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Final Cut Pro in a stand alone or SAN GrassValley K2 environement demystified

When it comes to explain if it is possible to edit files that are generated by a Grass Valley Server in a stand alone or SAN environment, usually people start the explanation by a "it's a little complicated..." or just assume that it is not possible.

Let me try to make this simpler and show you what is possible and how you do it.

First off, we will need to understand the terminology behind the equipment involved and have some assumption.

What is following is true for latest software released version of Grass Valley Servers, called the K2-SD v3.3, K2-HD v3.3 and K2-Summit v7.0 Mediaclient.
The K2 Mediaclients are video servers capable of ingesting and playing out video from local drives, with our without local storage extension, this is called Stand alone OR from a K2-SAN this is called... a SAN or Shared environment

The K2 Mediaclients can record depending on which one you are using DV-25-50-100, HD MPEG2 long GOP, XDCA, IMX, XDCAM HD.

On top of recording all the above format, the K2 family of servers generate Quick time references files along the media, that can be accessed by the FCP users and edit without transferring the media to a local storage.

the FCP editor can then edit, and once the sequence is finished you want to make that new piece available for playback by the K2, you will need to export it back to a "hot bin folder", kind of incoming watch folder on K2s that manage all the file based import on K2.
The "plumbing" part of this how to differ if you are in Stand alone or SAN, but then the user workflow is the exact same.

Plumbing part (how to connect to the media drive)

****STAND ALONE MODE**** no shared storage:

On a Stand alone configuration, the MAc os will use a simple ethernet connection (GigE) to connect physically to the K2 MediaClient and use the standart CIFS protocol to see the media drive.
First you need to mount the K2 Media drive volume on the Mac OS. in order to do that you first must share the K2 Media Drive volume known as the "V:/ drive":
Go to the K2 Mediaclient windows -->my computer --> right click on the V:/ drive --> sharing and permissions, share the volume and name it DEFAULT (this is important) -->advanced permissions-->everyone check all permissions (you can set permissions to only the admin user if you prefer)-->apply/ok
On the MAC -->finder -->Go menu --> connect to server --> type in the IP address of the MediaClient like this: smb://xx.xx.xx.xx/default --> click the little + sign to add it to your favorites --> connect
Now the default drive is available in the shared section of the finder. (for advanced users a simple apple script will allow you to do this mount operation easier, I will post it in another post)


****K2 SAN Environment****shared storage:

On a K2 SAN environment, Grass valley support both ISCSI (2 Ethernet cables needed) or Fibre Channel connection mode (optical)

So first thing to do is to decide what type of connection you want to use. ISCSI is the most flexible and cheaper, therefore my favorite. But the configuration is the same in both cases.
so once you physically connected the cables and set basic temporary IP addresses you'll need to install some software on the MAC.

• XSAN client 2.1.1 from Apple (the GV K2 SAN work natively as a XSAN server Great!)
• FCP-GVCONNECT bundle from Grass Valley version 1.0 available end of May

First install the XSAN client on the Mac, then the Grass Valley bundle, once this is install everything will be done via the K2 Server side for the setup, very cool.
On the K2 Server, launch the K2-config application, add a client, select MAC client, choose ISCSI vs FC connection, Set the IP addresses you want your Mac to use (or keep current) Assign bandwidth limit to machine, apply and watch the magic happen.
Automatically the ISCIS or FC board on the MAC get configured, the XSCAN client get configured, and suddenly the Media Drive from the K2 SAN appears on the MAC desktop.
That’s it, you are done with the plumbing.


Now that the "plumbing" is done you can start editing: two scenarios are possible. first and recommended one is to use the new FCP-GVCONNECT plug-in from Grass Valley (available end of May) or to do without it, but the process will be less seamless and would work only on stand alone.


With the GV CONNECT plug-in:

-From FCP --> tool-->GV CONNECT --> import tab --> you see all the available content, import to the bin as many as needed --> close plug-in
- when done editing --> tool --> GV CONNECT --> export tab --> select custom or quick export (TIP: Set the quick export to the hot bin then you can do a GV connect quick export directly from the tool menu) --> export and close.

Without the GV CONNECT plug-in (Stand alone ONLY)

-From FCP --> Right click on the bin --> import file --> using the browse button navigate to DEFAULT/ Asset (if K2 Classic) or Media (is K2 Summit)/navigate the bins to find content.
-when done editing select your sequence to send back --> right click --> export --> Quick time movie, select the right format that match the K2 system setup --> browse destination: navigate to the default drive/ navigate to the hot bin --> export.

Note that by using the GV CONNECT plug-in this process is highly streamlined. But in both cases, you can edit media without moving them, from the local storage of the server

More to come, Apple scripts to auto-mount CIFS volumes and how to work on a SAN environment

This is my COW Blog!
I will share here my experience about editors used on Grass Valley solutions as they can be find around the world on many playout center, news production channels, sports and live to tape environment. This blog is also the opportunity to share some thoughts and uses cases around EDIUS, which is becoming more and more a serious alternative to the AAA.
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