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SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files

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Adam White
SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 16, 2011 at 8:01:29 pm

Hi All,

We have recently had a SAN installed at the production company I work at.

It's generally been working very well, and we haven't come across too many issues.

However, there is one aspect that we've found pretty confusing and having searched online I'm still really none the wiser so I thought it might be a good idea to consult the COW!

A bit of background about our set-up;
The Ethernet SAN Solution we have - http://www.gblabs.com/products/Space/
6x Mac Pro all running OS X 10.6.8 and Final Cut Studio 3

Video Capture/Video Render/Audio Render set to the SAN
Waveform Cache/Thumbnail Cache/Autosave Vault set to the local workstation
Generally working with ProRes 422 (LT) video, with a little bit of HDV now and then

We only ever have 1 editor working from the same project file at a time, and if we need multiple editors on the same project we duplicate the project.

If an editor is working on a FCP project file located on the SAN, everything works fine 75% of the time. However, occasionally we get an error message when trying to save the project which is either along the lines of "the file does not exist" or everybody's favourite "general error". The only solution is to save the project locally, and then move it back on to the SAN afterwards.

Today we've been having a problem that hasn't come up before. When trying to render out sequences (in numerous projects, all using different source material) after a few seconds rendering discontinues and we get the error message "out of memory". However, if the project file is saved locally and then re-opened from the local file rendering progresses without any issues.


We have consulted with our stockists who supplied us with the SAN and they've said that this is an issue with Final Cut, and that the software requires project files be local at all times. That may well be absolutely correct, but I'm keene to gain a bit of insight from others.

Is running FCP project files from a SAN a big NO-NO and if so, why should it be the case that we can do so without issues for the vast majority of the time, only having issues every now and then. Perhaps we have set up FCP incorrectly? We generally found performance to be much better with waveforms saved locally, and we decided to store the autosave locally as a bit of insurance in case something went wrong with the project file saved on the SAN (particularly since we do get these seemingly random errors)

I'd be really grateful for any advice - it's something that's been bugging me for a couple weeks!


Best,
Adam


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Matt Doe
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 16, 2011 at 8:09:20 pm

Production house I work for uses 2 large XSANs. Our workflow is to copy any project files locally and work from there.

We use the SAN to back our projects up at the end of the day (have a FCP Project Backups folder); or at any point if we need to move a project from one room to another.

We also have our capture and renders set to go to the SAN, waveforms and autosaves are set locally.

I wish I could give more in depth info, but it's been standard operating since I started with this company over 3 years ago to not work with project files housed on the SAN. It falls into one of those, we just don't do it that way as it tends to be more stable to have it locally, categories.



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Adam White
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 16, 2011 at 8:18:27 pm

Thanks Matt,

This is the kind of insight I'm looking for. It may well be that a workflow like yours is the best solution, but I just wanted some more perspectives.

I found it a little bit difficult to get my head round, just because working from the SAN project files works for the vast majority of the time. It just seemed weird that it would only cause a problem some of the time. I also couldn't/can't get my head round how video files don't cause a problem, but the project file does.


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Shane Ross
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:07:23 pm

Rule of thumb with FCP and SAN...

WORK LOCALLY...BACKUP GLOBALLY. Always work from project files on your machines system drive. Then backup your project to the SAN. That is the most important piece of advice I got from Mark Raudonis, the Post Super at Bunim/Murray, the guy who invented the SAN workflow with FCP.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mark Raudonis
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 17, 2011 at 3:41:34 am

Yep. I said that. I also added, save "mobile-ly"... meaning to a USB thumb drive, as an extra added measure of protection. Locally. Globally. Mobile-ly and you won't go wrong.

As for why opening and working with FCP projects on the SAN can go wrong... there are just too many reasons to bother trouble shooting. Therefore, you can store your projects "globally", but pull them to your local client computer and open them "locally". You want to archive in at least two places anyway, so there's really no problem working this way. It actually encourages you to keep two copies. Use a logical naming convention that includes the DATE in the file name and it's easy for everyone to know what is the latest project.

Good luck.

Mark



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Adam White
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 17, 2011 at 10:05:15 am

Thanks everyone.

Appreciate your taking the time out to give your advice. It's making more sense to me now.

Have a great day :)


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Jeremy Doyle
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 17, 2011 at 8:49:44 pm

[Mark Raudonis] "Yep. I said that. I also added, save "mobile-ly"... meaning to a USB thumb drive, as an extra added measure of protection. Locally. Globally. Mobile-ly and you won't go wrong."

One quick tip related to this. If you're a dropbox user and you keep projects stored there, then you don't have to worry about carrying around a thumb drive. I have an array at home that is named the same as my array at work. As long as I have the "media" in both places, I can work on my current project either place and not have to worry about forgetting to bring my thumb drive with me. It also gives me three current copies of my project file. One at work, one at home, and one in the cloud.



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John Heagy
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:37:26 pm

We do save and work with FCP project files directly from our XSan. We do on occasion run into the "general error" when saving. The solution is to save locally, quit FCP, copy the file back to the san and resume. We have the Autosave go local into the Shared account as we also use network user accounts. We basically do everything Apple says not to do... but it works for us.

The "out of memory" error during rendering is usually due to hi rez stills in the timeline. If you have them try re-saving in Photoshop or resizing them down a bit.

One word of advice: If you do run into the "general error" when saving don't put off saving local. It can eventually get into a condition where it won't save anywhere.


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Gene Strocco
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:37:27 pm

Hi guys,

Sorry for the late entry...just looking into FCPX XSAN systems now.

I assume you are all discussing saving and moving JUST the Projects folder/file, correct? Not the Media?

If it involves moving the media locally, then why bother having an Xsan?

Also, can you provide a bit more info on:

1) What hardware you are using? Activesan? CalDigit SuperShare? Any tips?

2) On the Xsan, if 2 editors are working of locally saved project files, can they both access the same media simultaneously if editing different (local) projects?

3) Do you recommend a secondary backup for media as well? Have you had any issues with media 'disappearing' off the Xsan?

Thanks!

Gene.


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Brian Kusch
Re: SAN Storage and Final Cut Pro project files
on Jan 24, 2012 at 7:58:29 pm

Sort of off-topic (a little). Some people on this thread are using the terms work locally and store globally. I get this and agree. Others are saying pull down the timeline and work locally but keep the media on the VSAN. I agree with this also. However the problem I'm having is that I just switched to FCP X and I can't figure out how to put my media files at a particular VSAN location, and then keep my "Event" info at a different location, like my internal comptuer drive.

I'm using Command Soft, Fiber Jet on a Rorke Galaxy Fiber Array.

Any help or a suggestion of where to look for help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks


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