I know it is a little too soon for a spring clean but I am working on organising our kit and post setup into a more efficient operation. I am leaning towards keeping the Manchester operation Mac based and the Liverpool operation PC based with software along the Avid/premiere/resolve route.
I have had my quad core G5 now for many years and it is getting a little bit long in the tooth. We still use it for final cut editing but only with version 6 and we have an Avid Xpress Pro on it too. It has been a good workhorse but the limitations are now that we cannot use any Intel based software and once we have upgraded a project to Final Cut 7 in Edit 1 we can’t open it in Edit 2. So what could we use it for?
I have decided that as I am too tight to throw it away and hate waste so it still needs to earn it’s keep! We have been using a simple setup where the 8 core Mac pro has a SCSI RAID attached and we connect the G5 and laptops etc to the Mac pro via a Small tree 4 port gigabit card. It isn’t a full blown SAN but it does work, we have had 3 or 4 suites all capturing/ingesting at the same time and the SCSI RAID can keep up. We rarely access the same material from different stations.
My new plan is to use the G5 just for ingest, backup and to act as a server. We have loads of hard drives coming through the system with e-sata but we have no way of using the drives in that mode so to increase speed we need e-sata on the Macs. This way you can also keep smaller jobs on drives that you can edit on and pass from one part of the process to another. For example we did some work on a pilot show for Lime Pictures where we transcoded and organised the material in the Avid and then sent the drives to London for the edit. Using the e-sata drives meant that the DNxHD 185X material was able to be edited from the e-sata direct and also passed on for grading. An efficient workflow if backups are done en route!
Once we have e-Sata connections we could use a Sonnet Qio which means that we would have fast ingest of all the main cards, P2, SxS, SD, CF. This can also be used on location in conjunction with e-sata drives for fast data wrangling.
Another benefit of using the e-sata is that you can use external RAID boxes to increase storage. If you have not been using RAID setups then you have missed a great way to safeguard your assets, speed up your editing and give good upgrade functionality. Once you have your enclosure you can usually upgrade the discs for bigger capacities as the disks get larger and cheaper. We started with 6 x 500 gig drives and now have 6 x 1 TB drives but could go for 2TB or 3TB next if required.
1. Take the small tree card from edit 1 and put it in the G5
2. Fit the Mac pro with cabled rear port for e-sata as it has two connections on the mother board (from Sonnet)
3. Strip the G5 of the extra firewire 400 ports to make room (firewire 400 is so last decade)
4. Fit the G5 with a 4 port e-sata from Sonnet and Small Tree Ethernet.
Check it all works with an option if I feel it needs it to use MetaLan server and client from Tiger Technology.
Effectively metaLAN Server is ideally suited for environments looking at leveraging low cost Gigabit Ethernet, but requiring advanced connectivity features.
I think that going forward there will be more 2.5 inch SSD and hard drives coming in with rushes so a cheap e-sata JBOD encloser would be a great rushes docking station whether the rushes are to be copied or edited straight from the source!
I also need to decide on the new machine for Edit 2, maybe an iMac or a second hand Intel MacPro with a Quadro 4000 card to accelerate Adobe Production Premium. Will they ever bring out a MacPro with Thunderbolt?