At CES in Las Vegas, axle Video announced Drive - a new low cost product that gives producers and editors remote access to media assets via a web browser. Could this be a cheap and secure way of getting online approval of productions?
We have been sifting through the news from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas day by day and so far apart from the odd camera, drive or new TV screen, there has been little to directly interest us.
axle Drive did however get us excited.
So what exactly does axle Drive do? The unit connects to a Mac and makes a separate proxy of all the media on the drives. This media can then be shared, even across the internet.
Producers, clients or anybody with the right login can then view all the proxies using a web browser. This can either be on a local network with a director sitting next to the editor for example or remotely with a client viewing a cut and giving their approval.
Not too often a product like this has its own music video! (You'll notice which NLE is featured.)
The whole proxy generation happens in the background, the hard disk on the axle unit storing a proxy for each video, photo or PDF asset.
"Most of the media captured today gets stashed away on loose hard drives, with no ability to search or reuse the content at a later date without a time-consuming process of constantly plugging and unplugging drives, then playing through media to find the right items" said Sam Bogoch, CEO of axle. "Now, finding and using media is a simple and swift process, thanks to axle's unique software and increasingly affordable storage and networking technology. axle puts this capability within easy reach of any creative studio and even the living room."
So we can see this unit having two main uses. The first is allowing a director or client to view camera originals online. They can then make a choice which take or clip to use. We don't know if the axle metadata can be fed back into Final Cut Pro X yet.
The second use is the secure online approval of the finished production. No more paying for an online service, this box should do it for you if your internet connection can handle it.
This could be really helpful and remove the tedious process of having to upload a new version every time you make a change. No HTML wrangling either to get the video on a web page. Not too sure how it will handle long productions such as conferences and weddings.
axle Drive is available in three versions:
axle Drive 2 - Holds about 100 hours of HD footage, or 5,000 hours of H.264 proxy media. 2 Terabytes of usable storage with USB3 connectivity, and axle's radically simple browser-based media management system. Lightweight, portable hardware can be taken anywhere. axle Drive 2 comes pre-loaded with sample selections of stock footage, audio and images from leading vendors, plus a year of knowledgebase and email support from axle Video. $995 / €895 (Euro).
axle Drive 4 - Holds about 200 hours of HD footage, or 10,000 hours of H.264 proxy media. 4 Terabytes of fully redundant (RAID1) usable storage with dual Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and axle's radically simple browser-based media management system. axle Drive 4 comes pre-loaded with sample selections of stock footage, audio and images from leading vendors, plus a year of knowledgebase and email support from axle Video. $1,995 / €1795.
axle Drive 6 - Holds about 300 hours of HD footage, or 15,000 hours of H.264 proxy media. 6 Terabytes of fully redundant (RAID1) usable storage with dual Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and axle's radically simple browser-based media management system. axle Drive 6 comes pre-loaded with sample selections of stock footage, audio and images from leading vendors, plus a year of knowledgebase, email and phone support from axle Video. $2,995 / €2695.
axle's bigger systems that mirror SANs have been well received, so we will be watching these units with interest as we think they fill a gap in the market by providing a low cost method of remote asset management and approval.
In March, axle will also release an edit client that can rough cut on iPhones and iPads.