Broadcast Beat Magazine September, 2015 - Page 66


by James McKenna

As acquisition formats continue to evolve, facilities are seeing increasingly more 4K+ material coming through the door even though 1080 HD acquisition and delivery is still the standard for most. Modern production crews have many reasons to shoot at least some footage in high-resolution formats like 2160p, 4K, and even 6K. They may want to give post extra latitude for framing and repositioning as the story requires. Likewise, colorists will demand the image directly from the camera sensor, so they can decompress and debayer those images and have the greatest control. Also, there are workflows that require 4K-6K throughout post, so any frame or segment can be extracted for compositing, blown up for cinema projection or printed on a billboard at the touch of a button, without a conform back to the camera masters. Finally, programs delivered in HD will often archive a full resolution version of their program for better shelf life and resale of their content in the future. It’s also understandable that having paid for advanced equipment, it’s unlikely that clients will be happy to go all the way from postproduction to delivery in 1080, without ever seeing the original pristine footage.

A successful project-driven facility has to be ready to turn around a job quickly, in the proper format, with scale-out capabilities and finishing power. To do that, your storage infrastructure needs to support everything that comes through the door, but not to the point where you're using the fastest, most expensive storage on basic 1080 HD workflows that don’t require it. The key requirement is to find a storage system that is flexible enough to support high-bandwidth finishing workflows, while also catering to compressed HD shared storage workflows. Is it even possible to find such a solution in a single enclosure?

The Hybrid Solution

By combining support for both editorial and finishing workflows in one enclosure, a hybrid shared storage solution can deliver the best bang for the buck. With both SSDs and spinning disks, a single crate of these mixed drive technologies can be virtualized at the block level for consistent performance. Such a combination has the speed to power the most intense 4K+ workflows, and since the two storage arrays are shared in the same enclosure, it’s easy to selectively mirror SSD content on the spinning disks to efficiently make use of the space and bandwidth while still protecting data.

The combination of new technology SSDs and spinning hard drives allows a facility to deliver scale-out collaboration when it is required as well as finishing performance when it is needed. With internal data transferring at 1 GB/s, space on the high-bandwidth but lower capacity SSD group can be made available quickly by offloading to higher capacity spinning disks. This type of elegant solution is made possible by advanced system architecture, designed around the workflow of project-based postproduction. Virtual volumes are created on a per-project basis, utilizing either the SSD or HDD groups. Any client can access volumes from both groups, across any connection method. Managing access to the SSDs in this way not only maximizes their performance, but also ensures optimal longevity over the life of the drives.


IBC Issue September 2015