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Nathaniel CooperApr 13, 2020 4:00:00 AM4 min read

How are video editors using Cloud Storage?

Almost all the producer and editors that you know, you see them juggling hard drives back and forth and they need to copy things back and forth. Now, the light bulb is going on and they're realizing you know, when they open up their cabinet. they've got 60 or 70 hard drives. They may have thought they could never afford RAID storage, but they already paid for several many times over sitting in their closet.

Then the worst part is when they have 60 or 70 drives in there. They think "oh, well, I think it's on this drive" and like seven years later, they pull it out and expect the files to be there. How long is the hard drive warranty? Three years if you're lucky, five if it's a pro-level drive. So a lot of these customers are realizing that they better quickly copy the content off of those hard drives into Cloud.

But then there’s a whole other level of customers who realize that having cloud storage to be the perfect active archive for everything in their environment and everything in their shot. Obviously they want the fastest shared storage for their whole team, but it really pays to have a copy of all of that content all their back projects in something that's active like the cloud that they can immediately yank back if something happens.

Video teams are pretty rare in that they're still the crazy performance hogs of the world and that's few and far between anymore.  Especially now because everybody's been trying to figure out like how the hell do I work from home?! You can't just throw R3D files on cloud storage and throw them on a timeline and just pretend that the worlds going to work. It's just not… and you know, we'll get there eventually. I have no doubt, a few years, you know, maybe five years from now people will be editing off of Backblaze directly from their homes. I have no doubt we'll get there.

Right now, a lot of video teams are using the local storage for that high performance whether it's shared storage, like a local Thunderbolt RAID or even just a single USB drive. What I've seen is which is really cool is them using the cloud as a real-time backup, a real-time mirror of their active projects. So there's the backup aspect. There's that long-term archive. And those are the two ways that I've seen most video professionals leveraging at least pools of cloud storage like Backblaze offers.

Another thing we typically see is where the cloud stuff really becomes exciting for a lot of smaller companies is it's a very cheap, very accessible, off-site backup that they don't have to manage themselves and and you get into like the large amounts of data the footage stuff like that. There's internal backup processes for that stuff and during an active project, typically you're going to manage that locally because just the size and the speed at which it needs to be dealt. But when you can set up an active back up where you're sending your dailies for your smaller stuff, on a sometimes hourly basis, that's an amazingly effective Disaster Recovery kind of situation and it's a little bandwidth and it's easy.

It's not even the obvious use of cloud storage just getting it up and off into archive. But doing a kind of a reoccurring back up with the smaller data is a really effective way to do it because not only if the worst case happens, you've got an off-site backup of the footage, and you can get an off-site backup of the footage like tomorrow if you've got local hard drives that you sent home with somebody.

It's harder with getting an off-site backup with footage in the cloud in one day unless you've got awesome bandwidth which a lot of us do now which is cool. There's a lot of different ways to access it and I think what really drives it for most of the clients that I talk to is the speed of access that they need and that they have for kind of daily backup stuff and then the just the overall size and the the possibility of going back to the footage. Some other questions to ask are :

  • Is it something that's going to be frequently used?
  • Is something that's going to be, basically checking a box and away it goes into the cloud and we're never gonna see it again?

We've also seen some workflows where the team is using a format that we all love to hate… LTO to back up those absolute camera Raw files because that stuff can be huge. If you're shooting, 6K R3D Raw files. That stuff adds up really quick and then using something like LTO to back up those raw files, but then having the project files all associated media except for the raw files be what's doing a recurring back up to cloud storage so that in most cases, even if that server goes up in flames, you can still go back and recover everything.

We're talking about several different things here. So what we're just describing right there is like a Data Integrity type back up. One of the bigger uses of cloud storage obviously is the archival side where you actually getting it out of your system and into a more secure kind of cloud system. There's a lot of different ways to utilize it in the fact that it's there and that we can access it, there's a lot of ways to play.


Nathaniel Cooper

As Chief Operating Officer of ProMAX Systems, Nathaniel Cooper, runs ProMAX Systems day to day operations. Cooper has been working with Storage, Backup and Media Management for video and creative professionals since 2001. Cooper has lead the design and deployment of some of the largest media systems in the world including a range of customers from NFL, MLB & NBA teams, US Military operations, and many of the worlds largest PR agencies and consumer brands. Cooper has spent the last 9 years as part of the ProMAX team and specializes in translating complex technical issues and options into easily understandable concepts.