Sorry that it has been a while. NAB had me slammed (working AND visiting the floor…meeting people I only knew online) and when I cam back I was working THREE projects: My History Channel show, a corporate video AND several videos for Sony’s P3 Playstation unveiling at E3. The History Channel show had been put on hold for 3 weeks awaiting notes, so I took these other project…and the start dates kept getting pushed. Soon not only did notes come in, but I had two projects that needed to be done NOW!. So I have been a bit busy. But things are back to normal now and I am only working on the History Channel show.

The new HD specs are HDCAM 1080p24 at 23.98 (or D5 with the same specs). They used to be 720p60 D5 at 59.94. But we are cool with the new specs…they are better. We have been discussing the various ways to go about onlining the show. Option one is to go to a Post Facility that is FCP from the ground up. High Def coming out their ears. Me uprezzing the show to 1080p24 and getting it to them to color correct with Final Touch then output to HDCAM. Option two is again, me uprezzing to 10-bit uncompressed 1080p24 and getting it to a different post facility (that also has FCP bays), output that to tape and then color correct on a DaVinci. My producer has done business with the DaVinci place for years, and the colorist is fast and good, so there is a comfort factor there.

The third option has been kicked around for a while but put on the back burner…me finishing the whole show, uprez, color correct and output. The reason that was on the back burner (at least for this show) was that all the equipment needed would cost as much as these post facilities doing the job…and you’d still need to pay me. I’d need a capture card, a high speed drive array and an HD color correction monitor. But I have now been added to the mix because when I color corrected and treated the show tease to show the post facility guys the look we were aiming for, my producer (and the colorist) both went “whoa…that’s good!” Now I find myself a serious contender for the final finish.

Now the capture card is set…I know I want a Kona 2 or LH. The monitor I want is set…the Sony PVM 14L5 with added HD SDI card. It has 800 scanlines and it 16:9 switchable. Saw it next to (above really) the Sony HD CRT at NAB and the image on both looked IDENTICAL. That is my monitor. But what about the drive array? What kind of high speed RAID will I need to work with and output Uncompressed 10-bit 1080p24 HD? This RAID was also on our radar as we wanted to have the ability to uprez and playback the show before we handed it off to either post facility we were considering for finishing the show. Both places charged for transfer time from our drives to theirs, and it worked out to be about $600 at each place….JUST to copy it to their drives. Both places use Fibrechannel drives, so we are considering Fibrechannel so that we can just plug in the drive and they can output from that. Take the $600 and put it towards the drives. But that is a penny in the bucket considering that those drives go for $8000 for between 1TB and 2TB, depending on the brand.

We have seen refirb XServes at 2TB and 3.5TB going for $4000 to $6000…which is a good deal. But they are refirbs, and I heard from several people that XServes have a 24% failure rate…thus the huge amount of refirbs on the market. We are also looking at Ciprico Media Vault 4210s, but again, $8000 for 2TB. If we had a series of shows then it would be a no brainer…the drives would pay for themselves with a few jobs. But we do 1 show a year…maybe two if they are rushed. Which has us thinking…do we really need a fibrechannel RAID for what we are doing? Can we do what we need to do with a good solid SATA Raid? DO we need the 350+MB/s that the fibrechannel offers, or can we do it with the 190-150MB/s that the SATA Raids offer. I am getting conflicting information.

It comes down to this. If I were to finish this show, and future shows with the given specs…can this be handled with a SATA RAID (Silver SATA V by Weibetech, 500P by Sonnet)? Or do I need a fibrechannel RAID like the T-16 by, get a refirb XServe RAID (do you know they weigh 100lbs? I didn’t know that) or…what? GAH!

I am also being leaned more towards because of delivery specs of the placement of Lower Thirds differ in the HD area (16:9) than they do in the SD version (4:3 or 16:9 letterboxed)…so that would mean multiple color correction passes on the DaVinci, or to go with the FCP Post house which is charging quite a bit.

ANYWAY…all that going on in my head as I also work on creating the show title graphic with Motion or AE. And take my kids to baseball practice. And pack for a move to a bigger house with more bedrooms (currently all three of my girls share a room…like the Brady Bunch…only MORE TOYS!).


Any input would be appreciated.