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The perfect hardware setup and workflow for a long running project 11 Oct 2015 12:19 #69423

Hi, I need your advice on how to build the perfect hardware solution and make a simple workflow.

The background is sad, but that makes the project even more important.
My son is sick an is going trough heavy medical treatment for the next 2,5 years.
From the beginning we have filmed his reactions on the treatment with our iPhones.
Now we've got financing from a big foundation to continue filming him and making 4-5 small documentaries during the next 3 years. Not for broadcast but only as education-films for doctors, nurses, schoolteachers and other parents to sich children.
So we are going to log and load all the footage the coming yeas and keeping all the material approx 2-4 TB.
We will do the rough cut ourselves and then doing real cutting and sound design with professionals.

The last tree months I've loaded the new footage (20-30 minutes) one time a week in iPhoto on my Macbook and use the Time Machine backup at home. But that's not the best sullution in the long run...

Of course money matters. I have around $8.000 to build the system.
My guess is the new iMac 21" Retina when it's on sale in november (?). A lot of RAM, CPU and GPU speed.
We need to have double backup. One back up at home and one in a safety deposit box in the local bank.
I know we need to convert the video material to work with FCP.

My first idea is to buy 3 6TB LaCie Thunderbolt discs. One for the original material and prores-files. One for backup at home and one for backup ind the bank box.

But how about Raid? Or would it be better with cheaper and smaller discs now and the change all of them in two years to new ones? Or?...

Hope someone have the time to give me some advices on the hardware setup and maybe also on the workflow.

Thanks in advance.

All the best

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The perfect hardware setup and workflow for a long running project 05 Nov 2015 18:46 #70261

Well, firstly - sorry for your situation. I can't imagine what it takes to go through what you're going to have thrown at you over the next few years - so I'm humbled that you're taking the time to document it for the benefit of others.

As to the equipment - I would go for a 27" if you can. 21 is OK, but 27 is a much much nicer working experience for X.

If that blows the budget, I'd be inclined to buy cheaper drives for backup. In fact, I'd do that anyway. A thunderbolt drive dock (or USB3), along with a handful of bare drives, will be fine. I'd rather have 3 or 4 copies on bare drives that in enclosures. Most fails drives I've come across have been enclosure failures rather than the drive itself. If you store media outside of the library and reference it, you won't have to keep backing up the whole shebang, only the new media. And I'd stick with vanilla ProRes for material from those sources. Any more would be overkill.

One thing to remember if you do adopt this approach is to make sure you fire up the drives periodically (every month or two should be fine) as inactivity can kill drives just as quickly as over-use.

You could, as a belt and braces approach, look at some kind of cloud backup too.

As for a media drive to edit from - I think you'd be fine with a decent G-Raid, but there are lots of nice RAID5 solutions out there too - it just depends on budget, and how much redundancy you want. But given that you have no time constraints to speak of, I would be less worried about the edit drive going down IF you've been scrupulous in backing up - it would be a lot cheaper.

Oh, and one thing - RAM is your friend on any setup, but buy it from somewhere like Crucial - not Apple - it will save a lot of cash. Similarly, if you're speccing the machine and using external storage for media, don't go mad on the internal SSD or Fusion drive - I've a 256 in my Mac Pro and it's fine, no media stored there but plenty room for apps and OS.

As far as workflow goes, I'd be inclined to see if you can use something like MPEG Streamclip to convert to ProRes. It's pretty foolproof and quick, and yields good results. Compressor does too, if you want to stick with Apple software. Then you can convert, backup then ingest.



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Last edit: by Jason P.

The perfect hardware setup and workflow for a long running project 07 Nov 2015 15:11 #70336

8k$ is a lot of money for a - don't get me wrong here! - hobby project.

And - now finally you get me wrong here: - you put,imho, the cart before the horse:
No beast of edit machine can create marvel, when the source material is ... a phone.
(yep, saw the stories about award winning Hollywood movie done with an iPhone - and tons of light and decades of expertise in photography)

iPhone delivers under low light (anybody 'indoor'?...) non-standard video: variabal frame rates - eeks!! That is the only reason, why, under some circumstances, a manual 'conversion' is needed; this ...

I know we need to convert the video material to work with FCP.

… is just plain wrong - in case you use a camera, not a phone.

so, my calculation would be:
1k$ put aside for any worse case scenario happening the next 3y; for saving 'erased' media, for professional assistance, new, better toys... tools, for ... whatever.
2k$ for a camera; if size is a problem, devices like Sonys RX100 are pocket size AND deliver superb quality, even in low light. Or, for non-DoPs, .. camcoders: no shallow dof/no trouble pulling focus, just point & shoot; Canon XA, Sony HXR...
Audio....? by phone??? 2mics, a dedicated audio-recorder, cables, batteries, charger - poof, 1k$ gone
rigs&tripods. yup, the first days you feel arkward with that monster on your shoulder, but a hole movie done handheld by phone...? (no, never managed to watch Blairwitch in a single rush ;) )
light? modern, light, small, running hours with a battery. two for 500$.

.... and indeed: fail-safe storage is for such long-term project 1st priority. clones, archives, backups, backups from backup. And not every drive located on your office' desk, solid Peli- or Rimowa-cases = 400$ .....

But a computer ... ? Actual FCPX works on any Mac last 4-5 years (here; a late 2012 Mini); just for importing, indexing/tagging there's no need to spend more than 1-2k$ (used, refurbished?) ....

Maybe I#ve overread it, but your no pro, no dedicated editor? So why an editors workstation? ..... Put your chips on camera, storage (3 levels of backup?) - and what about training? Your training .... whatsort of material is needed in three years... have you asked a professional editor? you aware of b-roll, 'fillers', handles, axis, cadrage, wb, ...........

but what kind of Mac would be on the very bottom of my shopping list, very tempting with 8.ooo dollars given for free .... but not top priority. for me. for such a project.


I know, I sound a bit crude. 'cause I ignore the reason for this project. but the topic is technology, not pychology. Sorry. Cudos to b. to have the energy for such a project in such a situation.

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Last edit: by Karsten Schlüter.

The perfect hardware setup and workflow for a long running project 07 Nov 2015 15:33 #70340

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Priority 1 is back up, 3 forms is best, if you are not going to doing this for broadcast, then I would suggest a macbook pro and a 2nd monitor, spending hard cash on a big screen really overkill, a 2nd hdmi monitor or thunderbolt attached monitor would be more than enough room and cost next to nothing.

Invest in training, Ripple has a great range, easy to follow, they publish every week on the net, Peter here at FCP.co curates them when he has time right onto the home page...

When it comes to editing, it is not so important the actual editing, but the pre-editing, the so called logging, here spend the time keywording, making smart collections, even making paper logs of what was said when, it is a long duration project, and things will get lost if only in digital form, ink/pencil does not fade, write neatly, or better type and print out.

I would try and stay within 1 app, namely FCPX, with fcpx you can create camera archives, this makes a clone of the data from the camera, as a back up.

The actual editing on the timeline will take time, the time you take doing great logs, transcribing every conversation, will make this process of timeline editing much smoother and frustration free.

Maybe invest in a decent dslr camera, this way you have options for stills and video, different lenses for different shots, and if one breaks, it does not mean end of shoot, buy another lens..and they break, just wish video camera's had the same... :oops:

A few external USB3.0 drives for back up, for now you need to ensure you have footage stability of archive, that things will not be lost....Digital is great for editing, not so great for shooting, that is storage is an issue, and terrible for getting lost/deleted :blush: :blush:

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