As I've indicated over on the software forum (here and here), I'm putting together a proposal and suggested workflow for the capture, archiving, and metadata-enriching of over 200 hours of raw documentary content. The workflow part of it, I think I can pretty much suss out, with a bit of trial and error and brain-racking. However, it's the gear end of things that needs a bit of--shall we say--illumination. I've pretty much fallen out of the loop as far as keeping up with the latest in computer technology, as I prefer to just get my work done and think less about system building and tweaking, but I've read through some of the other threads and articles here about what works as far as Premiere Pro is concerned. I'm not a n00b when it comes to computer building: I've built more than I can recall, and am completely confident in doing so, but I just don't have the focus to keep up with the technology any longer. So, I'm hoping to leverage your real-world experience and your willingness to be creative when playing with someone else's money!
Enough blather; here is some background and some parameters:
- Money is "not an object," practically speaking, but I'm not looking to go hog-wild on unnecessary gear.
- The content I've capturing and archiving is almost 100% Betacam SP footage; there are over 425 tapes in the library, constituting over 200 hours of raw content. The footage is primarily interviews, with corresponding location footage and b-roll; I would estimate the interviews to make up approximately 85% of the total content.
- The project has a couple of goals:
- Preserve the footage, which is on decaying analog Beta SP tapes. The earliest tapes go back to about 1998, and range up to this year.
- Democratize the information contained in the footage: through both DVDs and (ideally) an online, keyword-searchable library, make the content available to anyone.
- Monetize the information contained in the footage: provide uncompressed or at least edit-ready versions of the content to news organizations, educational institutions, and other producers.
- Generate produced content from the raw material: the footage will be used to create broadcast and web-distributed documentaries and other similar media projects
- I need to build two workstations, both able to capture and edit up to and including uncompressed 8-bit (maybe 10-bit?) NTSC SD. These workstations will likely never touch a single frame of HD footage of any kind. Any editing done on them will not likely be effects-laden; possible color-correction, but nothing too overwhelming.
- Workstation #1 would be the primary capture, logging, and library-injection station: it would likely not be used for any real heavy-duty "editing" (read: content assembly). It would be primarily a conduit for ingesting the analog material, cleaning it up, adding pertinent metadata, and dropping it into a shared storage appliance. It would potentially be used for encoding/generating web-format previews of the raw materials.
- Workstation #2 would be capable of all of the above, but would also be used for content assembly, e.g. editing the main documentary feature.
- Ideally, we will be able to utilize some sort of shared storage for ingest and editing, instead of nearline storage on one or both of the workstations. This is the part where I need the most input, as I'm not sure what is the best course of action to take with this particular piece of hardware. For the record, I'm not talking about working simultaneously on the same footage; I know Premiere is not really designed for a networked production environment. However, I think it should be feasible to have one workstation dumping material onto the storage system, while the other retrieves it. Basically, I want to avoid redundant copies of the captured material: ingest once, use multiple times. By my calculations, 8-bit uncompressed SD for our quantity of footage will occupy 15+ terabytes (!!!) of storage. Now, in all practical terms, the actual useable and preservation-worthy content is less than two-thirds of that amount, but we will need some sort of buffer.
- I need an I/O card for both workstations, for ingest from a BetaSP deck and output to a monitor. I'm not sure you can even get SD-only cards new any more, but I'd like to hear what folks suggest. I've worked with both Blackmagic and AJA hardware before (though older models) and have no particular preference.
- Output will be DVD, web-distributable formats, and (eventually) broadcast, though it's a long time before that is a necessity.
So, that's what I'm dealing with on this project. I'd appreciate any input on any of these aspects. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty assembling my own workstations, but I'm tempted to just go off-the-shelf or work with a systems integrator so that it's one less thing that I have to think about and then manage and support. I realize there is greater expense and less flexibility going this route, so please, convince me that that is NOT the way to go.
I thank you in advance...