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Jonathan Lester
Hard Drive Management Amongst Multiple Users
on May 20, 2015 at 3:49:43 pm

Hey gang!
Hopefully "Storage" is the correct sub forum for the topic.

I've been working at a studio for the past 2 years with a very small team of only 1-2 editors/motion graphic artists, and the occasional freelancer. We've always had 4-5 external drives, each with different projects (plus an archive) and every one would only work on their assigned project with no need to shuttle drives between bays. On the rare occasion another user would need access to a particular project, I would be able to hand off the drive and work on another project located on different drive. Very simple and logical.

We recently started acquiring a larger cliental with a larger scope of projects. (Multiple videos with much higher budgets instead of single one-offs with a low budget). This led to hiring an extra full-time editor to ease the work load. However, now that we have 3 editors/motion graphic artists all working on different aspects of the same projects while juggling other portions of different projects, shuttling hard drives back and forth between editing bays has become an incredible inconvenience and headache. (It is also of note that we exclusively use the Adobe Suite.)

Unfortunately, our studio doesn't have the budget to buy a server yet, so we're currently trying to find ways to manage our surplus of hard drives with multiple iterations of the same project files. All this leads to my question: Can anyone recommend solutions for drive project management between multiple users and computers without using a server system?

Detailed Example:
Project X started on two clone drives which also have projects A,B,C and D on them. I would work on a portion of the video edits for Project X, while my partner would work on a separate computer for the remaining edits in Project X. Once I finish, I move on to working with Project A, while my partner works on Project B (both located on our perspective drives). This creates multiple iterations of the same Premiere and After Effects project files with different edits. Swapping the drive between edit bays and copying project files so we can work on each other's edits creates even more project files with different iterations. This is compounded my the addition of yet more projects with different deadlines as well as MORE hard drives to allow space for footage, exports and the like. All these factors have lead to 2-3 current projects isolated to a single drive, and editors sit twiddling their thumbs because they have no work because the most recent files are only on one drive.

So yes. All this has lead to some serious efficiency problems. Can anyone recommend a management system that would alleviate or solve theses issues?

My studio has time to reorganize projects scattered throughout various drives in the lull between project deadlines and approvals. Any advice would be appreciated. (Minus, "you should just buy a server.")


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Bob Zelin
Re: Hard Drive Management Amongst Multiple Users
on May 21, 2015 at 10:17:10 pm

it's cheap to buy a server today. You don't need to spend "the big bucks" to make this happen anymore.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Ryan Ackland
Re: Hard Drive Management Amongst Multiple Users
on May 21, 2015 at 10:58:54 pm

Hey Jonathan,

Give us a call here at Maxx Digital and we can show you what we have to offer.

714-374-4944
ryan@maxxdigital.com

Ryan


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Jamie Wonnacott
Re: Hard Drive Management Amongst Multiple Users
on Jun 23, 2015 at 8:35:45 am

It sounds like you are in a similar situation to us. We are a video production company in Bristol and have also been considering storage for larger projects and came up with some novel ideas that avoided buying a NAS Drive or Server. Our system allows several computer to run as a mirror of each other, ensuring that each computer has the full project file and allowing each user to make a change, close the project and a colleague continue making changes. The system also ensure there are multiple backups of each file in the event a drive goes down.

I've made a short video to share my findings here: Tips for Filmmakers | Video Storage, NAS & Bittorrent Sync
Hope it helps.

Jamie Wonnacott
Creative Video Production Bristol Somerset
Wedding Video Production Somerset


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Daniel Fletcher
Re: Hard Drive Management Amongst Multiple Users
on Jul 31, 2015 at 5:03:53 pm

what kind of networking equipment are you utilizing this sync solution with?
Id imagine there is a fair bit of waiting involved if you are on Gb ethernet...
At least following a footage dump.
Interesting non the less however I find it hard to see this as a big cost savings when considering the necessary supporting network structure, why not use the third box as a server and connect an 8 disk array?
Excuse me if Im missing something...


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Jamie Wonnacott
Re: Hard Drive Management Amongst Multiple Users
on Aug 3, 2015 at 9:26:43 am

We're simply using a 10/100Mbps 5 port switch to link our computers.
I agree that it takes a short while to synchronise the main video files across computers when a project is first started but after that the project files are synchronised instantaneously along with any other images/audio/files added.
We've not found a problem with this and usually just leave the computers running of an evening, in the first instance, until everything is copied across.
The main benefit is that this not only serves as a backup system in case of a drive failure but also allows us to work on projects together.
Possibly not the best solution but it certainly works well for us with minimal investment in additional equipment.

Jamie Wonnacott
Creative Video Production Bristol Somerset
Wedding Video Production Somerset


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