Multi Room Studio Workflow
Old 27th August 2013
  #1
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Thread Starter
Multi Room Studio Workflow

Hello,

While not strictly limited to post production, I think this is probably the most appropriate place for this post as I think you guys will have the greatest knowledge about professional studio set-ups/workflows.

I run a small audio studio dealing with composition for picture, remixing and bits of post production audio and video editing (a real mixed bag). At the moment there are two of us working in separate rooms but I'm going to expand this to a three room setup.

The problem: Currently I've let the producer who works for me use his own set-up that he is happy with (Logic) on his own computer while I use Cubase. We transfer projects via stems/OMF etc. which is a nightmare for workflow.

So what I am looking to do is set-up a network where by each of the 3 rooms can access all projects and edit them when needed. I don't foresee a situation where more than one user would be working on a project at the same time (as descirbed here: Nuendo Network) but it would be great if Room 1 could be mixing one project, Room 2 composing another and Room 3 preparing a new mix for Room 1 etc. Where if a client requests a quick change any room with some free time can open the project and edit it rather than waiting for the producer who's computer the project sits on to become free/stop what they are doing and make the change. It also might mean that I could take a holiday for once, in the knowledge one of the other producers could step in and provide mix edits for clients without me needing to be there.

So does anybody know a good solution which might fit this situation?
Can any network/DAW successfully run large projects directly from network storage or would it be a case of continuously syncing live projects between local disks and network storage?
Would something like a Drobo NAS do the job here or do I need to shell out for something like SNS Evo?
We use a lot of high end VSTi's and effects plugins along with UAD etc. Are we going to need an exact replica set-up in each room or is there a solution where by these can be run from a network if only one user is making use of it at a time?
Any recommendations for a scalable solution so as the business grows we can add more users/storage etc?

Any suggestions on set-ups that are working well for other people would be fantastic.

Thanks everyone.
Old 27th August 2013
  #2
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Henchman's Avatar
Protocols can.
It can cache the entire session into memory, from the network.
And yes, every room needs to be running the same setup.
The composer can be using logic if he likes. But the hardware all should be the same.

And the VsTi 's should be tinted before going to mix.
Old 27th August 2013
  #3
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NReichman's Avatar
 

I've used SNS's system on occasion, and it's very powerful. Makes facility-wide backup much simpler, too.

There are others out there. I often read about iSCSI systems that achieve some of the same speed and benefits. And of course, the most economical solution is high-end sneaker net. Put hotswap eSATA or Thunderbolt bays on each machine, and simply dedicate a hard drive to every project. Plug and play, and cheap.

If it was me, I'd consult with a place like Tekserve in NYC that often sets up these shared storage solutions. None of these solutions will fix a Logic/Nuendo headache of course...
Old 27th August 2013
  #4
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Lion73's Avatar
 

We use a Terrablock network works really well for us, 6 suites running various software and hardware combos, windows, mac os, pro tools, ableton, avid etc etc.

FACILIS TECHNOLOGY INC

Good Luck.
Old 27th August 2013
  #5
I've used a Facilis setup as well. Works flawlessly with ProTools. I'm the only PT guy though, the rest are editors on Final Cut so I cant comment on project interchanges.
Old 28th August 2013
  #6
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amneely7's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Protocols can.
It can cache the entire session into memory, from the network.
And yes, every room needs to be running the same setup.
The composer can be using logic if he likes. But the hardware all should be the same.

And the VsTi 's should be tinted before going to mix.
I think it may have auto corrected Pro Tools.

My crew is testing a scalable Promise network storage setup. Works fine so far.
Old 28th August 2013
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
Put hotswap eSATA or Thunderbolt bays on each machine, and simply dedicate a hard drive to every project. Plug and play, and cheap.
I see a lot of people do this with internal bays, and in that case I'd add the caveat that the surface-mount connectors that Mac Pro drivebays use are not designed for a long or eventful service life. They can last a long time, but the connectors are generally only qualified for hundreds of insertion cycles -- they aren't as mechanically durable as Rorke chassis were, or even Jaz's were.

Quote:
Protocols can.
It can cache the entire session into memory, from the network.
Pro Tools can, which is to say, Pro Tools 10 or higher can.
Old 29th August 2013
  #8
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Etch-A-Sketch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ithaca View Post
Hello,

While not strictly limited to post production, I think this is probably the most appropriate place for this post as I think you guys will have the greatest knowledge about professional studio set-ups/workflows.

I run a small audio studio dealing with composition for picture, remixing and bits of post production audio and video editing (a real mixed bag). At the moment there are two of us working in separate rooms but I'm going to expand this to a three room setup.

The problem: Currently I've let the producer who works for me use his own set-up that he is happy with (Logic) on his own computer while I use Cubase. We transfer projects via stems/OMF etc. which is a nightmare for workflow.

So what I am looking to do is set-up a network where by each of the 3 rooms can access all projects and edit them when needed. I don't foresee a situation where more than one user would be working on a project at the same time (as descirbed here: Nuendo Network) but it would be great if Room 1 could be mixing one project, Room 2 composing another and Room 3 preparing a new mix for Room 1 etc. Where if a client requests a quick change any room with some free time can open the project and edit it rather than waiting for the producer who's computer the project sits on to become free/stop what they are doing and make the change. It also might mean that I could take a holiday for once, in the knowledge one of the other producers could step in and provide mix edits for clients without me needing to be there.

So does anybody know a good solution which might fit this situation?
Can any network/DAW successfully run large projects directly from network storage or would it be a case of continuously syncing live projects between local disks and network storage?
Would something like a Drobo NAS do the job here or do I need to shell out for something like SNS Evo?
We use a lot of high end VSTi's and effects plugins along with UAD etc. Are we going to need an exact replica set-up in each room or is there a solution where by these can be run from a network if only one user is making use of it at a time?
Any recommendations for a scalable solution so as the business grows we can add more users/storage etc?

Any suggestions on set-ups that are working well for other people would be fantastic.

Thanks everyone.
We use an SNS iSCSI system over Gb ethernet at the studio I run. 3 studios and 6 edit rooms plus a backup/archive system. The SNS system works great, we've had it for 6 or 7 years now and it's been rock solid and it is VERY easy to manage and maintain. You don't have to become an IT guy to manage it.
Old 2nd September 2013
  #9
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the advice everyone. Will let you know what we end up going for.
Old 3rd September 2013
  #10
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axtrak's Avatar
 

I had the same question 2 years ago. We chose a synology NAS using iSCSI and metaSAN as Software. Works rocksolid and cost 1/4 of an evo...
Old 20th January 2014
  #11
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Thread Starter
As I did a fair bit of research online before posting this thread I thought I would post a short reply about the setup we went for in the end (for anyone searching for something similar in the future)....

The replies here were great and very useful. Our budget couldn't quite stretch to a full EVO style system at the moment but instead we used SNS XTarget (Xtarget iSCSI Target Software - SNS (Studio Network Solutions)) on a spare Mac Mini. We have a 6 bay Thunderbolt RAID connected to that and a mixture of PC and Mac's accessing the SAN via Gb Ethernet. MediaPro's (MediaPros | Creative Solutions for Media Professionals) in the UK helped us source all the required equipment, licenses etc. and were great offering advice on the best setup for our needs. The total setup came in at just over £2k.

As Etch-A-Sketch mentioned, you don't need to be an IT guy to set it up, but it does take a while to get everything connected up and configured, so give yourself enought project downtime.

The workflow is a little different than we were used to previously, so this has taken a while to adapt to. The SAN can only have one Read/Write user on any one target (disk) at a time. All other users can Read only. With some help from the guys at SNS we set up the system with partitions on the RAID for each project and then further divided into application i.e. Project1-Audio1, Project1-Audio2, Project1-Video1, Project2-Audio1 etc. That way one user can be working read/write on sound design for project 1 (Project1-Audio1) another user can be working read/write on composing the score (Project1-Audio2) and a third working read/write on the video edit or grading etc (Project1-Video1). All users can have read only access to other targets (partitions) so for example if either the sound designer or composer want to bring in the latest video edit from Project1-Video1 etc.

The RAID just has active projects on, so once we have finished it is moved onto an project archive drive and backed up.

We now also have duplicate systems in each room. So all audio/video projects open identically on every system.

It's running really well so far and seems scalable in both storage size and user numbers for the future. If it ever became too limiting I'd probably opt for and EVO. The only downside I can see is the inability to have multiple users read/write access all data at any one time but that can be worked around fairly easily.
Old 20th January 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
 

What did you do in terms of software? Did you stick with the DAWs you had or switch? (I would have thought staying on Nunendo would have been preferred considering the network feature).
Old 20th January 2014
  #13
Gear interested
 

Thread Starter
We switched everthing to Cubase & Live (which we use for quickly generating remix ideas). Given the similarities between most DAWs these days we thought it would be best to get everthing on the same platforms and make time for the other producer to get his head around Cubase. We still have only 1x UAD Satallite but now have T-RackS on each workstation to substitute the staple UAD plugins we were using (LA-2A, Pultec EQ, 1176, etc). For the most part these are good enough (and at £140 per user much more affordable). Still if something isn't quite sounding right or we need some UAD only plugins, then we have the can either swap the UAD Satallite into the available workstation or just open it up in the workstation that it's currently plugged into for mixdown.

We were also editing in Premiere so made the switch to Adobe Creative Cloud. I know a lot of people are complaingin about having to subscribe to Creative Cloud now rather than buying a single product, but it's brilliant for a studio like ours that does a bit of everything. We just need a license per user and if we're sent photoshop files or illustrator files for example we can tweak them ourselves before adding to edits. Makes for very fast workflows and has expanded our service offerings from Composition/Sound Design to a more "all in" package.
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