4K Video – Show me the Storage!

If Jerry had been an IT manager instead of a sports talent agent in the movie, Jerry Maguire, he probably would have been screaming “show me the storage” instead of the money. Money is a major part of storage selection decisions for broadcast and movie producers, and now with ultra-high definition 4K video format and multi-camera sequences, enormous content storage challenges are created. In this BlogBytes, we will examine key storage decision criteria that video producers and storage managers in the media and entertainment industry must consider and how LTO-7 technology and the Linear Tape File System (LTFS) can help save, protect and make valuable content available.

Giant Storage Requirements

An increasing amuont of video productions are being shot in the 4K, ultra-high definition (UHD) format.  According to Wikipedia, the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) 4K resolution standard has a resolution of 4096 × 2160 pixels and could be referred to as 2160p in the same vein as other standards like 480p and 1080p. Therefore, UHD requires about twice the storage as the 1080p HD resolution.  It is estimated that one hour of 4K video requires about 110GB of digital storage. With multi-cameras, many takes and locations, the amount of raw footage can build to large Kong-size quantities. Content is valuable not only for the current project, but also for repurposing in future ventures; therefore, all of the raw footage, iterations and final cuts must be preserved and protected.

As reported in a digitalcinemareport.com  article, Bad Santa 2, the recent sequel to the holiday comedy Bad Santa, was directed by Mark Waters (Vampire Academy, Mean Girls) and shot by Theo Van de Sande ASC (Blade, Cruel Intentions, Wayne’s World) with three Panasonic VariCam 35 4K cinema cameras. Van de Sande said, “Using the dual recording function of the camera, I record both 4K and 2K files. The 4K data is immediately stored on LTO tape drives for later use.”

To address new content creation needs, LTO-7 tape stores up to 6TB of data (uncompressed) and is a highly reliable digital storage technology.

Time and Money

A reliable high-capacity digital storage technology is an important ingredient for video content protection. Being able to save time and money is an added bonus for businesses and IT managers.

Knickerbockerglory TV, an independent TV production company in London, England, creates multiple productions including documentaries, comedy series and reality TV.  As noted in a recent case study, one of their documentaries generates 3TB of raw footage per episode, which grows quickly to 90TB of content. This large amount of digital content makes the storage and editing process a difficult and time consuming task. Knickerbockerglory turned to a solution that combined LTO tape and LTFS technology to solve their challenges. Ola Olowu, Edit Facility Manager, stated, “previously a conform of 3TB could take up to 6 hours, but with [the solution] it only takes 2.5 hours – giving us more than 50% savings in time which equates to money.”

Protecting massive amounts of video content requires reliable digital storage with huge capacity that is easy to use.  The answer: LTO technology and LTFS.