Outlook 2019: The value  of LTO in post workflows
Issue: December 1, 2018

Outlook 2019: The value of LTO in post workflows

In the world of digital content creation, high-resolution shoots produce massive amounts of data — the likes of which are unprecedented. Large-scale 4K productions have already become the gold standard for capture, and 8K and exponentially larger file sizes are promised to proliferate throughout 2019. As just one example, the Red DSMC Monster 8K camera pumps out just under 1TB of ones and zeros per hour. 

Stepping up to multi-camera shoots, and a production can generate multiple terabytes of raw footage per single shooting day! Adding to concerns over the exponential volume of large-resolution files that are being created, a post production workflow must also be implemented to safeguard all of this ‘original camera footage’ (OCF) in the most reliable — as well as affordable — manner possible.

The ideal post workflow: camera card (OCF) > hard drives/RAID > Linear Tape Open (LTO). From the mSpeed Pro hybrid RAID and LTO solution featuring Thunderbolt 3 connectivity to the portable mTape designed to offload media to LTO on-set or at the post facility, mLogic has tailored solutions for all forms of storage and archiving needs.

This workflow should be familiar to any successful DIT, but I have found that the offload to LTO tape is frequently overlooked during many productions. It’s a disturbing oversight given the fact that LTO is the most cost-effective and safest storage medium on the planet. Don’t just take my word on this! Here is Netflix Studio’s 3-2-1 Rule from their document Production Assets: Data Management: “Hold at least three copies of all OCF and audio at all times. Store the copies on at least two different types of media (RAID & LTO). Maintain at least one backup offsite.”

Offering Thunderbolt-enabled solutions featuring the Linear Tape File System (LTFS), mLogic’s LTO drives can function similarly to disk-based systems, enabling ease of use and instant access to OCF files through simple drag and drop functionality. For cross platform compatibility, numerous Mac OS and Windows LTFS apps that make offload and retrieve to and from LTO tape a simple process.

Tape has an unjustified reputation that it is unreliable and hard to use. Nothing could be further from the truth. For data security and long-term archive, there is no other media more suited to protecting the OCF and completed projects than LTO. My suggestion is that if you are not already using LTO in your workflow, that you invest in LTO in 2019. 

LTO lasts at least four times as long and has a cost per TB that disk-based systems cannot touch. Offload your hard drives and RAIDs, and put them right back into action for coloring, editing, VFX, etc. While hard drive vendors and cloud providers have been pushing the notion that tape is dead, the reality is that tape is an integral part of the post production workflow and will be so for the foreseeable future.”

Roger Mabon is the co-founder and mCEO of mLogic (www.mlogic.com), based in Culver City, CA. As the founder of G-Technology, he has sold thousands of hard drive systems. His mission now is to protect all of that media on all of those drives with innovative and easy to use Thunderbolt-enabled LTO solutions tailored to the needs of the M&E industry.