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Making work mobile between two towers

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Brad HodgsonMaking work mobile between two towers
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 3:48:23 pm

Hey all,

I was hoping I could get some advice from people who do this... work with media/projects/assets at work, take things home to work from there,and vice versa.

My living situation will be changing in the next week or two... I'll be going from being 30 seconds away from my work to close to an hour. If things needed to be done, renders need to be started, deadlines needed to be met, etc... I would just stay late or walk over late to get things finished up.

Now, I will be needing to take work home and work from there at the end of the day.. so I need to keep projects "mirrored". Has anyone found a good method to this? So assets don't get lost/forgotten, etc.?

I use AE CS4 and FCP 7 at work... I have a Drobo where I store all client folders with graphics, project files, assets... I have a MacPro tower with internal drives where my capture scratch is located for digitizing clips. At home I have same programs and a MacPro as well, so I'm covered there at least.

I realize I'll need to copy/transfer capture scratch to my home tower when the project calls for it, but most of my work is graphics (as I'm mainly a motion designer)... so most of the time I work from my Drobo here at work. The Drobo unit belongs to my work, so I thought of purchasing my own (as I've been wanting one for my own purposes) and hauling that back and forth from work and home... but it would be very nice if my two units were always mirrored.. so the work one always stayed at my office... in case something happened or something got left in one place, etc.

I may be over-thinking this too, though so anyone who deals with this, please... I'd love to hear the most efficient and fail-safe way you've found to accomplish this.


Brad Hodgson

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Tony SilvaRe: Making work mobile between two towers
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 4:38:24 pm

I say when you get off work, then go home, have a beer, and relax :)

I'd look into some remote login software for being and at home and checking/setting up renders.

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Brad HodgsonRe: Making work mobile between two towers
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 6:56:27 pm

Haha thanks, Tony. Believe me, I still do that... well, the beer part at least.

Remote software is actually great advice that I almost forgot about. I think that will be a key element in my new workflow. Thank you!

Brad Hodgson

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Dave JohnsonRe: Making work mobile between two towers
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 6:38:58 pm

I've been doing exactly what you're describing for most of my career including years as a freelancer working on many different machines.

As a means to fill 2 needs with one method (mobility & full backups), I developed the habit of keeping all AE source media on multiple carefully organized external hard drives. It sounds like you've got that covered with your Drobos, but just in case, this post has a link to the drives I use, which I highly recommend:

Until a few years ago, I used a file synchronization program a friend wrote to automate the tedious organization work, but it became less functional as operating systems changed so I'm still looking for the best replacement. There are so many on the market now that I'm having trouble comparing pros and cons without installing a dozen trial versions on my systems. I'll post here if I'm able to determine a winner soon since good synch software is key to avoiding the typical issues you wisely predicted - "So assets don't get lost/forgotten, etc.".

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Brad HodgsonRe: Making work mobile between two towers
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 7:03:46 pm

Lovely. Thank you, Dave. Those drives look perfect... and now you've got me thinking. I don't regularly have projects that keep me here ungodly hours - maybe only one or two projects a month. Most allow me to leave at a fairly decent time... haha.

Anyway, I wonder if I get a sturdy/rugged drive like the one you own as a transfer drive between home and work, with my carefully labeled mobile project files... and as supplement, a remote log in program like Tony mentioned above for those "ugh" moments where a file was left, a render needed starting, etc.

I would be very interested in the file sync program if you find a winner as I'm not clear exactly on how those work... in the meantime, I'll do my own research as it sounds like that would be the last step in keeping things updated and organized... thanks foe the heads up.

Brad Hodgson

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Dave JohnsonRe: Making work mobile between two towers
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 8:59:54 pm

I'm glad you found my 2 cents helpful.

If you work for a large company, they probably have some sort of VPN (Virtual Private Network) available, which allows users to securely log into and use their work desktops from another computer.

From what I've seen of VPN, it seems fine for working on documents, etc., but not at all suitable for video and graphics work ... could you imagine trying to run AE over the internet!? However, I'm not an IT guy so I can't say that it's not possible since what I've seen could be more a function of our network's capabilities.

By the way, the ruggedness and carrying cases of the MAXX drives are definitely very important things that make them well-suited for constant portable use, but also note that they are quad-interface (eSATA, FW800, FW400 & USB2) ... I really like the fact that I can plug into literally any computer at it's fastest external drive speed and get right to work.

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