SHARED VIDEO PROJECTS & FINAL CUT PRO 7
Apple’s Final Cut Pro 7 (FCP7) is a highly popular editing, compositing and effects solution. It is widely still employed worldwide for film, video and TV post production.
With FCP7, sharing video projects can be straightforward, especially if workgroups are using a GB Labs’ Space environment which makes collaborative editing considerably faster, safer and more productive than hosting media assets on individual workstations. Moreover, by reducing the need for high-speed storage arrays for each MacBook Pro and Mac Pro, centralized media sharing can help achieve significant cost-savings.
Media is ingested onto Tier 1 Space storage client workstations. Mac or PC edit, audio and graphics stations can be connected directly via 1Gb of 10Gb Ethernet; many more can join the workgroup with the use of a multi-port switch. All users now have instant, uninterrupted, concurrent access to HD media and project files over the network. FCP7 projects open on each Mac workstation fast and efficiently with all links and media in place – there’s no need for duplication of media for every user.
As FCP7 is often used in conjunction with other software tools, such as Autodesk Smoke, Adobe After Effects and Motion, it is good to know that Space can support these packages in a shared environment. Also vital is the system’s ability to work concurrently with Apple, Windows and Linux clients – there’s full support for true multi-disciplinary workgroups.
New assets are often transcoded on ingest as FCP7 prefers to work with the ProRes format. Space has the performance simultaneously to accommodate real-time HD editors and to integrate with media processing and encoding nodes for an uninterrupted end-to-end post production workflow.
We recommend that as files are brought onto Space, users should plan a structure for the data. A logical folder system on the storage volume will help editors quickly identify and access each media asset and help them use FCP7 without a glitch.
To help achieve this consistency, many organizations standardize a defined workflow for where files are stored and where projects are created. Adopting this type of convention makes it unnecessary for editors to re-link projects. They can also hot-desk without having to re-establish pathways in the software.
SETTING UP CLIENT WORKSTATIONS
Attach laptops, workstations (Mac, PC & Linux) to your network with standard 1Gbe connections. Then map a network drive or mount the volume – it’s as simple as that. No client software, no configuration, no driver, no licence, no limit to the number of users.
Networks that run at 10Gb Ethernet are also fully supported: a 10Gb card is installed in the storage units and clients. Again, there is no further configuration required. Even the latest iMac, Mac mini computers and Mac Book Pro laptops can connect to 10Gbe networks with a PCI network adapter card installed in a Sonnet Echo external Thunderbolt chassis.
LOCATION EDITING & SMALL WORKGROUPS
Smaller workgroups (of 2 – 8 editors) can also share projects with GB Labs products, either in the office or in the field. The desktop Midi devices and portable Mini systems have the performance to undertake sophisticated editing jobs from any location. Simple networking, instant client attachment and sustained performance turns FCP7 into a real go-anywhere workgroup NLE.
Many of our users connect Mini and Midi systems to their network on returning to the facility where data is transferred onto Space or Echo for finishing, archiving or back-up.
Typically only active and recent projects and media assets reside on tier 1 storage. As Space is installed on standard IP networks, users
can upload or offload data using any workstation. By connecting Echo tier 2 storage, no client is required to transfer media from one storage system to another.
Indeed, with GB Labs’ Core 3 OS development, intelligent hierarchical storage management is built in: periodically, Space will automatically transfer aged projects and files onto Echo for nearline archiving. If editors wish to view an archived project, it is instantly available via Echo. If they wish to begin re-editing, it can be switched back to Space quickly for online editing. FCP7 projects that are completed and ready for deep archive are written to LTO-6 or LTO-7 tape, using Vault LTO, a centralized high-speed system that also resides on the same Ethernet network.
MANAGING MULTIPLE PROJECTS
While Space can hold hundreds of projects and many Terabytes of media, locating old projects and archiving numerous completed jobs can be time-consuming. To increase efficiency, many organizations adopt asset management and project sharing systems, such as Apple’s Final Cut Server, SquareBox’s CatDV, Flavoursys from Strawberry, Cantemo Portal or the Metus MAM Library to track, catalogue, search and process files and projects. Space supports third party DAM tools with their streamlined media workflow. With CatDV, for example, FCP7 projects can be tracked and retrieved accurately whether they are held on tier 1, tier 2 or are archived on LTO tape.
As well as cataloging files and projects, some of these applications offer tools to assign team members and to track the progress of jobs.
TOO MUCH DATA, TOO LITTLE CAPACITY?
As FCP7 supports video resolution up-to 2K and high bitrate files, storage capacities can become an issue. Space and Echo can be expanded in minutes with EX expansion modules that dynamically increase the size of your storage. At the same time this can enhance system performance. Alternatively, additional Space and Echo systems can be attached to the network, via a new Ethernet connection.
With the development of new hierarchical storage management and intelligent tiering, data management over multiple storage arrays is automated by GB Labs technology.
Space’s Core 3 OS incorporates Active Directory synchronization whereby system administrators can assign security levels to users and groups of users. It is now possible to restrict deletion rights, grant super-user status and specify read/write privileges.
To guard against system outage, Space has extensive UPS (universal power supply) support, but if, despite RAID protection, media is damaged, Space has data automated backup tools to clone files from Space to any other GB Labs storage system including Echo or Echo Bridge attached to legacy storage. Any risk is therefore greatly diminished.
GOING BEYOND HD
Space can sustain in excess of 50 XDCAM-50 streams concurrently, making it the ideal HD workgroup platform. When large teams of creatives are accessing 2K media, or editors are working with DPX files, the solid state Space SSD is ideal. It’s probably the fastest on the market, perfect for handling 4:4:4 and uncompressed material. As it shares the intelligence and networking protocols of the Space range, it slots straight onto the network and can share data with other GB Labs systems and workstations without delay.