In this example, we’ll consider a production hub in one location sharing work-in-progress with a second hub in a different country. The tricky part is sharing and versioning live work-in-progress. Marquis has a concept called ‘versions’, which is a smart way of reading and writing shared project work-in-progress to on-premise or in-cloud storage. It’s clever in that once the first project version has been written, an active project version history is created, which ensures no media is replicated – even if the project is being worked on in more than one location.
Versions enables users to be able to navigate back through the version history. By not replicating media, it also means storage is used extremely efficiently. This is a feature of Marquis’s Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro products. It enables multiple production centres to efficiently share the same work-in-progress. It’s also a great way to protect work-in-progress for disaster recovery and business continuity purposes.
In Avid production systems, it’s extremely difficult to securely synchronise ISIS/NEXIS or NEXIS in-cloud shared production systems. If productions can overcome this problem, then two production centres can theoretically work on the same production. Isn’t the answer pretty simple? Just copy the file out of the source NEXIS and file accelerate it to the target NEXIS? However, a policy operated by most major studios is that production data cannot be ‘at rest’ outside of the NEXIS systems – if the data is at rest, it offers a point of interception.
Additionally, how do you know what to send? What makes sense to the production workflow at the other end? Marquis has developed a service called Fotonflite, which has suite of plug-ins for all kinds of professional storage technology, including Avid shared storage systems. The Fotonflite service connects as a plug-in within a number of Marquis applications. With Workspace Tools, for example, the application can run analytics on the source NEXIS to scan for workspace changes. Any changes detected are securely encrypted and robustly transmitted to the remote system, then decrypted and written to the remote workspace.
This has some real business benefits. It’s operationally seamless, the system intelligently transmits the changes automatically and the transmission window is small because only changes are sent. So, the synchronisation could be every 30 minutes on a fast network or perhaps overnight on a slower inexpensive network.
Disaster recovery and business continuity
Another very topical subject is that of disaster recovery and business continuity. With widescale use of higher resolution files, it may not be possible to recover a large post-production system to meet contractual deliverables, since the baseline recovery could be weeks or months. For many organisations, this may represent an uninsurable risk.
Conventional DR management solutions (even using the fastest networks and storage technology) offer poor recovery speeds, especially with systems such as Avid NEXIS because the backup is a monolithic. So, the whole Avid monolithic workspace is backed up but the whole workspace must be recovered to start production again – this recovery process can take weeks or more.
There’s actually only one metric that counts – how fast can I get the most business-critical projects back into production? It needs to be hours, not weeks or months. What if disaster happens and you can’t access your facility but have a business-critical programme delivery deadline? By combining Marquis solutions, analytics and versions, you can VPN into the on-premise backup storage or, given permissions, access cloud storage and remotely navigate into the business-critical project. There, you can recover the latest version of the project, or even an individual bin from within the project, and start production again. The backup contains the entire project version history, which can also be written to cloud or local storage. So, the priority of what is recovered first is a business and production priority, not an endless wait to save your business.
Combining Marquis Broadcast solutions enables producers to easily deploy distributed productions using conventional production tools. The use of analytics ensures both storage and networks are utilised to the upmost efficiency. Disaster recovery and business continuity can be inherently built into the process at minimal costs. Using Fotonflite provides ‘always in-flight’ security and transmission efficiency, to help productions speed between different centres. These enable simple, cost effective and predictable extended workflows for those producers who wish to access creative pools of Avid and Adobe production talent.