Turn Project Archives Into Real Money – BRU Producer Edition

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In my continuing effort to find a solid, reliable and affordable solution for long term archival of our editing projects, I have spent the last 12 months testing and creating a workflow for yet another product solution. Unlike when I reviewed the Cache~a a few years back (the positive review since removed from the site), I decided to spend a lot more time really running it through the paces. I learned my lesson the hard way with the Prime Cache and made changes to my review process.

The product that I’m reviewing this time is the “Edit Bay Production Desktop” software and hardware package from the Tolis Group. It has turned out to be quite the winner, and I’m excited to share our experience with it. While they do offer several different solutions of hardware/software or software only solutions (you provide the hardware), I’m going to focus on this one all in one package. It’s my feeling that this is the best fit for the small to medium sized post house with 1-5 workstations. To see some of their offerings, check out their website.

http://www.tolisgroup.com

What’s Included – Installation

What I liked about the “Edit Bay Production Desktop” package right from the onset was that it was a complete solution for your Mac. You provide a G5 tower, Xserve or MacPro computer with a open PCIe slot (must be a 8x slot), and they provide you with everything else.

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In your open PCIe slot you will install a SAS host bus adaptor. The card they provide is the ATTO ExpressSAS H680, and it was as easy to install as a video card. It’s as simple as removing the side panel of your tower and adding the card to your open slot.

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(Above is the Expansion Slot Utility that is on most, but not all Power Macs. Because the system we have the card installed on (a quad G5) does not support this utility, I took this snap from a different computer in the office just to show the utility. So don’t be surprised that in this shot the ATTO card is not listed. This utility allows you to configure the speed of your slots by dividing up the bandwidth in whichever way best suits your setup)

Once booted up, you install a driver for the ATTO card from the included CD, reboot again and the card is ready for use.

After that, turn the machine off and attach the LTO drive. Depending on the package that you choose, you will receive either a LTO-4 or LTO-5 drive. Both are HP drives in a external case. We have the LTO-5 drive.

With the LTO drive attached and the machine booted up, install the BRU Producer Edition software (from here on referred to as BRU PE) . This is really the heart of the product and is written for OSX specifically. Installation is as easy as mounting the included CD ROM or downloaded .dmg disk image and running the installer. Now you’re ready to start.

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Eternal Backup of the Spotless Drive (Part 2 of 2)

This is the second of a two part series on the Quantum A-Series LTO drive. You can find part 1 here.

Once Quantum released the unbelievably fantastic Version 3 upgrade three months ago, any minor inconvenience we were having with the tape drive seemed to disappear. They really did a great job listening to client comments and fixed virtually every problem that needed to be addressed. The interface is more fluid (you used to not be able to adjust the size of the windows), and there is no longer a self-destruct button next to the eject button. There is now an automatic preventative measure in place to no longer lose the table of contents (a problem we had early in its use, it appeared worse than it actually was). We can fill the tapes up as full as we want (we used to need to add a cushion of space to prevent filling the tapes “too full”). I can now let my pals < and ? into the drive without concern. Oh, they can invite the rest of their friends as well, the blacklist is lifted! There is still only a 97 character limit for filenames, but only once in a blue moon do I export FCP movies titled…

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Talking LTO on the Buzz with Larry Jordan


After a few weeks of email exchanges about backup strategies with the “Ever Handsome” Larry Jordan, he invited me on the Digital Production Buzz to talk about my experience with the Quantum A-Series LTO backup drive. If you don’t normally listen to the show, below is an excerpt of my interview with him. If you would like to become a regular listener, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes. The show airs weekly and you can’t help but learn something new with each new episode. 

Listen to Interview

Eternal Backup of the Spotless Drive (Part 1 of 2)

Archival of editing projects and tapeless camera originals is a hot topic these days, with opinions flying everywhere. Today’s post covers our experiences with both hard drives and the new A-Series LTO drive from Quantum.

In early 2008, we decided to switch to LTO tapes for all of our long term archiving.  We previously used external IDE drives (well, internal drives put in cases to make them external) for our backups.  They work decently for at least a while.  The problem was, it got to the point that we had to use Chronosync, a file synchronizing software, to bring back any element from a project because digital hits would appear in the video files due to bad data blocks copying over from the drives back onto our system.

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