Indie Film Live

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Technical_05: Post-production near end.

"SPOON the Movie" Server is operational.

It comes down to 6.8TB of total available storage which will hold all source footage and lower resolution off-line CineForm versions of the same source. On the server that we are using 16 x 500GB HDD's in RAID5 configuration on Promise EX16350 16 SATAII unit (only available card on our side of the world). To keep 16 drives together we used custom build (from one8six) aluminum cage (can hold up to 32 drives) with 8 CM 4into3 HDD converters (box that converts 3 x 5.25" space into 4 x 3.5" with 12mm fan front of it).

Choice of the Operating System happens to be Linux Ubuntu 6.10 64bit.

File system is meant to be XFS, but its performance was substandard for a number of reasons. The main reason being that XFS’s read speed is slower than its write speed. In our pipeline read speed is more important than write speed, which is why we have decided to use JFS - IBM Journaling File System. Our tests show that JFS, compared to any other file system, gives outstanding performance and is stable all round. Its reading speed varies from 540MB/s (under 1GB) to 200MB/s (for larger files +/- 10GB). Its write speed is slightly less.

Network - Four “Link Aggregation” enabled CAT5e cables (from four port server adapter) run from the Linux box into a 1000BT switch from where two link aggregated cables run into Edit Suites.

Work Flow :
Initially we planned to work in on-line mode only, but we realized that it is more efficient to work with lower resolution proxies and have every artist share the media. Adobe Premiere needs a bit of a work around to account for scaling but Discreet Combustion uses “target size” to scale to High Definition no matter what the input is.

DV versions :
If you are working with CineForm you would know that it comes with a tool named "HDlink" that can be very beneficial to you. One of the features it has is down conversion of high resolution footage into DV version (for example PAL 16:9). The new down converted file is 1/6th the size (in MB) of the original and it gives you an opportunity to work with it on a much lower level PC with less intensity on the network. Now your medium range Pentium 4 computer can be your Edit Suite.

Given we have more or less 260 hours of footage, converting it to lower resolution files will take a very long time. Render farm capabilities here would be cool, but, some sort of auto proxy in the read process that does not render a new file would be much better. Alternatively have a mirror update folder which monitors the source folder and auto converts any new files in the directory tree and saves them to another identical folder tree but containing lower resolution proxies.

Current state :
Footage Server 6.7TB out of 6.8TB is full. Audio Server/Workstation 1.56 out of 1.6TB is full.
And "Spoon Tenth Assembly" is completed... :)


Target :
Shoot the missing scenes and Lock the Edit.

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