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Sharing projects between two workstations

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Elizabeth Grams
Sharing projects between two workstations
on May 19, 2010 at 7:45:03 pm

I want to expand to two video editing workstations, adding a 17" MacbookPro to the MacPro I already have. Because I produce news and documentary projects, there's a lot of footage, which I keep on a G-Tech GSpeedeS external hard drive in RAID 5, connected via eSATA. The laptop will be a big help on the road, but I would like to be able to edit the same projects on both computers when they are both here in my studio. There will be two editors working.

I'm still fairly new to Mac and FinalCut, self-taught and without speaking the language well (of either video editing or networking). My understanding is that to share projects between the two computers, using something like firewire or ethernet to connect to the same location won't be fast enough for video editing. This means I've got to have the project files and media files (that currently reside in the GSpeedeS) in two separate locations, with at least one of those locations being mobile so that project files can be updated on each computer after one editor has modified them.

Here's the two most logical options I see:

1.Get another RAID array, perhaps just a G-RAID (4TB in RAID 0), that will have a copy of all that's on the current G-Speedes: the media, the projects and project files. I can hook this up to the MacbookPro most of the time and attach it to the MacPro when either of the two editing stations need to update one another. With an eSATA Expresscard for the MacbookPro, that will cost about $630.

2.Get three 2TB hard drives to stick inside the MacPro, get a RAID card for MacPro, and set up RAID 5 w/ those three drives. That internal array would function like the current external array on the GSpeedes, with the GSpeedes now "at home" with the MacbookPro, just hooking up the the MacPro for updating. This option, with the three hard drives, the Expresscard, and the expensive ($700??) RAID card for MacPro, would cost $1280.

I don't understand why an internal RAID array should be so much more expensive, but it seems like getting another external array would be much more cost-efficient. I don't know about performance, how the two options would compare in that way. Is option 1, with two arrays, the best? Am I missing something?

thanks!

Computer Model/OS: MacPro 8-core (2 x 2.66GHz Quad-Core), Mac OS X (10.5.8)
Other Info: Final Cut Pro 6.0.6; 6GB RAM; NVIDIA GeForce GT 120
External Array: G-Tech GSpeedeS, 6TB in RAID 5.


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Brian Berdan
Re: Sharing projects between two workstations
on May 20, 2010 at 3:47:30 am

Hi Elisabeth,
I'm used to the performance and flexibility of Avid's Unity, but last summer on a Final Cut show, a young director turned me on to a really basic sharing setup that I didn't think would work... Storage drive on one machine linked via file-sharing/ethernet cable to the other. We were both able to edit the same material at the same time- and this was 1920x1080 ProRes HQ. I just hooked up the same setup today between my MacPro and MacBook Pro and it's working fine with ProRes LT material. Occasional dropped frames during playback, but for editing, totally fine (turn off the warning in User Settings).

If you're green on the Mac, sharing is in System Preferences/Sharing. Connected harddrives show up under "Shared Folders", then add a user and set their access.

But obviously don't have both of you opening the same file at the same time... That's why Avid's Unity is so slick...

Brian Berdan
migrant filmworker

currently on a MacBookPro, using FCP 7.0.1, ProResLT from Firewire (4 TB of incredible footage) and a simple DVI out to the monitor- things are getting simpler.


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Elizabeth Grams
Re: Sharing projects between two workstations
on May 21, 2010 at 8:11:05 pm

Thanks Brian.

I'm a little perplexed about this ethernet solution, though. I keep hearing that ethernet connections are not fast enough for video editing. Yet it seems to work for you. I also hear that the current MacBook Pro laptops are not capable of handling Jumbo Frames (a limitation of the internal Ethernet adapter) and therefore are no good at playing video over Ethernet.

Does this discrepancy in reports ring a bell for you?

thanks!

Computer Model/OS: MacPro 8-core (2 x 2.66GHz Quad-Core), Mac OS X (10.5.8)
Other Info: Final Cut Pro 6.0.6; 6GB RAM; NVIDIA GeForce GT 120
External Array: G-Tech GSpeedeS, 6TB in RAID 5.


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Brian Berdan
Re: Sharing projects between two workstations
on May 24, 2010 at 4:35:47 am

Hey Elizabeth,
Away from the cutting room for a few days... how nice for me!
Well, all I know is my assistant and I are having no problems playing the same ProRes LT material at the same time. And as I said, HQ 1920x1080 worked great on my last show with this setup. Mind you, we're not laying back to tape so dropped frames are not an issue... but I don't see any.
My MacBookPro is a couple years old so I don't know about the problem with the newer ones and jumbo frames... my director is an old hollywood pro- I'm sure he feels all his frames are jumbo!

Good luck
Brian

Brian Berdan
migrant filmworker

currently on a MacBookPro, using FCP 7.0.1, ProResLT from Firewire (4 TB of incredible footage) and a simple DVI out to the monitor- things are getting simpler.


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Luis Espinoza
Re: Sharing projects between two workstations
on Oct 22, 2010 at 9:27:45 pm

Ethernet is enough. I setup a network with 13 edition desktop (combined new and old iMacs, Macpros) using Gigabit Ethernet with a Cisco switch. All the macs have network users and sharing a SAN through AFP, it is about 40 people editing in different hours and ALL edit on the shared SAN. For the old mac, is faster editing on the share SAN than local disk, and the network has one peak of 113MB/s (around 900Mbits/s), the rest of traffic is below 50% of the bandwidth. No jumbo packets and in case of need it, I can use the second interface to balance the load, by now is not necessary. Any user can close the project then login in another mac and continue working with the same project. Is not possible to open the same project by different users at the same time, but the users split their project and at the end join it. FCP has many problems with the especial permissions on the SAN (is not the network, because is only FCP the problem)


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