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  • Fri, Feb 7 2014 10:02 PM

    • astw
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    • Joined on Tue, May 24 2011
    • Posts 22
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    Low cost shared projects and storage!

    Hi everyone,

    I've long been interested in low-cost, 'smaller' alternatives to the likes of Unitiy, Isis, Editshare, Terrablock etc.

    While they are fantastic solutions they come at a price not fit for everyone's budget, and sometimes they are just not viable at all on smaller productions (due to physical space and noise requirements).

    I've worked on Isis and Editshare extensively in the past and think they are both great solutions.

    However, the latest feature I'm about to start on simply doesn't have the budget for a Unity/Isis/Editshare and the editor and I were ready to tear our hair out knowing we'd be working in separate Avid projects with separate sets of media.

    I've successfully setup and tested an indiestor box in the past and that worked flawlessly, but it wasn't feasible to build a separate Linux box for this job.

    So we turned to Vidsharx. Bizarrely enough, it seems like Vidsharx has been completely abandoned by the developer. I've tried contacting him a few times with no luck, and they closed down their support forum quite some time ago.
    After much tinkering I was finally able to get Vidsharx working with a direct ethernet connection between two Mac Pros running OSX 10.7 and Avid Media Composer 6.5.4. We are using one of the Mac Pros as a server AND running Avid on it.
    Project and media sharing worked flawlessly in our tests, with both the editor and I scrubbing through, playing back and editing the same media (1080p DNxHD 36) simulatenously. We used a simple GTECH GRAID 4TB over FW800 as our test and had no issues.

    Docuemtnation for Vidsharx is very spotty (and much of it is in fact on the old xmcore website). I've heard that many people in the past have tested it/given up on it/successfully used it, but there is not much about it online.

    If anyone is interested I can write up a little document with how I was able to get it to work with some notes etc.
    It might just help some people.

    I'm really chuffed with Vidsharx and disappointed that it seems to have been abandoned entirely. It seems perfect for small editor setups and isn't nearly as expensive or noisy as a Unity or Editshare! If only they continued to develop and support it...

  • Fri, Feb 7 2014 10:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    VidSharx was really the only "budget" alternative that I could find. I tried it out too, and was going to blog about it, but the documentation was very spotty. And what there was, assumed you knew a lot about IT and networking. I had to goodle a lot, and try to bone up on terminology...and try to contact the developer for support, and got none...before I gave up. It wasn't worth it if it was that much work.


    I haven't found any viable alternative to ISIS or EditShare or Terrablock for shared projects.

  • Fri, Feb 7 2014 11:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    My guess is the market isn't really there for a "cheap" solution.  In most shared environments, you're looking for robust throughput and the ability to share files/projects without overwriting each other.  That's why those solutions are much more expensive than just hooking up a network drive.

    You can always load all of your media on one set of drives, make a copy of the media to the other set, and swap bins back and forth as needed.  Really the most reliable two-seat shared system out there, AFAIK.

    Symphony v8.8 | OS 10.11.6 • Nitris DX • 12-core MacPro (Mid 2012) • 36 GB RAM • Facilis Terrablock 24EX [view my complete system specs]

    -- Kevin

  • Sat, Feb 8 2014 3:38 PM In reply to

    • astw
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, May 24 2011
    • Posts 22
    • Points 285

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    I get what you're saying, though from experience many features have only one editor and one assistant or one editor and two assistants working in DNxHD 36 for a 3 - 6 month period.. manually copying media over all the time to ensure everyone has identical media is time-consuming and delicate, and copying bins to and fro on finder level quickly becomes a freak show on larger projects with edits being handed back and forth and new media (especially sound effects and music later down the line) being imported by each user through the course of each day.

    I totally get the need for Isis, Unity, Editshare and Terrablock but these solutions sometimes seem overkill for low-seat offline jobs, and Vidsharx is a godsend in that regard. 

  • Sat, Feb 8 2014 5:26 PM In reply to

    • Dan
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Oct 28 2011
    • Posts 238
    • Points 3,055

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    Check out, small tree. They might be exactly what your looking for and they have options for project management (shared avid projects, etc.).

    http://www.small-tree.com

  • Sat, Feb 8 2014 7:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    I did not see a true Avid project sharing option in Small Tree's site.

     

    It seems SNS now have Avid project sharing, probably the same way TB does it, by emulating the Avid files system (AFS).

     

    MC 8.6.1, Windows 10, ASROCK X99M, Intel 5930K, Zotac GTX970, 32GB RAM, Transcend 512GB M.2 SSD & Dell U2713H. MBP 2012 Thunderbolt, OSX 10.10.5, MC... [view my complete system specs]
  • Sat, Feb 8 2014 8:48 PM In reply to

    • Dan
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Oct 28 2011
    • Posts 238
    • Points 3,055

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    I don't know what you mean by true avid project sharing, but small tree works with Flavoursys and I think they (small tree) have some other options for project sharing. It'd at least be worth an email or phone call to see what they can offer.

    I can't say I'm totally impressed with Flavoursys, but it works.

    http://www.flavoursys.com

  • Sun, Feb 9 2014 2:21 AM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    True Avid Project Sharing

    Media Composer is Avid File System (AFS) aware.  If on launch, MC detects an available AFS, it works differently, and most importantly, automatically.  The users do not have to do anything, as everything is done in the background.  Some of the features.

    1) Bin Locks.  When a bin is first opened, that user has Read-Write access, and locked use of it.  They are given a green lock icon.  Other users have Read-Only access, and are given a red lock icon.

    2) Unique Project Settings.  Media Composer uses the default .avp file as the source, and creates a folder for each user, based on their system name.  Inside the folder is a new .avp file  This allows every user to maintain their own personalized settings.

    Facilis TerraBlock emulates this fairly well, as the same engineer(s) that designed Avid's system designed TerraBlocks version.

    Additionally, separate media folders are created for each user, again, matching the system name.  This too is automatic, and done in the background.

    Symphony 8.8.x w/Avid Nitris DX, HP z420, Windows 10, QT v7.7.x, Hexa Core 3.2GHz, 16GB RAM, nVidia Quadro Series 2000 w/353.82. 2TB Boot, 2 x 3TB internal... [view my complete system specs]

    "There are few technological barriers.  You can fix almost anything if you throw enough money at it."
    *******************************
    Randall L. Rike, ACI, ACSR Mac*Win*Unity*ISIS*DS
    Systems Engineer @ BET Networks [a Viacom company]
    (wwld)

  • Sun, Feb 9 2014 4:01 AM In reply to

    • Dan
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Fri, Oct 28 2011
    • Posts 238
    • Points 3,055

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    Thanks for the info. My experience with a shared avid environment is relatively limited. I do know Flavoursys (mint and strawberry) protect bins and media by giving sub users read only access to bins, sequences, media, etc. and you can refresh that shared stuff while people are working. I think they're (Flavoursys) a newer company that was created by users who wanted editshare-like features in non editshare servers.

  • Sat, Aug 23 2014 4:41 AM In reply to

    • Robs2
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Aug 1 2013
    • Posts 4
    • Points 50

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    For what it's worth, I've installed a few SNS EVO's and I have this to say - If you were an editor used to using ISIS you would not really know the diffference. It has true project sharing with bin locking, true meda sharing. Very simple setup. With the EVO you can start small and grow it when you need.

    We also found with an EVO you can bridge/attach your old Promise Fibre strorage for continued use.

     

    Filed under: ,
  • Sat, Aug 23 2014 8:38 AM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    astw:

    Hi everyone,

    I've long been interested in low-cost, 'smaller' alternatives to the likes of Unitiy, Isis, Editshare, Terrablock etc.

    I was/am in the same boat. Eventually decided to spring for a 16TB ISIS5K. Street prices are nicer than list prices. Research showed that ISIS by far is the more robust option, and the least in need of any tech support.

    Many of us have been suggesting a "Baby Unity" for many years. I'm not sure how much simpler/cheaper they could possibly make it.

    Media Composer /w Symphony option | PT-HD | Win7Pro64 HP | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 | Nitris DX | Artist Mix & Transport & Color | AJA T-Tap | Decklink... [view my complete system specs]
  • Sat, Aug 23 2014 8:53 AM In reply to

    • astw
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Tue, May 24 2011
    • Posts 22
    • Points 285

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    Just this month (August 2014) the folks over at Indiestor announced their own microservers - looks like just the ticket!

    Not sure if links are allowed, but Tiger Technology also finally released their projectSTORE product, which runs on Windows and allows full sharing including Avid bin locking. 

    A Unity/ISIS is simply overkill for two or three editors, or smaller outfits, and thankfully it seems more and more alternatives are being made available now. 

    I worked on a feature for six months this year using Vidsharx throughout, running OSX 10.7.5, Avid MC 6.5.4 and a simple 4TB Raid0 drive connected over eSata to the assistant's machine, and it worked amazingly well - full media and project sharing over Gigabit ethernet connected directly from one Mac Pro to the other. 

  • Sat, Aug 23 2014 10:19 AM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    astw:
    A Unity/ISIS is simply overkill for two or three editors, or smaller outfits
    I agree, but found it was the most reliable solution.

    The Indiestor products look very attractive! A bit harder to configure and maintain then an ISIS, though.

    Media Composer /w Symphony option | PT-HD | Win7Pro64 HP | OSX MBP | ISIS5000 | Nitris DX | Artist Mix & Transport & Color | AJA T-Tap | Decklink... [view my complete system specs]
  • Sat, Aug 23 2014 10:58 AM In reply to

    • Robs2
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Thu, Aug 1 2013
    • Posts 4
    • Points 50

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    Just checked out Indiestor, nice little project a very similar flavour to Vidsharx. ProjectSTORE looks interesting and there is also Mint from Flavoursys. All these products especially Indiestor and Vidsharx are perfect for the low budget small projects. However, all these solutions have some sort of compromise with setup and MC workflow as compared with an ISIS. I have found the EVO to sit somewhere in between cost-wise, being approx half that of an ISIS with comparable storage. I have also found the EVO to be easiest to setup and deploy, and works exactly like and ISIS, very reliable, great tech support and without compromises. I was surprised really. IMHO, the EVO would be the next step beyond all the ISIS alternatives mentioned here especially if you want to start adding on a few more editors, producers, GFX, Resolve, etc.

  • Tue, Sep 9 2014 4:10 PM In reply to

    Re: Low cost shared projects and storage!

    Hi astw,

     

    I am really interested in giving VidSharx a go for an upcoming project, but am a bit daunted by the lack of support.

    You never did write up that 'little document' did you?

     

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