|In this digital media world, it's imperative to not only have enough media array space to do your work, but also to store and protect that media for the long term. We've been using a very simple method going on four years now and in response to a question I actually got today, here's how it works.|
We store everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on bare hard drives. Yes, I know what you're saying. "Walt, hard drives die!" Yes, they absolutely 100% do. That's why everything is stored on both a Master and Clone with the clones stored off-site. When either the Master or Clone dies, we purchase a new drive and make a brand new Clone.
Organization: First off, every drive gets assigned a 7 digit number by our Media Management Specialist such as 0002372. Why 7 digits? So we can store up to 9,999,999 items before we run out of numbers. This applies to ALL media that's stored in our library including Tape, DVD, Blu-Ray, CD, Hard Drives and anything else that goes into the library. It's all managed through a VERY simple Filemaker Pro database we started about 6 years ago and it still works quite well. We tried using CatDV for a while, but it was just too confusing and cumbersome so we switched back to Filemaker and have kept running it since. Kelly can pretty much find anything in the shop within 5 minutes so it's still working well for us. Moving forward, the next thing we will test out is Axle as soon as we get our new series rolling which will be reality series style so it will involve a LOT of media per episode.
Storage Unit: We've been running "Tray Less" drives from WeibeTech for all four years we've been doing this system. That company was purchased by CRU-Dataport a few years ago, but the units still remain. You can get 1, 2, 4 and 8 bay units. Here's a picture of the RTX410-3QJ which is essentially the latest version of the 4 bay models we run in the shop and we also run a couple of the single drive units. This is a JBOD unit with four individual connections for the four drive trays running standard SATA drives. What this means is that all four drives will show up as individual units instead of the entire box showing up as a "RAID." So we can copy data to two Masters and two Clones simultaneously if we want. And you don't have to use all four slots to use the unit. 1, 2, 3 or all slots can be used at any given time.
The "Tray Less" designation means the drives literally slip in and out of the drive bays like the old floppy disks. Open the front door, slide the drive in, close the door and start your data transfer.
We have these connected to a Mac and we manually control all data transfer. So our Media Management specialist will load the appropriate drive, confirm the data that needs to be archived off our server and manually drag it onto the drive for the transfer. Then she'll copy from Master to Clone and then the Clone will go off site.
We reverse the process to put the data back onto the server. It's VERY simple and VERY low tech.
I've sent these units out into the field and when we get the series, this will be how we'll transfer, clone and ship media from the field. The master footage will be copied from the Camera cards to three drives simultaneously in the RTX unit. Drives 1 and 2 will be the Master and Clone with Drive 3 the Backup Clone. Drives 1 and 2 will stay with the Production Team until they return to Atlanta while the Backup Clone will be shipped back to Atlanta at the end of each production day.
Since this unit uses off the shelf SATA drives with nothing proprietary we can pick up additional hard drives pretty much anywhere on our travels around the US and around the world as needed or just have drives overnighted to wherever our crews are.
Hard Drives: We tend to purchase Western Digital and Hitatchi drives as they are generally the most plentiful around and have the best price vs. performance. Remember we don't need top speed / top performance because we're not editing with these drives, just storing them on the shelf. We purchase from a myriad of locations such as TapeOnline.com, Fry's Electronics, Best Buy even Staples on occasion when they have a sale. So far the largest drive we've purchased is a 3TB model, but we tend to stick to 2TB as they seem to be just the right size to hold most of our projects. The price point has also drastically dropped for the 2TB so they're a good buy for the size.
Storing the Media: WeibeTech, now CRU Dataport also sells the "Drivebox" which is an antistatic box to store the bare drives. Literally looks like small VHS box and the drives store very securely in these boxes which take up very little room.
You can see below the DriveBoxes sitting on IKEA Benno DVD towers. I like these units because they're very compact footprints with very short shelves that don't sag under the weight of the drives. We can store 40 drives on a single Benno unit so with 2TB drives, that's 80TB of backup data in a very small footprint. Considering it takes about 4 of these units side by side to equal a "normal" bookshelf, that's 320TB in a nice compact footprint. The taller boxes are the original version of the DriveBox, they've gotten shorter in the last two years. We make sure to spin up all the drives every four months minimum to make sure the drives are ok. If any shows any sort of falter, we replace it immediately.
Fail Safe Storage: Now if you want to go all out "Fail Safe" secure backup, then you start looking into LTO units which are just on the transition phase from LTO-5 to LTO-6. The plus side is that the tapes are guaranteed to last for 50 years. Yes, I said tape, still the most stable thing to put on a shelf. The downside is they only hold 1.5TB maximum for media. Yes you can store 3TB of compressed data, but you should never compress video data. The storage units themselves generally start around $2000 and quickly go up from there. I've been considering a switch to LTO because the LTO-5 tapes are only $33 per 1.5TB. BUT most LTO units are proprietary per manufacturer so once I commit to a manufacturer, then I'm stuck with them for a while, unlike these bare hard drives which I can put into any SATA drive unit and a Mac or PC will read them. That is changing now with LTO-6 and LTFS to write to, but it's still on the "bleeding edge" for me so for the time being, we continue to go with the hard drives.
I expect that by mid 2014 we will begin transitioning over to LTO for long term off site archive storage and continue using hard drives as on site archive storage. In fact, an LTO solution will probably be my main focus at the NAB show in April 2014.
There you go, a quick look at how we've been archiving our data at BCM for about 4 or 5 years now and it's worked quite well for everything we've been doing including the documentaries, episodics and corporate projects.
|In this series, Biscardi Creative Founder, Walter Biscardi, Jr. "demystifies" the video production process. Particularly for corporate clients the production process can be both confusing and overwhelming. We walk you through the four steps of video production so you can be better prepared for your next production project.|
In Part 3 we discuss the final 2 steps of the process, Post Production and Delivery. Editorial, Graphics, Sound, Color Grading and more make up the Post Production process and Walter explains what all of these elements are and how they come together to make your final project. It generally takes a lot more time and effort to finish the project than just doing the Production. Then we finish up with a short wrap-up of what final Delivery means.
We hope this three part series has helped to demystify the entire production process for you!
|In this series, Biscardi Creative Founder, Walter Biscardi, Jr. "demystifies" the video production process. Particularly for corporate clients the production process can be both confusing and overwhelming. In this series we walk you through the four steps of video production so you can be better prepared for your next production project.|
In Part 2 we discuss the actual Production and all that it entails. Many people are familiar with the production process thanks to "Behind the Scenes" videos where you see the camera, lights, crew and actors. However, in this podcast we talk about often overlooked mistakes and choices that can effect a budget, time and the quality of a final project.
|If you have an Apple Account (iTunes, iPad, iPhone) there is a Phishing email scam going on. Here's an email I received, note that the return email address is fake. Looks real though, pass this along and if you receive the email do not reply to it or click the link.|
|Sister company Biscardi Creative Media launched its first Google Hangout today which is a lot of fun. Essentially a live podcast that is instantly converted over to a YouTube video when completed with the ability to edit the video on YouTube when its completed. The main focus on the BCM Hangouts will be educating clients and potential clients on all aspects of the production process and how we work. However there is cross-over and in the first set of Hangouts we’ll be discussing the four steps of the Production Process. |
The goal of this series is to demystify what it is we do as a company to develop and produce video and multi-media content for clients, particularly corporate clients. In this first segment we discuss Part 1: The Pre-Production Process including some of the questions that I would ask a client in our first couple of meetings and my favorite question that gets asked of me. There’s a great answer in here for the next time you get asked the same question. This is a great video for anyone running a production company or independent freelancer because I’ve found that many folks simply don’t ask the right questions to their clients up front.
|“First Look” at the new FSI CM250 OLED Reference monitor from Flanders Scientific. I sat down with FSI's Bram Desmet to check out this new monitor and instead of blogging about it, we broke out the camera and decided to show you down below what this incredible monitor is all about.|
In a nutshell it’s a plasma screen type viewing environment but with the same exacting color quality the FSI brand is known for. Designed to work either alone or alongside existing FSI monitors, the CM250 would be a welcome addition to any Post facility, home based edit suite or color grading suite. The viewing angle alone is just insane. For myself, I definitely want one of these in my color grading suite, just gorgeous. Click the link above for the full specs, but “Wow” is all I can say. Now I get the OLED affection.
|I’m fortunate that I get the opportunity to speak in front of many groups and recently that’s been more high school and college students. No matter what the discussion is about, we always spent a lot of time talking jobs and networking. Because we’re all so digitally connected it should be easier to network, at least that’s what they think. Twitter, Facebook, Forums like these on the Cow and Google Hangouts, that’s all you need to build a reputation.|
Not really. Folks hire who they trust. We trust who we meet. We trust those who have met you. A college student the other day said, “So not necessarily the most talented person for the job will get the job?” I said no, the person who gets the job is the person we feel most comfortable with. He said, “That’s not fair.” Absolutely correct. It’s not fair in the least.
When you think about this industry, who is hired depends a LOT on how you fit in. Most companies, like my own, are pretty small. In my case just six full time people. So I have to consider how you and your personality fits in with those around you so as not to upset the balance. One bad apple in the mix and that could bring the entire company down. Yeah, you need skills to get a job, but more importantly, you need to ensure to your employer you’re going to fit in with the company “vibe.” Might be corporate, might be laid back, might be punk, whatever it is, your skill set AND your personality / attitude will determine your employment and career path.
There’s no other way to build up your reputation and skill set than to get out and meet people. People ask me all the time how I got to know so many major folks in the industry. It started out by giving a lot of helpful advice on the Cow Forums. Then I started going to NAB each year and many of the companies who liked what I was writing sought me out. Then I started seeking out others that I really enjoyed on the Cow and other forums I read. Within my own town here, I attended User Group meetings, some after hours events and so. Not even necessarily in my industry, sometimes just Chamber of Commerce type events because you just never know who you’re going to meet. And I was just myself at every event, greet everyone with a smile and a handshake and show genuine interest in what they had to say. In other words, just being a nice guy.
When my company started in 2001 I had built up a tremendous network of folks in the local area who referred me for work, referred me for technical support and set up issues and a whole myriad of things. Just because I treat folks well and am always here to help. But I got out there and still get out there as often as I can to get in front of people.
That was the whole reason I wanted to get an Atlanta User Group up and running so badly. To create a place for creatives to share some knowledge and more importantly, share business cards and conversation so you can get to know each other. Personal relationships lead to referrals which can lead to working on one of the largest blockbuster films in 2013/2014 as the 2nd Assistant Editor. True story and it happened because two folks met at an Atlanta Cutters monthly meeting. If they don’t both get out of the house, introduce themselves and share business cards a major career opportunity is missed.
I’m very passionate about folks getting out from behind avatars, putting down the mobile device and actually congregating together to discuss this craft that we all love so much. Honestly live training even trumps networking events. While the instructor has a set outline to walk through, inevitably the conversation turns to “What If?” or “Have you Thought About…..” and those tend to lead to some of the most incredible creative discussions. I learn more from those questions than anything else. Sure you can try to ask something like that on a chat forum or hangout, but you’re competing with folks who can type faster than you. Dialogue, human dialogue, will get you more jobs than one liners during a digital chat. You bond with the folks around you, share business cards and when the need arises, you just might call each other for work. Has happened to me on multiple occasions both as a student or the instructor. We’re in the room together, we can get a gauge on personalities, what the person is really like and whether you’d actually recommend each other for work.
That just doesn’t happen via avatars. How many times have folks accused you of being “mean” or “angry” when in reality you thought you were being funny. Your voice made it sound funny but the words on the screen just didn’t translate. That generally doesn’t happen when you’re together. I see your face, I hear the inflection in your voice, I hear the delivery of the words and there’s little chance for confusion. There’s also a great opportunity to take the conversation in different directions than it would if we were just talking digitally. We don’t have to wait on that typing delay for a response.
That’s why I’m so proud to be associated with my Atlanta Cutters brethren and being part of a creative event that I don’t think has ever been done. I look around and I see training events that are either uninteresting, overpriced for what they are, or look interesting but cater to “elite” and have very elite prices to boot. I’m all for bettering myself in the creative field and meeting interesting artists but I’m not going to blow multiple mortgage payments to do it. We just decided it’s time to put on a training event that’s both worthwhile of your time and reasonably priced. The Atlanta Cutters are non-profit so we’re just about breaking even.
Through all of this live networking those of us in the Cutters have done through the years, we literally had a huge group of friends to call on and participate. Now you have a chance to not only take workshops and meet these guys, but to hang after hours, go to dinner, have lunch, sit around the bar, whatever. Then throw in all the creatives around you and in one weekend you’ll make more connections that you would probably make in a year via social media. You see it’s not just about the actual people you meet directly. Those people will then turn around and introduce you to even more folks, just like you’ll do the same for them. Again, it’s the trust factor. I met you, I understand who you are and what you’re about, I like what I see, I’ll pass your name along to other folks. I have met SO many people incredible folks like Scott Simmons, Al Mooney, Robbie Carman, Pat Inhofer and Jesse Averna. Folks who were introduced to me by other people in my networks. People like Shane Ross and Jerry Hofmann whom I was introduced to originally on Creative Cow forums I then became good friends with by meeting up at NAB. It’s that personal connection that makes all the difference.
It’s so much different than getting an email, a Twitter DM or even a phone call. Nothing takes the place of live, face to face communication and networking. That’s why the Los Angeles Creative Production User Group, the Boston Creative Production User Group and the San Francisco Cutters, who graciously let us borrow the Cutters name, are such inspirations to the rest of us. They have created communities and ecosystems that help locals meet other locals and in turn share knowledge and connections. We originally planned to stage a Supermeet Atlanta but those guys are so incredibly busy we just couldn’t make it work, so we came up with our own version, the Atlanta Creative Ball which mixes a bit of the Media Motion Ball and the Supermeet together. Yet another tremendous way for creatives to network with other creatives and have the opportunity to win some really cool prizes like a Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Parties are yet another great way to get out there and meet folks.
So going all the way back to that college student. Life is not fair when it comes to the creative industry. You have to make your own luck, you have to make connections and you have to make a LOT of connections. Only takes one or two to really kick your career into high gear, but getting to that right one can sometimes take a while. So take advantage of any live networking and training opportunities in your local area. Gain some knowledge and get connections. Show people who you really are. That’s how I landed my dream gig on “Good Eats.” Started out by responding to a call for assistance on one of the Cow forums. The person I met liked me, my attitude and my talents. Turned out he was the DP for Good Eats. Because he met me, he felt comfortable introducing me to Alton Brown to discuss a concept he had. That led to 5 incredible years working for one of the most talented folks in all of television. Answering his questions on a forum would have solved his problems. Meeting him in person took my career into an amazing direction.
If you’re in the Southeast, I encourage you to at least attend the Atlanta Creative Ball, Oct. 26 in Atlanta, which is NOT a formal event. It’s a party with a full dinner, drinks (cash bar), Ron & Kathlyn who founded this Creative Cow, Keynote by Filmmakers the Diamond Brothers and the Raffle worth almost $30,000. $75 with code ATLBall2013 http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/ http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/raffle/
The Southeast Creative Summit is just an amazing three days of all things creative, Oct. 25-27, for $449 with the code creativecow2013. Or you can attend a Single Day for $149 (Friday or Saturday). Your chance to hang with Oscar, Emmy and Peabody award winners and other creatives just like you. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/
Both events are just tailored made to get you in front of other folks and get your network growing. Heck come to Ball and we can get your equipment list growing!
|So you say you can’t make it out to Las Vegas, Amsterdam or San Francisco for the annual Supermeets? Well the Atlanta Creative Ball is bringing that awesome Raffle and Party experience to the Southeast! This is going to be one heck of a party for creative professionals get to cut loose, swap knowledge and war stories and have a chance at some awesome prizes.|
On Saturday night, October 26th, we invite you to come enjoy Dinner, Drinks, Networking with your fellow Creatives, Meet up with folks from Blackmagic Design, AJA Video Systems, Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, Mocha, Screenlight, Axle and a whole lot more. Oh and you just might win something in one of the largest creative raffles we’ve ever had in this city!
This is a party y’all. You just come as you are and we’ll supply the fun. Seriously, this is NOT a formal event, it’s a just a good old fashioned fun time.
You need a new camera? A reference monitor? Editing software? VFX software? Collaboration tools? We got all that and more in the Raffle! Everyone gets an equal shot at a prize from nearly $30,000 worth of technology, so you just might walk home a winner! Seriously you need to SEE this raffle! http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/raffle/
We welcome our very special guests, Ron & Kathlyn Lindeboom, the Founders of the Creative Cow! If you’ve searched for information about anything creative for the past 12 years or so, you’ve probably found an answer on CreativeCow.net
We welcome our Keynote Presenters Josh and Jason Diamond, presented by Blackmagic Design. The Diamond Brothers are filmmakers from New York whose work is varied and wide ranging. Many know them as the “Share It Maybe?” directors with the iconic Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
Just for good measure, here's a code good for $10 off admission! ATLBall2013. Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Courtland Street. 6:30 - 10:30pm.
I'll be there ready to have some fun. Hope to see you there too!
|SINGLE DAY TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE for the Southeast Creative Summit. The Atlanta Cutters has a limited number of single day tickets available for either Friday or Saturday, Oct 25 & 26. Just $149 each. Admission includes the 50% savings to the Atlanta Creative Ball. |
Can still get all three days for just $449 with the code creativecow2013
The Southeast Creative Summit will be 56 workshop sessions over 3 days. In addition, we'll feature the first ever Atlanta Creative Ball, an awesome social night of food, networking, sponsor showcases and of course the Raffle which is approaching $30,000!
|Never has so much information been so easily available to so many than today. Right here on this very site are literally MILLIONS of tidbits of information, nuggets of knowledge and full blown training products ready at a moment's notice. For the bulk of what we need to know in this industry, this information is invaluable. Especially when we're getting started with a new tool, knowing how and which buttons to push is the information we need to get us past "launch this tool."|
But when it comes to the creative side of the industry, well that's better served in a communal setting. Sure there's things like Google Hangout, but there's nothing like being in the same room, the same space with other like minded individuals to bounce ideas back and forth. It's more organic and yields better results when you're actually face to face looking at the same screen, the same document, listening to the same audio.
I know when I work alone in an edit suite for too long, I lose a sense of "just how good is this thing." I love the collaboration of bringing in another editor or 2 or 3 or more and saying "look at this" and just hit play on the keyboard. No introduction, no anything, just "look at this." As soon as playback is over it turns into a natural discussion that covers everything from the sound to picture to text to graphics and whatever else was, or was not, on the screen. We always need that extra set of eyes and I find it most collaborative when all those eyes are in the same room bouncing ideas and looking at the same thing.
It's the same when it comes to creative training. Put 20 people in a room discussing green screen lighting for a while and you're going to end up with one heck of a discussion. Not just 20 avatars sharing text, but physically in a room where you can actually get up, move the lights around, move the cameras around, try techniques, share knowledge and so on. Now put 400 creatives in one location going all manner of workshops covering a wide range of topics and suddenly you have a HUGE knowledge bank all sharing and bouncing ideas in person, in realtime. Beyond the workshops there are the early morning coffee and breakfasts, the lunches, the evening dinners all which will lead to knowledge sharing. I see this every single year at NAB and it's one of the things I really love about that event. We just basically talk shop non-stop for four days and it's incredible how much knowledge you walk away with in that short of time.
This love of personal collaboration is one of the reasons I helped start the Atlanta Cutters User Group two years ago and why I was so excited when we came up with the idea for the Southeast Creative Summit. Yeah it's fun to converse via Twitter, Forums and Google+ but it's so much better to actually shake hands and swap stories. Of course when we started this concept, I never dreamed we have an Academy Award winner, Emmy winners, Peabody winners and more leading the workshops at the Summit, but it has happened. So not only do we get to hang out with each other at the workshops, the coffee shop, at dinner, but we get face to face time with some absolutely amazing industry icons.
Sure it's convenient to just be an avatar and hang out virtually with folks, but man it's so much better to hang with real people. So get off the couch, come out from behind your computer and get out there. Network with REAL people. Shake some REAL hands. Get to know the people in your neighborhood and around the block. If you own a company, in many states, like here in Georgia, you can get tax write-offs for sending your folks to seminars and workshops.
May I humbly suggest you start at the Southeast Creative Summit? October 25-27 here in Atlanta and only $495 for all three days with the code creativecow2013. Well actually it's only $449 with that code through Saturday night, Sept. 28th. http://www.southeastcreativesummit.com/
May I also humbly suggest the Atlanta Creative Ball on October 26th with a raffle over $26,000 and counting. You can meet the Founders of CreativeCow.net, Ron and Kathlyn Lindeboom and meet our Keynote Presenters Josh and Jason Diamond. http://www.atlantacreativeball.com/