Spring Tech

Studio Network Solutions Develops Nomad Platform for EVO Storage Server

If you’re used to being in an office and editing from a computer with high-speed shared storage, then working on those projects from home can be a challenge. Working remotely from your primary storage server may require copying huge files at internet speed, which could take days over slow connections. In light of recent headlines, you may be imminently faced with that reality and wondering how to shift operations to a remote workforce. Luckily, if you’re using ShareBrowser and you find yourself needing to work remotely, your EVO storage server is already doing something that’s about to help you out in a big way.

Studio Network Solutions (SNS) started brainstorming what things could accelerate on the roadmap to most quickly help customers in the event they’re suddenly required to work on editing projects from home. The company’s goal was to identify and release something as quickly as possible that could help the greatest number of EVO users during this pandemic crisis.

SNS has now built something and have made it available immediately, free to all EVO customers. The product is named SNS Nomad — for on the go, work-from-anywhere, remote workflow.

What is it?
Nomad can help you repurpose your existing ShareBrowser preview files into proxy files for offline editing. These proxy files are much smaller versions of your source media files, and therefore easier to use for remote work. They take up less space on your computer, take less time to copy, and they’re easier to manage. You can edit with these proxy files, and after you’re finished putting the final touches on your production, your NLE can export a master file using the full-quality, high resolution source files.
You may not know this, but when you’re previewing a clip in ShareBrowser’s web app, what you’re seeing is a very compact, low resolution “preview” version of the original file. Your EVO has been creating these previews for you as you add media to it, and these files naturally have a much smaller file size than their original counterparts. These files were created in a format specifically for ShareBrowser.

Nomad is a simple utility that runs on your Mac or Windows system to collect and locally download any or all of those preview files that EVO has already created. Why would you want to download them? To use these smaller files working from home, or any other convenient location. This can vastly reduce transfer time and use less storage space on the computer you’re planning to take with you.

What does it do?
Nomad is intended to be run on any computer that’s connected to EVO. SNS created it to help you with new projects and existing projects. (It is probably going to be most effective when you can prepare to be remote, though it can also be useful if you wake up one morning and find that your team has been asked to work from home.)

When you run the tool, you give it a source and destination. The source can be either a folder on a share, or a Premiere Pro project file. The destination is a folder on your local computer. It gathers a list of all media files in the folder (recursively) or project, and then either downloads the proxy for each file or downloads the original file, depending on how you configure it.

Here’s how you use it:

  • Install and run Nomad on your computer.
  • Select from the source media locations that exist on your EVO.
  • Select a destination on your computer to download proxies or original media.
  • Answer a few prompts that Nomad asks you.

Nomad then gathers the corresponding proxies (or original source files) and places them onto your computer in a path structure that mirrors that of the source location.

You will, of course, need a connection to your EVO to do this, and you will need permission to the source locations. If you’re already using ShareBrowser and you have a VPN to EVO (or remote connection software like TeamViewer), then you’re already steps ahead for working remotely. Those things will be helpful for continuity as you work through your team’s remote/distributed workflow, so if you don’t have a VPN or other remote access software set up already you may want to get that prepared just in case.

This utility has one more trick up its sleeve. If you give it a Premiere Pro project in step 2, it will read the project file and copy to your computer all available proxies for every asset used in that project. If it can’t find a proxy file for a particular asset, it will attempt to download the original, by default. Consequently, this means that if there are no preview proxies, what you’ll get is a local copy of all the original sources.

What do I do after that?
If you’re building a new project, you can create it using the proxy files downloaded to your computer by Nomad.

If you have an existing project and you’ll be substituting these newly collected files, you can choose to attach or relink them. Which application you’re using will help determine which method to use. For example, if using Adobe Premiere, using the attach proxies function will associate the proxy files generated by the Nomad with the Premiere source media. If working with Apple Final Cut Pro X, you may want to relink from the source to the proxy media created by the Nomad.

What doesn’t it do?
So why does it matter that these proxy files were created specifically for ShareBrowser? Those proxy files were created by default to be ultra lightweight, so they may not make the best proxies for editing, at least in their current form. For example, ShareBrowser preview proxies default to two audio channels, which may not match up with the audio channels of the source file in your sequence. However, if you frequently use footage with a range of audio channels in your projects, you can change the default transcode settings on the Indexer & Proxies page of your EVO in the proxy transcoding preset.

How can I get it?
Click this link to our knowledge base for the latest information about acquiring Nomad. SNS will also post up-to-date information on how to use it, what’s fixed/broken, etc. on that KB article.

Can I use this if I don’t have an EVO?
This won’t be of much use if you don’t have your projects and media on an EVO. It’s precisely the things already done by EVO in the background—and our ability to do something useful with that information—that make this valuable for lighter-weight remote on-the-go use cases

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