What are some good ("Pro?") ways of storing videos so that a team of editors can work on them?

I currently work for an eLearning company that produces medium-large quantities of instructional videos (we go through about 100gb of storage per month).

Our typical workflow to this point has been to work locally on our hard drives and then back up to a shared network drive that is connected to our wireless router via USB. Obviously this workflow is slow and tedious. What could we improve?

Currently we are considering creating a dedicated RAID array that we could connect to via Firewire. The idea behind it is that ideally we would all be working off of the same storage system, rather than ever having different versions on different machines. We need to be able to connect up to 6 desktop machines at once.

With that as background, here are my specific questions:

  1. Are there any good recommendations for large-ish storage systems? 10TB would most likely be adequate for the near future.
  2. How should we connect the computers? USB3? Firewire? Do we need special hardware to route 6+ cables to a raid array?
  3. Should we be considering software for version control and backups? We currently edit in PremierePro. So something that integrates well with Adobe would be ideal.
  • Mac or PC? Is thunderbolt an option? – Jason Conrad Jul 19 '14 at 10:16

The first thing is to separate your source assets from your projects. Source assets are the biggest things and should never change. They are generally best placed on a NAS RAID array on gigabit Ethernet or better (10G+ fiber links are nice if you can afford them, but not strictly needed). Each editor can then pull down whatever source files they need locally (or possibly just work off the NAS, though I'd recommend local pull down).

Project files on the other hand could use things like versioning and locking to prevent conflicts from forming. Project files change frequently since they store the actual editing decisions, but they are also much, much smaller than the static source files. Personally, I back these up in a portion of the same directory structure on my external, but I don't have to worry about version control since I am not in a multi-user environment.

Any decent editor should be able to reasonably easily deal with wiring up to assets via relative paths and should be able to adjust for moving the project files around provided that similar directory structures are used on each editing system.

I personally organize with a folder per project with a source folder and a project folder and a swap folder in each, though that can be switched around to have a source folder and a projects folder with sub-folders for each project within it if you prefer that organization.

I know there are also more dedicated asset management systems out there, but I have never had need of playing with them beyond some light work with Adobe Vue which I don't think is still actively maintained and wasn't really designed for handling video as I understand it.

  • Thanks - the part about separating projects and source material will be particularly helpful. We'll be looking into 10g Ethernet as well. – Charlie Weems Jul 17 '14 at 20:48
  • Editshare has some very interesting products. – Max Jul 22 '14 at 12:20

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