can create shortcut files through Finder just fine, so that lead me to believe it wasn't a volume format issue.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 7:25:14 pm

[Aaron Vogel] "Format is NTFS, but we can create shortcut files through Finder just fine, so that lead me to believe it wasn't a volume format issue."

Check with Facilis.

We have NTFS storage as well and the alias files weren't getting created either. We could also create an alias with Finder.

Whatever FCPX is doing, it is a different call than what happens with Finder, and Facilis has to allow whatever that is.


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Aaron Vogel
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 7:38:28 pm

Thanks guys,
I'll check with Facilis for a solution.


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Keith Koby
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 7:10:19 pm

No. We've never seen that problem but we are on an xsan volume. I'm not very familiar with facilis, so I don't think I'd be much help to you.


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Oliver Peters
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 22, 2013 at 7:21:56 pm

[Aaron Vogel] "I was interested to read your post as we're having a small issue with a process very similar to yours. We're working with a Facilis SAN setup and 2 workstations."

See my post earlier in this thread. I am working with a Command Soft FibreJet SAN. This is volume-based. AFAIK, the Facilis units can be either volume or file-based, depending on which version you have. In our can, the "add SAN location" never worked and we have found that writing the Events and Projects to the SAN volume caused lots of short "beach balls". Our media is on the SAN, but Events/Projects are linked and written to the local workstation drives. I am willing to bet that NTFS is also a problem. You should contact Facilis and have them look into this.

Oliver

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


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John Heagy
Re: update on Shared storage, workgroup capability?
on Feb 24, 2013 at 4:54:52 am

FCPX with shared storage works well. What exactly one wants to share is where it gets tricky.

Can you describe what you want to share? Projects, footage, logging...

I could hook up 40 systems and have them all editing with FCPX off the same shared storage. The broad strokes are easy, the devil is in the details. Unfortunately Apple has chosen to take control of the details in FCPX unlike FCP7.


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