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Recent Blog Posts in May 2010

May 19, 2010
  NAB 2010: Making legacy gear future friendly
Posted By Michael Kammes
See where your co-workers and clients work now - because most likely they're with some other company, doing the exact same thing. Be a geek, and yet be able to party like a rockstar - because everyone else is also a geek and also trying to party like a rockstar, so it's OK. See what the latest and greatest is, and what you need to mortgage your house to buy. While the first 2 will never change a small but very important portion of the "new" gear you're here to see is aimed at making sure you DON'T have to sell your organs on the black market to afford. They make your legacy gear future friendly. Camera technology is probably the worst offender in terms of obsolescence.  Tapeless is becoming the status quo, but the cameras of yesteryear - and often only a year or so ago - lack the functionality most new shooters demand - which is the ability to interface with an editing system easily. Your camera may be tapeless, but it may shoot in a format that is difficult for your editing system to understand without jumping through hoops. Quite possibly, you may just love the glass on that old Betacam and refuse to give it up for a new run and gun solution.

Whatever your reason, there is hope.

Convergent Designs' nanoFlash device is a camera accessory that takes your cameras SD and HD SDI or HDMI output and encodes it, on the fly, into Sony's XDCAM HD codec. You have the ability to select bitrates for quality, as well as what file format the video is saved in - QuickTime, MXF and MPG - to ensure it will play in your NLE. Instant tapeless for your beloved boat anchor, I mean, livelihood.

AJA's Ki Pro
- Like the nanoFlash, takes the SD and HD SDI output of your camera and encodes into a digital video file. The Ki Pro records into Apple's Pro Res codec, from Pro Res Proxy up to Pro Res 422 HQ - on the fly. This unit has a more robust feature set, including removable storage that can be transported and used with your NLE, plus a web interface for management and control options. Announced at NAB is the new ability to communicate with other Ki Pros for gang recording as well as RS422 support. It even has a camera mount so it can mount between your tripod and camera.
 
A new device, which I am very geeked about, is the Cinedeck. Not only is it a location encoder, like Ki Pro and the nanoFlash, but it comes with a crapload of I/O. Yes, Crapload is the technical term. It sort of resembles a Garmin GPS for your car in appearance. Cinedeck's I/O includes component and composite video, SD and HD SDI and Dual Link via 3G and HDMI, as well as digital and analog audio, and with storage encodes into an edit ready 10-bit 4:2:2 or 12 bit 4:4:4 CineForm DI codec in .MOV or .AVI format. But wait, there's more! MXF, uncompressed and DPX file formats are also included - all the way up to 2K frame sizes.

There's also a LAN port as well as USB ports for loading LUTs and an ESATA with port multiplier and RAID support. Its touch screen allows for menu navigation and video playback.  All in the same size and weight as your 7-inch on-camera focus monitor. I'm not a shooter, but I think I want a camera, just to play with this. So save your money. Go tapeless and keep your beloved shoulder steel.
Continue reading "NAB 2010: Making legacy gear future friendly" »

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May 19, 2010
  Digital Tape Winding up for Archive Growth
Posted By Tom Coughlin

2010 seems to be the year for tape—digital tape that is.  The LTO consortium announced the long awaited introduction of its LTO-5 format.  The LTO-5 digital magnetic tape and drive offer 1.5 TB of uncompressed storage capacity with data rates of 140 MB/s.  LTO-5 drives will be able to read LTO-3 tapes and can write and read LTO-4 tapes allowing migration of data from the older tape formats to the new one.  LTO-5, like the prior LTO-4 products support encryption of the tapes and offers a built in support for file-system access of content on the tapes.  Quantum, HP and IBM (along with partner Tandberg) are ready to produce LTO-5 drives while Fujifilm, Imation, Maxell, Sony and TDK are ready to make media.

According to the 2010 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report (Coughlin Associates, www.tomcoughlin.com/techpapers.htm) total digital storage capacity used in the media and entertainment industry will increase over 10 times between 2009 and 2015 (to about 48 exabytes) with about 96% of this storage capacity being used for archiving.  Although optical discs are also used for archiving in the media and entertainment industry and there is a strong trend towards active archiving using hard disk based arrays, magnetic tape is and will be the dominate media for entertainment archiving for some time to come. 

The archive popularity of digital tape is due to the cost effectiveness of digital tape storage, including reduced operating costs since tapes sit in library shelves when they are not being accessed and therefore a tape storage library uses much less power than a disk drive array.  In addition digital tapes now have storage capacities of 1.5 TB per cartridge while Blu-ray optical discs with two layers only have a storage capacity of 50 GB.  Thus managing a sizable optical disc archive takes a lot more discs that if the content were stored on magnetic tapes.

The LTO trade group had its own booth at the 2010 NAB show where they showed the uses and had samples of LTO-5 tape cartridges and drivers presented a roadmap going out several years to LTO-8 that is slated to have uncompressed storage capacities of 12.8 TB per cartridge and data rates of 472 MB/s.  There were LTO tape products at many booths at the 2010 NAB.

Quantum announced the introduction of their Scalar i6000 tape library earlier in April.  The Scalar i6000 tape library provides up to 16 PB of storage capacity with LTO-5 tapes.  Quantum tape libraries combined with the company’s well known StorNext file sharing and data protection product are extensively used for media and entertainment content protection. 
 
Spectra Logic displayed their huge T-Finity tape library systems that can store 45 petabytes in a single library and 180 petabytes in a library complex using LTO-5 tapes.  Tape systems were also on display at IBM where the company demonstrated a Linux compatible tape system, a partially complete Mac OS system and discussed Windows tape support.  IBM plans full support for LTO-5 products in the media and entertainment industry.
An interesting feature in LTO-5 tape format is that it has built in support for file-based access of content on the tapes.  Thus LTO-5 drives can provide a NAS-like access which was only seen in prior NABs at the Quantum booth.  Quantum spun off this activity to a company Cache-A in the last year.  Cache-A was at the 2010 NAB show displaying their Pro-Cache Archive Appliance targeted for the digital film, broadcast and digital video markets.  The Pro-Cache network-attached archive appliance enables creative professionals to create source masters in acquisition workflows when using flash memory card or disk-based cameras.  It also provides long-term archival storage with easy access at every stage of production.

 The rack-mountable Pro-Cache offers an internal 2TB of RAID configurable as either striped for maximum speed (RAID 0) or for 100% protection with mirrored reliability (RAID 1).  With its additional ExpressCard and eSATA connections, Pro-Cache provides fast archiving of direct connected storage.  It also features SAS connections for high-speed mounts and expansion as well as a sturdy three rack unit (3RU)/half rack chassis for industrial compatibility.  

Quantum, IBM and HP LTO tape drives were on display at the NAB show (as members of the LTO consortium) in their own as well as in partner and integrator booths.

For-A, a private Japanese company long known for providing electronic products for the media and entertainment industry showed a very interesting LTO-5 product at the 2010 NAB show.  Their LTR-100HS Video Archive Recorder includes an LTO-5 drive, 2 TB hard drive, HD/SD-SDI I/O, and LCD monitor. Other features include front panel playback controls with a convenient jog/shuttle wheel, RS-422 for external VTR control, gigabit Ethernet interface for file-based I/O, and USB 2.0 interface for barcode reader, PC keyboard, or USB storage. 

The LTR-100HS makes file ingest workflow more efficient and reduces archive space requirements. Equipped with a high quality MPEG-2 codec, the LTR-100HS includes an MXF wrapper/un-wrapper, so MXF files (XDCAM HD/HD422/IMX) recorded to LTO-5 tape can be used directly by many NLE systems. LTO-5 tape cartridges can store approximately 50 hours of programming recorded at 50 Mbps.  This product as well as other lower cost archive products using LTO-5 tapes may do a lot to help convert the millions of hours of analog video tape libraries throughout the world to digital form.  This will help preserve this content and make it accessible for repurposing and generating revenue.   
Many other companies (including VARs and systems integrators) were showing LTO-5 tape products at the 2010 NAB Show.  All the major media manufacturers of tape media had LTO-5 cartridges on display at the NAB show (Fujifilm, Imation, Maxell, Sony and TDK).   Xendata, known primarily for their archiving software showed a prototype of a single LTO-5 tape drive in their booth.  It is clear that the next generation of linear digital tape systems will help drive the enormous predicted growth in digital content archives as well as help preserve and repurpose older analog content assets.

Continue reading "Digital Tape Winding up for Archive Growth" »

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May 19, 2010
  Future NAB Trip Recommendations
Posted By Heath Firestone
A guide for planning you next NAB trip. Hey guys,

Just got back from a four day NAB trip, and I thought I'd give you a quick rundown on my take, and a couple of pointers for those of you who haven't been to NAB, but plan on going next year.

This was my fourth NAB, and definitelly worth the trip. There's a lot of energy at the show, and lots of cool stuff coming on the horizon. You will find companies you would never have heard about before, and you get to talk one on one with the companies and find out answers to questions you can't find online. It's exciting, and exhausing. You also have to have some patience. A couple of booths I didn't get a chance to talk to who I wanted until my tenth visit to the booth, but your chances improve dramatically from 5PM-6PM, since people get tired and leave, and the show closes at 6PM. As far as how many days to plan, depends on how much you want to see. I usually go for two or three. This time I was in for all four. Thurday only runs unltil 2PM, so it's a short day. I do everything from Production through Post, and I really only hit the Central Hall and the South Lower Hall, so I never even saw the South Upper Hall or North Hall. Most people, however, will be happy with a couple of days, but I could have used five.

My suggestions on transportation accomodations:

Renting Cars: (rant)
First, I would have a tough time recommending renting a car unless absolutely necessary, while in Vegas, for the following reasons. I was renting a car because I planned on staying with a friend in Henderson, which is all the way across town, so I would need a car. Those plans fell through, so I ended up having to get a hotel room, so I got one near the Convention Center. I tried to cancel my reservation for the car since I had no need for one any more. Alamo said that if I rented directly through them, it would not have been a problem, but, since I ordered it through Hotwire, it was up to them. Hotwire told me all sales were final, and I was out of luck. So, then there is the misleading aspects of how much you will pay for a car. $22 a day, is what it says, but after taxes, and other fees, you're at $44 a day. My regular insurance covers the car, but not loss of use, which they can charge you if there is an accident, so the cheapest insurance that covers both is another $20/day. Basically I ended up spending $265 for a car I drove four times, for a total of less than 10 miles. For that price I could have paid for a nice hotel and transportation, and had money left over. I can safely say that I am unlikely to ever rent a car through Hotwire again, or while in Vegas unless I have a very good reason. Also, if you have a car, expect to pay $10 a day for parking. (end rant) As far as hotels go, check to see which ones have NAB specials. A lot of the hotels that aren't really close to the Convension Center have busses or shuttles to get you back and forth. Otherwise you have cabs and limo's. Expect to pay $10 for a cab, and $25 for a limo, so try to share with a couple of friends. The advantage, is that you won't have to pay $10 a day for parking, and if you decide to drink while at a party, you don't have to worry about driving. Several hotels are in walking distace, so those are always a great bet.

Be prepared to be sore from all of the walking at the Convention Center. It is huge, and you will walk back and fourth and through and around it many times in a day, and even if you're in good shape, you will likely have sore feet and legs. Not a whole lot you can do about it, but be aware, you will do a ton of walking.

On buying plane tickets: Buy your tickets about two weeks out. Too much before that, they tend to be higher, at at one week out they are definitelly higher. When I checked prices two weeks out, they were $120 for round trip from Denver to Las Vegas, at one week out they were $260.

On eating: Food is expensive at the show. I brought lots of power bars, which kept me going. You may still have to stop for a bite, but I found the power bars to be a good thing to have for those times when I didn't feel like paying $5.50 for a greasy, unappetizing piece of pizza.

On gambling: Personally, I'd avoid it. For me, NAB is a business trip. Casino's are designed to draw you in, disorient your time perception, and get you to spend all of your time and money there. There's enough noise and excitement at NAB, that, by the end of the day, I'm a bit on sensory overload, so the last thing I want, is to be surrounded by thousands of bright flashing lights, and all of the noises from the machines. I'd rather go to a couple of Parties like the Adobe Release Party, or a Beta dinner, (or the Red party) or something where I can connect with people who I interact with all the time, and can finally put a face to their name.

I have seen guys go to the show, and get the Vegas experience, where they went one day to the show, then went to a night club, got smashed, had call girls try to pick them up, blown all of their money gambling, and then in their drunken state, fallen on stairs, and twisted their ankle, so they were out for the rest of the show. Personally, I think that's a waste.

Mostly, just go and enjoy the show. You will learn a ton, and get to see the products in action. There are constant demos, and you should be able to get an exhibits only pass for free. It doesn't have to be an expensive trip. If you share a room, and taxi with a couple of friends, and plan your trip, you can do the trip even on a tight budget. Hope this helps and makes your next trip to NAB an enjoyable one that won't break your bank.

Heath
Continue reading "Future NAB Trip Recommendations" »

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May 14, 2010
  Feeds and Speeds, Baby
Posted By Tom Coughlin

Deep within the bowels of the NAB storage grotto (South lower hall at the 2010 NAB show) as well as in the North hall and in spots of the Center hall there were rumblings of radical changes in the pace of media and entertainment creation and distribution.  What is driving faster media production capability is quicker networks, faster and more processors and quicker storage devices and systems.  The 2010 NAB conference had a variety of products, including storage products on display to support faster workflows and content delivery.

NVIDIA’s graphical processing units (GPUs) are finding their way into a variety of media production applications since there are built for image and video processing.  The powerful multiprocessor core design of GPUs makes these devices popular for rendering and special effects (Avatar probably used GPUs for 3D image rendering).  At the 2010 NAB there were 40 NVIDIA partners showing products and applications using NVIDIA GPUs including Adobe Creative Suite 5, especially for 3D production workflows and real time HD effects.  Faster generation of content means more storage and faster storage devices and connections.

Once high definition 3D content is made it must be stored.  There were many products at the 2010 NAB to facilitate the fast access of content.  For many post production steps real time content access is necessary and only the fastest network storage can be used.  According to the 2010 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report (Coughlin Associates, www.tomcoughlin.com/techpapers.htm) there is an increasing use of network storage vs. direct attached storage to support real time editing and other post production steps using uncompressed of slightly compressed content. 

Many of the storage networks in post production houses use fibre channel networking.  Atto was showing 8 Gbps fibre channel switches to support the media and entertainment market.  Atto 3 and 6 Gbps serial attached SCSI (SAS) and SATA are also being used in Seachange VOD and broadcast applications for fast content delivery.   As the speed of IP-based networks increases Ethernet-based storage networks are appearing in more areas of the post production environment, particularly in non-movie applications where the resolution demands may not be as great and the lower cost network enables content sharing and collaboration not possible without a storage network.  Many companies at the 2010 NAB were showing iSCSI, Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FoE) and other IP-storage network products.

Special hardware enhanced storage products from BlueArc and Data Direct Networks serve production, post-production and even content delivery applications that require real time content delivery.  These companies as well as Isilon provide individual methods of providing scalable storage and performance that are well matched to different facets of the production and content distribution workflow. 

On the distribution side, Omneon storage grids showed storage capacity to support many broadcast and content distribution applications while companies such as Seachange offered VOD and other storage distribution products.  Traditional storage companies such as NetApp and EMC were present at partner booths (IBM and Aspera respectively) providing content library storage that could go behind a content delivery application.  Systems integrators such as Media Distributors and Rorke Data were showing products supporting many elements of contemporary content creation and distribution.

While HDDs are and will remain for many years to come the storage devices of choice for active storage libraries (and tape and some optical discs provide much of the archive storage), solid state drives and other flash-based storage devices are assuming some interesting uses, particularly for content delivery applications.  Seachange offers edge servers using flash memory SSDs.   NextIO was showing the PCIe-based Fusion-IO demonstrated about 1 GBps content delivery streaming 1,000 video clips.   Many other companies such as EditShare mentioned SSDs as part of their line-up for real time content viewing.

With the advent of even higher resolution stereoscopic content (Red cameras with 28k X 9k resolution and super-HD resolution demonstrations by NHK for the last few NAB shows) the demand for storage capacity and speed will only increase.  We should expect continued evolution of faster storage solutions and networks to support workflows to create and distribute this content.  As the success of Avatar and other 3D films has shown, richer content can yield a better return investment for the media and entertainment industry.

Continue reading "Feeds and Speeds, Baby" »

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May 14, 2010
  NAB Top 6 Countdown
Posted By Ed Heede

Decompressed from NAB I was nudged to take a stab at a top 5 list for the show.  I thought I'd add one entry better and do it as a blog. I confess, my selection bias goes to world-class quality at prices indie filmmakers actually have access to. (There may be a few exceptions below but quality at any price will have to await other lists).

Canon

Canon had few major announcements at NAB and is still the company to watch as it let the genie out of the bottle in transforming capture technology well into post production with its Canon 5D camera well over a year ago. For the few that missed it: Canon accidentally backed into a brilliant cinema niche. A place that has virtually all competitors now scrambling to offer a response to the full frame sensor technology that gave real high-end internal 14-bit capability to a cinema camera that costs in the neighborhood of $5K complete with world-class lenses. Of course the Canon 5D effort is not quite a full digital filmmaking camera in the IO sense and with no visible cinema plan for its own market, this is now Canon's ball to drop or to run with. That said, few products these days can be called groundbreaking — with its 5D, Canon began an unintended revolution that nobody can predict. Canon's next effort may tell the tale. So far so good.

CineForm

CineForm enables traditional tools to operate and edit realtime film and HD for stereographers from 3D to 2D. This is done through CineForm's Active Metadata for an out-of-the-box solution that stands to become a authentic game changer. CineForm has allowed for realtime 4K, 2K and HD film color correction with its First Light product across most QuickTime and AVI mode tools such as Apple Final Cut, Adobe After Effects, etc. CineForm Neo3D includes virtually the entire suite of CineForm packages plus those for editing and tweaking 3D disparity corrections up to IMAX format. Neo3D handles a host of keyframe ready 3D issues including inter-axial (camera seperation), keystoning (toe-in problems with convergence and horizon layers), skew (one camera not planar aligned to the other), disparity zoom, vertical misalignment (mismatched lenses), color correction and more all in realtime. Unlike most traditional packages CineForm does not dictate a workflow but offers its Active Metadata codec based solution on-the-fly to any QuickTime-based editor or effects package. CineForm is the first company to develop multi-stream video fed into one file format (video multiplex) that is SDK customizable. CineForm's David Taylor asserts, "We seek to make the CineForm files and its powerful metadata the de facto standard for communicating picture data along with non-destructive technical and creative image corrections between all points in the post-production workflow." And nothing from CineForm under Active Metadata needs to be rendered until needed. So, is CineForm really at the cusp of a revolution for post and delivery? I would not bet against it.

Adobe

With new Photoshop and After Effects tools Adobe has pulled another gorilla-sized rabbit out of its master hat. AE's new auto Roto Brush mask and rotoscope tools will be a must for most serious production environments. Digital matte painters will find background re-creating abilities in Photoshop via Content Aware Fill a real labor saver. Pulling delicate mattes with the new Refine Edge Bru makes for another phenom utility. After Effects and the Adobe Premiere cutting package have gone multi-layer at realtime workflows thanks to the 64-bit native operation Mercury Playback Engine married to GPU Nvidia support (at up to 192 gigabytes of RAM fully addressable). Support for standard pro color LUT formats and a Mocha tracker with export of editable masks are among the list of major upgrades. As with all suite offerings, there are still a few gaps and issues in the Adobe Production suite lineup. All the same, Adobe has managed to make a veteran tool a practically indispensable one. While Adobe has no native 3D workflow, it is supported by CineForm tools that support QuickTime or AVI based solutions (see above).

Blackmagic Designs

Along with its Da Vinci acquisition, BlackMagic is one of a very few companies at NAB to reinvent itself along with its designer post process pipeline in general. A few of BlackMagic's high-end tools are still beyond the reach of budget conscious indies though BlackMagic has shaved about one zero off of Da Vinci's old color correction offerings (from an average of roughly $500K to about $30K for Mac and $50K for the Linux solution that sports full-on 3D post editing workflows). More to the point, BlackMagic boasts a range of indie friendly solutions including a software only Da Vinci version along with an UltraStudio Pro USB 3.0 rig and an indie priced open architecture Decklink HD Extreme 3D for 3D cinema workflows. Hence, a range of BlackMagic tools do serve and service independent film in a hands-on sense with an upgrade path to the high-end. Very innovative.

Screen Plane

Yes, I know, a company nobody has heard of in the top 5? The reason I placed this one is for the importance of 3D on the production scene. This German-based group has found a powerful way to make 3D capture with its inherently complex issues (setting and adjusting 3D interocular for example) far more painless and interactive for cinematographers along with client directors and producers. This is done via "a patent pending DPC, Direct Plane Control that offers the stereographer a simple tool to control all important stereo parameters right on a wireless controller, which is directly executed by the rig motors and fully visible while shooting." (Words straight from Sebastian Cramer, founder of Screen Plane to yours truly). The German-based group presented an intuitive and simple tool to create matching and correct 3D footage, even if the image is zoomed or parameters are changed live during a shot. In other words: Screen Plane means on-set interactive 3D feedback and control. And (of course) with all adjustments available recorded as metadata into post production. Lest there be any doubt - taming 3D cinema into a straightforward workflow is a very big deal. This is a company to watch. DSLR rig development for the Screen Plane system is also not far ahead.

Zaxcom

For audio, Zaxcom makes a handy little wireless recording solution that can service (for example) a number of actors packing body microphones on a location shoot with a minimum of fuss at exceptional quality. Put another way: no one else has a remote control recording wireless solution at any price. Zaxcom succeeds in offering wireless timecode and audio multiplexed together at indie budgets. That means practical high-end indie audio in the field. Here are the pieces: TRX900LT (recording wireless transmitter) Diva or Fusion audio recorder (10-track audio recorder) remote ERX1 (sees scratch track and timecode for cameras and plugs into audio jack of camera) IFB100 (transmits audio and timecode to camera).

Continue reading "NAB Top 6 Countdown" »

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May 14, 2010
  The Ascent of Storage: Evolving Workflow Digital Storage
Posted By Tom Coughlin

Working with higher resolution and stereoscopic content places increasing demands on digital storage systems supporting today’s media and entertainment workflows.  This article will explore products, applications and projections for storage system trends gleaned from interviews, booth visits and presentations at the 2010 NAB show.  We will start out reviewing digital storage information for content capture, discuss content ingest and then look at editing and other post-production activities and end with speculation of the future of workflow digital storage.

Getting the right stuff

Content capture in video cameras use a wide variety of storage media.  At the NAB show Maxell was showing the newly announced iVDR HDD-based storage cartridges for content capture and field editing.  These iVDR storage cartridges were shown offering up to 500 GB per cartridge.  Maxell as well as other companies such as Fujifilm and Panasonic were showing rugged solid state storage modules for digital cameras such as the Panasonic P2 and Sony SxS camera.  These flash modules are not cheap with 64 GB P2 modules running as high as $1,800 each.  For this reason camera operators tend to reuse these cartridges, putting the contents into hard disk drives.  Lifetimes of 2-3 years of active use are reported with P2 cartridges.

Focus enhancements was showing its latest generation of direct to edit recorders including solid state as well as hard drive versions.  These devices are made to fit comfortably attached to video cameras to capture content and easily edit it in the field.

Cutting it down to size

The technical requirements for post production work drives data rates, stream quality and storage capacities as higher resolution stereoscopic work becomes more widespread.  Companies such as LSI and Atto were showing storage adapters supporting the latest generation of 6 Gbps SATA and SAS to support storage systems with hard disk drives and also solid state drives.

EditShare was showing a particularly comprehensive workflow storage and content management solution at the 2010 NAB show.  They announced that they were incorporating elements of recent acquisitions into their latest product line updates.  These initiatives included making the Lightworks NLE software into an open source program, an integrated Geevs 5.0 release for acquisition and playout for broadcasters and a production asset management solution called Flow 2.0.  All of these products work with EditShare storage and archiving solutions.  Editshare is offering some solid state drive options with these storage systems offering the fast playout capability of NAND flash to their hard disk drive based systems.

Facilis is another company targeting digital storage for post production environments.  Version 2.0 of its Shared File System utilizing its Terrablock SAN storage systems.  These systems take advantage of file-based camera acquisition by allowing real-time playback of any resolution streaming or sequential file format. From 35Mbit Sony EXCam to 4K RED ONE, allowing high performance access and facility wide content sharing and collaboration.  TerraBlock SANs provide a choice of high performance or fully collaborative sharing through software attribute.

DataDirect Networks XStreamScaler storage solutions include automated tiered asset management allowing high value production content to be stored on fast SAS drives while archive data is kept on SATA HDDs.  The company also showed it’s Web Object Scalar (WOS) cloud storage system for global content distribution.

Lots of boxes—lots of bytes!

Many companies at the 2010 NAB show were showing storage single and multiple drive boxes as well as rack mounted enclosures.  All of these boxes include hard disk drives but many of the companies are also claiming solid state storage options.  Many of these companies are focusing on storage to meet the demands of the modern media workflow.  Some of the companies producing storage enclosures include LSI and AIC producing storage enclosures, often under other companies brand names.  Other companies producing enclosures (and complete storage systems as well) include Aberdeen, BrightDrive, CalDigit, Chenbro, DataDirect Networks, dotHill, Dulce Systems, EMC, Facilis, GraniteStor, IBM, iStoragePro, JMR, KaleidoNet, LaCie, MassTech, NetApp, Promise, Rorke Data, San Systems, Sonnet, Stardom and Tiger Technology.

Another approach, offered by Falconstor, is a scaled out HyperFS file system which can use any storage hardware to offer a single name space and centralized repository.  The system supports up to 144 PB supporting up to 16 concurrent streams and a separate metadata server.

Companies showing single and multiple drive external storage products included G-Tech (part of Hitachi Global Storage Technology), LaCie and Western Digital.

Following the evolutionary chain

What sort of storage devices and systems will be required for future generations of content.  8K movie production is becoming more commonplace and resolutions of 16K and even higher are contemplated.  NHK from Japan has been making steady progress on their Super Hi-Vision TV that would display 33 megapixel video with 22:1 multichannel sound.  The storage and bandwidth requirements for handling such content will be staggering. 

Clustered and grid based switched storage systems with very fast interfaces now used in high performance computing will probably find their way into future video production.  Managing and tiering this content will be very challenging.   Perhaps new tools such as automated metadata generation will help video producers create new ways to index and use the enormous content libraries that will result.

Future video production will require larger capacity storage devices and system and networking and interface technologies to support them.  There will be plenty of room for additional innovation and more interesting storage innovations to discover at future NAB shows.

Continue reading "The Ascent of Storage: Evolving Workflow Digital Storage" »

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