4:4:4 for all

26th August, 2008

Being an Apple Solutions Expert and an early adopter of Final Cut Pro for HD broadcast work, On Sight's HD LAB was possibly the first professional facility to use Final Cut Pro as a HD editing platform.

Final Cut Studio 2 is now used for HD conforming. Due to a surge in demand for HD FCP projects, On Sight has been exploring ways in which to improve efficiency, ensuring that it can cater for the increasingly complex needs of clients.

Over a period of 18 months, On Sight conducted considerable research and development with the aim of improving uncompressed HD workflows in a HD Video and DPX file-based environment.

On Sight’s aim was to provide shared storage for up to eight seats of FCP working on single or multiple uncompressed HD projects. Having more than one operator working simultaneously on a project is common practice, however, On Sight was trying to achieve a first by enabling all operators to be able not only to work in uncompressed 4:4:4, but also to share media from the same project simultaneously in real time.

Such a configuration would enable clients to harness the power of multiple systems and, through processing power, reduce the time taken to perform tasks such as conforming and rendering uncompressed HD. At the heart of the project was Xsan, which was chosen to provide the management and control of access to the SAN.

This decision was made due to the flexibility, performance and scalability it offers. Working closely with Quad Logic Systems of Bristol to carefully configure Xsan, On Sight is now operating with four simultaneous streams of 4:4:4 dual link and two streams of 4:2:2 uncompressed 10-bit HD.

On Sight is the first company to utilise a SAN system in this way, offering a true file-based solution while not using affinities to achieve speed and bandwidth.

To achieve similar levels of performance in the past would have required considerable capital investment. Working with Apple and other key partners, On Sight has now pioneered an affordable alternative.

This unique Xsan solution enables On Sight’s clients to share expensive capital and human resources. By ganging multiple Macs on a single project, render and conform times are considerably reduced. The conforming of a 90min HD project, which previously took two days, can now be completed in two hours.

This is an example of just one of the new ways in which On Sight is helping clients improve the technical elements of their projects.

Says managing director Simon Craddock: “What our facility offers is unique in that we can help clients fill in any technical gaps, while leaving the creative elements firmly in their hands.”