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October 2011

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special report Post production ate my storage By THOMAS COUGHLIN President Coughlin Associates Atascadero, CA ideo editing and other post produc- tion activities require high-perfor- mance storage devices and systems that can stream content without interruption and provide very low latencies to support creative work. In addition, frame rates for movie content are increasing from the histori- cal 24 frames per second (fps) to 48fps (being used in the production of The Hobbit by Peter Jackson) and may eventually be as high as 300fps. 4K production is commonplace but 6K and even 8K movie production is starting to appear in pro video projects. Video resolu- tions of 16K and even higher are contem- plated in the future. NHK from Japan has been making steady progress on their Super Hi-Vision TV that could display 33 megapixel video with 22:1 multichannel sound. As video resolution and frame rates increase and stereoscopic proj- ects multiply, the storage capacity and band- width performance of these devices and sys- tems becomes staggering. A calculation shows that 7680x4320 pixel resolution, V 24-bit/pixel, video content would require 90GB/s data rates and 322 TB/hour of content. If this was full stereoscopic capture then these require- ments would double. Truly the bandwidth and capacity requirements to work with future rich media formats are staggering! SMPTE STORAGE SURVEY: DON'T STOP THE CAMERAS In late 2010, Coughlin Associates did a professional media and entertainment stor- FIGURE 1. CONTENT SHOT FOR AN HOUR OF COMPLETED WORK 20% 8% 27% 4-6 hours Other 1-3 hours 10-12 Hours 14% 4% 27% 1 hour 7-9 Hours Figure 1: Note that 55 percent of the respondents said that they capture four hours or more of original content for one hour of completed work. 40 Post • October 2011 age survey that was a follow-up survey to one performed in 2009. This survey provided information guiding the 2011 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report, Cough- lin Associates, 2011. networks due to their higher performance and lower overhead. However, with higher performance of IP-based networks, more SANS in post environments are starting to use these less expensive options. An exten- FIGURE 2. SCHEMATIC OF A NONLINEAR EDITING STATION LOCAL DISC NAS OR SAN VIDEO EDITING SESSION GE CARD OR HBA GE OR FC SHARED STORAGE three-color, 300fps In addition to higher resolution content, the lower costs for digital content capture encourage media crews to capture more content. Essentially, since there is little cost in keeping the camera on, they just keep them running. As a result, the number of hours of captured content for an hour of final content has swelled. A BIT OF DAS, A BIT OF NAS Nonlinear editing is generally done from uncompressed, or at most slightly compressed, source content since heavy compression can lead to loss of resolution and can cause timing problems. However, the actual editing may use lower resolution proxies with the editing changes incorporated into the uncompressed content after editing is done. Figure 2 is a schematic of a nonlinear editing station show- ing local direct attached disk storage as well as an optional connection to shared online stor- age via a Fibre Channel- or Ethernet-based (e.g. iSCSI) SAN and a host bus adapter (HBA) or Ethernet card. For a large enough facility with several editing chairs, shared storage allows the local storage (known as Direct Attached Storage) to be kept at roughly 30 minutes per station. Storage networks are used in all the NLE market segments but are more likely for the higher-end market segments. Video SANs today may still use Fibre Channel storage GE CARD OR HBA RAM NLE WORKSTATION sion of IP networks is to use some resources through the Internet (private clouds) for some post processes or to enable collabora- tive workflows. According to our survey participants, there is a general increase in the use of shared stor- age (SAN/NAS) and a decrease in DAS stor- age as the number of seats (people working in a facility) increases. 94 percent of the par- ticipants in larger facilities (greater than 500 seats) used shared storage. (See Figure 3, on page 47.) Asked about use of direct attached and network storage in digital editing and post, the survey had the following statistics: • 83.8 percent had DAS (down from 91 percent in '09) • Over 69 percent of these had more than 1TB of DAS (up from 52 percent in '09) • 81.2 percent had NAS or SAN (about same as in '09) • Over 58 percent had more than 16TB of NAS or SAN (up from 44 percent in '09) REMAINS OF THE DAY Once post content is created it must be kept for an indefinite period. The ever-lower- ing costs of digital storage make this easier and easier to do. As shown in Figure 4 (on page 47) about half of the total cost of continued on page 47

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