Using storage to cut time creating dailies

Posted on March 01, 2005

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Introduced at last year’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, MTI Film’s Control Dailies solution is based on high-speed Fibre Channel disk arrays from Bright Systems. According to MTI, Control Dailies can cut in half the time that a production team normally spends in a telecine room producing episodic and feature dailies with synchronized sound.

Control Dailies is a PC-based, frame-accurate, calibrated telecine and audio control environment that accelerates syncing picture and audio during the transfer of dailies. According to Pat Hawley, director of sales at MTI Film, in Providence, RI, Control Dailies is capable of simultaneously ingesting film to high-definition and standard-definition formats at 30 frames per second.

Jay Holden, a director of photography and technical editor for American Cinematography magazine, was skeptical upon hearing MTI’s claims to reduce a daily session from a 4:1 ratio down to 2:1. “It was hard for me to imagine until I actually saw it,” says Holden.

Accustomed to seeing dailies produced where the colorist uses a time code to sync up the sound machine with the color machine for different scenes, Holden was surprised how Control Dailies had improved on the process by, in effect, “stepping backwards” to use the more classic method of syncing each scene with the clapboard. “The sound technician can now work with the colorist right alongside him,” says Holden. “It makes the process very quick.”

The system has three components: two workstations and a storage module that was developed with the help of integrator Bright Systems. The storage module consists of a single chassis and two X24 RAID controllers from Xyratex, 32 146GB Cheetah disk drives from Seagate for high-definition video, and another 16 Cheetah drives for standard-definition video. Workstation reads/writes to the storage module occur via dual 2Gbps Fibre Channel switches from QLogic. The whole system runs on ADIC’s StorNext shared file system software.

“The coolest thing about the [storage] module is the ability to record a high-definition signal and play back instantly, or record a standard-definition signal and play back three things at once,” says MTI Film’s Hawley. “You can play back and record multiple streams of high definition and standard definition at the same time.”

“The module can now do virtually six things at once in the same space on the drive,” says Tom Shearer, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Bright Systems, “just as if you were playing six songs simultaneously from the same needle on a record player.”

For more information about Control Dailies, visit www.mtifilm.com.


Control storage module

8 hrs. high definition (HD),
18 hrs. standard definition (SD)
One HD write/one HD read
One SD write/two SD reads
One 8-channel audio write
One 8-channel audio read
Two 4-channel audio reads
All writes/reads performed concurrently.

Source: MTI Film


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