View Full Version : Shooting a TB a day??? HELP!
04-10-2012, 02:28 PM
I am prepping to work on a 3 week/16 day commercial shoot in a foreign country and really need some help here. The plan I have been told is to have One EPIC and One Scarlet on A-Unit, and One Scarlet on B-Unit, which supposedly will have their own AC/Media Manager. My job is to basically be a DIT/VTR person as well by providing wireless playback, which is a whole other can of worms.
My main issue is when asking the DP how much footage we might be shooting a day, he quoted me as at least a TB a day for A-Unit (doing lot's of off-speed at 32-40 fps, occasionally 16-200 fps, and a fair amount of HDRx) and about half a terabyte for B-Unit. ALSO, there will be an array of 5D's, 7D's, and GoPros as well.
Obviously, after talking to various DIT's, this is a fairly substantial amount of footage to handle. My background is more as an AC/Media Manager, so I feel I am definitely not equipped physically with my gear (Brand New 2.3 17inch MBP w/Thunderbolt) and mentally (First time working with Epic and Scarlet) to handle this job.
I need to get a workable data workflow together in the next 48 hours so I can get a drive order list together to give to production. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
04-10-2012, 03:10 PM
Disclaimer: I'm not a professional DIT.
With that out of the way, here's my $0.02.
Since you've got a MacBook Pro, get a CalDigit Thunderbolt to Expresscard then an Expresscard to ESATA adapter for the MBP. This will speed up your offload tremendously. 30min via FW800 vs. around 5 for ESATA (when using a 64GB card)
Get some sort of RAID system in place. I'd go with RAID level 6 as this will allow you two drive failures before you're f'd. Perhaps something like this Addonics unit [http://www.addonics.com/category/raid_tower_iv.php] and fill it up with Hitachi Enterprise class drives, whatever size you'll need is up to you (maybe 3TB drives?), although you'll lose some of the total capacity due to the RAID 6 parity. This system will connect to your second ESATA port.
I'd use R3D Data Manager to do a verified copy. I think Von (an incredibly experienced DIT and I hope he chimes in on this thread) said that a drag and drop copy "is like having unprotected sex." Visually verify that the copies are good by opening up the files and looking for copy errors.
You'll definitely want to have more than two copies of the files as having a RAID 6, despite the protection, is not enough. It's good practice to have two copies of your data in two different places. This protects against catastrophes. So i'd say whenever is conveinent (perhaps at the end of the shooting day), COPY the files from the RAID to two 3.5" drives. Save the 3.5" drives in a safe place (or send them to the editors, depending on what the production calls for). That way you have one copy on the protected RAID in the cart, and another copy (hopefully two, if the budget allows) sitting on a shelf someplace safe. At some point your RAID will fill up (since 16 days*1.5TB is 24TB of footage!!!) so making sure there is always two copies of the data is important.
Get a UPS so if your power gets pulled you're still saved. I see the APC Smart-UPS as a popular choice.
That's the minimum for ensuring that footage is safely offloaded from the cameras.
Doing first-lights, dailies, or any of the other multi-tasks a DIT does is a topic best covered by someone who makes a living doing this.
04-10-2012, 03:41 PM
I'll chime in as well since i'm on the road, in the bush on the water or just in the middle of nowhere having to shoot and backup footage on mulitcam doc & commercial shoots as dp and dit. If I am keeping it lite, i go with this:
1. Macbook pro
2. Express 34 card with dual e-sata
3. (2) external e-sata HDD readers (so i can just drop in a raw 3.5" hdd--3 or 4TB Hdd)
4. Everything is plugged in via a heavy duty surge protector--NOT s surge panel..but a 10 pound surge & voltage regulator to keep a constant Hertz level on incoming power
5. Depending on how much data i expect to shoot---i usually double and add (2) extra hdd's....
....I actually NEVER use R3d manager--it slows the workflow down to a snails pace and if you shoot that much material (1tb a day), i don't know how you can keep up with backups....drag and drop works and then do a verification on random files & check file sizes before moving on. this is my personal flow....all depends on the pace and if production can actually pay a dedicated DIT to do this...then bring in the big guns. Mac Desktop and all the bells....but doesn't sound like you have that option.
04-10-2012, 04:22 PM
best advise I can give.
get a second laptop.
I'd either go the sonnet echo route and sonnet 3g esata card, (i finally got it working stable and it's pretty nice now) so you can get one hd on esata another on full bandwidth fw 800 and offload redmag via esata.
or get a esata port multiplier. and keep everything on esata. if you're running OS lion, no silicon imaging card works with it right now, (mostly generic esata cards etc.) I'd stick with something with a marvel chipset. sonnets use that, i think the caldigits as well.
but having a station dedicated to each cam will be clutch in you keeping up with the backups. if there is no time for a checksum verification via software. I make sure i visually verify each clip in rcx.
keep hard drives on a ups power supply.
if you feel like all this is too much for you, have them bring someone on board to help you or take the position as a dedicated loader, especially if you are taking on vtr and playback responsibilities as well. if they are shooting a lot, and fast, you're gonna be in for a world of hurt. Good luck.
04-10-2012, 05:02 PM
A MacPro with real I/O (Meaning a big, fast RAID and oodles of eSATA) is the only real option here. Tell them you'll need another guy dedicated for your use as well. The second you have some issue with wireless (and you will) you'll be troubleshooting that and not keeping your head cool and in the data world. Try keeping yourself cabled to A/B cam 24/7, managing backups, checking picture and running the wireless. Ouch. That is not a list of duties to laugh at, I know, I've done it.
<shameless ploy to work abroad>
You need help. I'm available. I have the hardware, know-how, IATSE 600 DIT card and my passport is current. 239-218-4452
</shameless ploy to work abroad>
04-10-2012, 06:17 PM
On the show I'm on we shoot 1.5 to 2.5 tb a day and I can't imagine using a laptop as that doesn't have enough io to do the job quickly enough, and that data rate individual drive speeds can be the part that slows you down.
Also, its entirely possible that you don't shoot that much and it may not be that bad, but you'll want to be prepared either way.
04-10-2012, 06:54 PM
Ive done 3-camera 3D shows (6 reds total), so I know your pain. The way to scale is not with a single computer but with multiple. The more you can do at once, the better. I approached the situation as needing lots of I/O, so laptops are out of the realm of possibility. Ive got multiple MacPros in an ATA-ready cart, and I assigned a person per MacPro. Then I could be on set and deal with the headaches there, and oversee the media management. RAIDs - and I mean 8 to 15 disk arrays, not the 2 disk mini-RAIDs - and MacPros are the only way to get the job done and get some sleep.
04-10-2012, 07:09 PM
Last movie I did, we were dealing with about 3-6TBs a day. We were using a nextLAB system to manage that and it worked fine. As the other guys have mentioned, you have to scale your hardware to meet the demands of the job. Sometimes, there's no way getting around that. Part of being a good DIT/Data manager is knowing when to say a proposed workflow just won't cut it. Better to speak up at the beginning than on set in a chaotic situation.
04-10-2012, 08:55 PM
Lots of advice flying here... So here's some more! :)
Do you really need to be Mac based? A good workstation system would be the best option here if you have the means to bring it along and support it on set -- have a good cart, there will be adequate power, etc.. I ask if you need to be Mac based because there are lots of great non-Mac options out there.
For the 17" Macbook Pro, I would first and foremost recommend a CalDigit ExpressCard34 to 6Gbps eSATA adapter. That will give you two eSATA ports right off and will leave your Thunderbolt port free for other hardware. Now, which other hardware is somewhat up in the air. You can go with Thunderbolt storage like the Promise RAIDs. They're great, but I don't think they're a great option for on-set use where they could (and probably will be) bumped into, moved around a lot, etc.. You could go with something like the LaCie Thunderbolt eSATA that just started shipping or the ATTO Thunderbolt to SAS adapter (connect up to 8 eSATA / SAS devices without multipliers!). Of course, the ATTO ones officially launch at NAB and the LaCie are in short supply at the moment. Both are brand spanking new and may have some initial growing pains...
The others here have it right though when they talk about having more systems to work with. You need the redundancy in case one system fails in a high traffic DIT workflow. You need multiple systems and/or storage solutions so you can make multiple copies of offloads. As a pro DIT on a pro set, you can't be the bottle-neck or stop the flow of data. You need to have a system that will let you handle the flow of data with plenty of overhead to spare... After all, when it rains, it pours. Mutli-camera shoots can be tough at times when you end up with a lull in cards to offload and then suddenly get hammered with a bunch all at the same time. Like when everyone dumps on you as they run for the lunch line or that first hour after coming back from lunch... As a DIT you need to work close with the director and anyone else (depending on how the set functions) and be sure to keep the media flowing. On sets shooting a lot of data, I'll make sure the director, DP, 1AC's, etc.. know that I'll call for media at regular intervals if they don't keep cycling.
If you're in a situation where you will need to purchase more hardware to do the job, you need to ask yourself if the job warrants you spending that money. I hate turning down work, but I would rather turn a job down than take it knowing I'll have to spend all my potential earnings on new hardware to do the job.
1TB/day sounds like a lot, but it's really not. And while you're offloading, you need to make sure you're generating at least duplicate copies of that footage and more if you can. Do they have other expectations of the on-set DIT? Transcodes? Dailies/ Rushes? Look application?
For about 1TB/day, I think I would want a cart with a good tower on it, maybe two. Then keep the laptop as a backup system or if I need to break from the cart, etc..
If you must work from a laptop most of the time, I would still recommend running two of them. For drives, you will want eSATA, Thunderbolt, SAS, etc.. whatever you can attach for the greatest speed and you will want some form of RAID that isn't going to be a bottleneck. You can only offload as fast as your storage media can write data. Most individual hard drives can't muster much more than 90~120 MB/s, especially for sustained writes across the entire drive capacity.
I can recommend products all day, but I don't know what sort of budget you're looking at or what other restrictions you may have for location, power, time. You say 48 hours... That pretty much cuts out any realistic way of getting some of the newer hardware to you. I would say you'll definitely want that CalDigit ExpressCard to eSATA adapter and probably a couple eSATA RAID boxes -- like the G-Tech G-Speed ES or something. I wouldn't jump into a 1TB or more per day job with only a Macbook Pro, though. You're practically setting yourself up for failure. Murphy's law and all that.