The Right Way to Access NAS Remotely for Video Production
by Matthew Mister, on May 12, 2020 1:59:55 PM
Video teams who utilize a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device as part of their post production workflow are used to accessing their media in a local network environment.
Being connected over a local network means your video team gets the full benefits and performance of a NAS. However, for consistent performance you need to always be connected to that network. Network speeds can vary greatly between your home and the office which can kill performance.
There are solutions available for connecting to a NAS remotely but not all of these are configured for the needs of a video production team. We will be focusing on these challenges and how to properly address them.
Why you need remote access to your NAS device
Performance is Key to Success
If your video team is put into a situation where they need to work remotely, they'll still need access the NAS device at the office, otherwise an entirely new production workflow will be required.
For many industries, the files they deal with are much smaller than the large media files video professionals work with on a consistent basis. Without a local connection, accessing a 500GB media file can be a time consuming tasks and still result in playback issues.
The most common ways to manage and access media in a remote environment include:
- Manually copying media to external drives
- Accessing your storage device through a VPN
- Using Dropbox/Google Drive
While these solutions can be "good enough" they will never give your production team the smooth workflow they are used to at the office and we all know nothing kills creativity more than a slow and choppy editing experience.
Real Time Access for Collaboration
Your production team is used to working together to create a project. In a centralized storage environment every member of your team can add their parts of a project and the rest of the team will be able to see their changes in real time.
Due to the performance obstacles we discussed earlier, accessing a project remotely in real time is not possible without some form of synchronization between the remote user and the central storage system.
You should always have a few copies of your media. These copies should include:
- The original version your team is working on
- A backup
- An archived version
These copies of your files serve as a safety net in case of a file accidentally getting deleted or some form of drive failure. Any additional copies of your files can be a nightmare to manage.
In a local environment your team should all be working from the same project file. If all of your editors are working remotely using their own copies of a project, reconciling that media when it is brought back onto the NAS device will end up being be quite the mess.
To keep your production workflow running smoothly, minimizing the number of unnecessary copies of your files is critical.
Duplicate Data & Project Changes
One of the biggest problems with working with duplicate data is keeping track of and reconciling changes to project files. This can be a time consuming task and can leave you open to errors during the reconciliation process.
Using a centralized NAS device, you can maintain a central file management system even from a remote location. If your NAS device is equipped with data deduplication, your server will automatically clear out duplicate data from your system, giving you more available storage to work with.
In order to achieve near real time access to your remotely, you need a way to synchronize changes to your files between a remote workstation and your NAS that acts as your centralized storage.
ProMAX has developed our MediaHub Sync workflow which allows editors to deploy small NAS devices in their home office. The MediaHub server acts as a node in the network sending changes to your files between the devices as they are made.
The MediaHub server is filled with SSD drives which greatly improves overall file transfer performance allowing your team to work exactly like if you were all sitting in the office together.