INSTALLING MEDIA SERVER: UNDERSTANDING WORKFLOW
Late last year after starting with a new small ad agency, issues of collaboration and sharing assets for the small video team began to appear. I joined the team as the second editor, with the only other editor also in charge of shooting, producing, and editing everything before I joined. Sharing projects and footage became a concern as previous methods involved swapping hard drives and using AirDrop in MacOS. This could not continue to work as the agency hoped to expand the video team and footage and project sizes grew larger with more 4K content and longer sequences. When we added the third editor to the team the issue of storage and asset management were brought up again and we moved towards getting quotes from installers on the best solution for our team and company growth plans.
I. QUESTIONS TO START
The most important part of designing any storage or asset management system is identifying the workflow. Every team needs to know how the current workflow system is designed (or not) and where the pain points are, and then be willing to adopt new workflow standards as the system changes.
To start it is helpful to ask a few basic questions to identify current workflow and storage issues -
What codec are you shooting in?
What frame-rate? 
What resolution?
How many cameras/sources?
How much content needs to be online for a single project?
How long are your projects (both timeline and calendar time)? 
How long will something need to be online?
What is the delivery method?
How are you sharing files within the team?
How many clients(creatives) will need to access these files simultaneously?
II. OUR CURRENT WORKFLOW
We currently shoot at 4K QFHD (3840x2160) on the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K. We shoot at 120fps/60fps/24fps depending on the client but the way that the URSA handles high frame rate is that you set the camera’s default shooting frame rate and also specify an “off speed” frame rate so images captured at 120fps can be conformed in-camera to a 24fps ProRes file.
Using an app by AJA and documents provided by Apple you can estimate the bandwidth and capacity for those files. 
Its important to check with any production company/DIT and confirm settings but using this example you can estimate that 1 minute of ProRes 422HQ at 3840x2160 resolution, shooting 24fps, and embedding two channels of audio at 8bit, 32.KHz will equal roughly 6.35GB. With that estimation of 6.35GB/min you can roughly project how much a particular shoot will consume in capacity, both for the DIT/DP on set, and for a server when brought back for ingest.
It's important to keep in mind that this is only an estimation - and only for one camera with specific settings but it is a starting point.
A few more questions that you might need to consider -
Are you using multiple cameras? 
Are you recording externally or internally? Or both?
Do you have redundant files coming from set? 
Are you recording audio separately?
Another scenario is live production. Live productions offer different variables with additional sources like graphics, production audio, live audio, and in the case of sports replay, and official clocks.
Every production is different but I can usually expect for our bigger productions media from at least two 4K cameras, a 4K drone, additional external audio, and possibly even some RAW/jpg images from a photographer on set. For example, our latest project with these sources involved multi-day shoots and brought back 6.5TB of footage. While that's not a massive amount of data, we are still using external drives to share footage back and forth between editors and the transfer time and capacity on already full drives was an issue we needed to deal with.
Our projects are typically online for about 2 months from shoot to delivery. At the size of our agency the current method for sharing files is either via external hard drives for footage or AirDrop for project and smaller AfterEffects renders. Our delivery is varies by client, some opting for file transfers, others uploaded to sites like vimeo, or still some request physical hard drive shipments. Final renders can also vary - 1080p H264 being the flavor most are requesting, but I've started including a higher-res ProRes 422 LT .mov with some clients for redistribution and archive purposes. 
Because our workflow is so varied it makes it harder to make an exact estimation of our needs for a storage solution. Other companies may have more rigid guidelines that are easier to design storage systems and project workflows around.
III. A "STORAGE" SOLUTION
Any solution starts with storage. You may have needs for archiving, transcoding, proxy online and offline workflows — but it all begins with storage. So its important to ask questions like the ones above and use those answers to ballpark what your particular needs might be. The two factors that you are trying to identify with your questions are how much capacity and also how much bandwidth you need.
The next post will dive into the details of capacity and bandwidth and how the two define the configuration a storage solution.
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