About Specialized Devices

There are a number of specialized devices that Final Cut Server can use. Some of these, such as the Proxies and Version devices, are configured during the Final Cut Server installation. Others, such as archive and image sequence devices, are configured manually.

Setting Up the Proxies Device

Each Final Cut Server installation has one Proxies device. Each time you upload an asset to the Final Cut Server catalog, a set of low-resolution files is created. The Proxies device is where the thumbnails, poster frames, and clip proxies are stored. These are used in place of the actual full-resolution assets whenever lower-resolution versions are sufficient. See Analyze Filter Preferences Settings for information about configuring proxy formats.

The Proxies device is a Contentbase device type. It is created at the location you specify when you install Final Cut Server. See the Final Cut Server Setup Guide for more information.

Setting Up the Edit Proxies Device

Each Final Cut Server installation has one Edit Proxies device. Each time you upload a Final Cut Pro project to the Final Cut Server catalog, you can create a set edit proxy files created with the Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) codec (default) or other available codec of your choice. These edit proxies are created in addition to the set of low-resolution files stored on the Proxies device. The edit proxy files can be used in place of the original assets when you export or check out a Final Cut Pro project.

The Edit Proxies device is created at the location you specify when you install Final Cut Server. See the Final Cut Server Setup Guide for more information. See Proxies Preference Settings for information on choosing an edit proxy device.

The Edit Proxies device is a Contentbase device type.

Setting Up the Version Device

When working with Final Cut Server assets, you may find that you need to track multiple versions of the same asset. For example, you may have several versions of a graphic that use different font settings. Final Cut Server includes a version-tracking feature, making it easy to work with multiple versions of an asset.

The Final Cut Server Installer automatically creates a Version device at the location specified for production media. For most installations, this device works well for storing your asset and production versions. You may find, however, that you need to create a device with more space to store your versions, especially if you choose to retain more than three or four versions of your assets and those assets are large video files.

If you need to manually create a Version device, the device must use the Contentbase device type. It also should not be used for any other purposes.

You specify the device used for storing the different asset and production versions in the Administration window’s Preferences pane.

To choose the version device
  1. In the Administration window’s Preferences pane, click Version Control to see the version preferences.

    Figure. Administration window showing the Preferences pane with Version Control selected to show the version preferences.
  2. Choose a device from the Version Control Device pop-up menu.

    Note: Because the device used to store versions must use the Contentbase device type, the Choose button is not available. See About Contentbase for more information.

  3. Enter the maximum number of versions that can be associated with an asset in the Version Control Limit field. When the limit is reached, the oldest versions are deleted as new versions are added.

  4. Click Save Changes.

See Preference Settings in the Administration Window for information about the preference settings in the other areas of the Preferences pane.

Setting Up an Archive Device

Archiving an asset using the Archive response makes it possible to take the asset offline but still retain a link to it if required later. When you archive an asset, its original media is archived; note that proxies and thumbnail images for the asset will still be available in the Final Cut Server catalog. Archive Devices are most useful when you have large video files that are not currently being used but are taking up disk space on a device. Archiving the asset allows you to copy it to a different device; for example, a FireWire drive or a large but slow hard disk that you can take offline. Final Cut Server keeps a link to the asset and makes it easy to restore the asset when it is needed later.

Important: The archive operation does not archive the versions that an asset might have. Only the current version is archived.

Final Cut Server supports multiple archive devices, and most devices can be set as an archive device. The following things should be considered when creating an Archive device:

  • Archive devices can use the Contentbase or Filesystem Final Cut Server device type.

  • Assets on a Contentbase device type cannot be archived unless the archive device is also a Contentbase device type. If you create one or more Contentbase device types to store assets, be sure to create an archive device that also uses a Contentbase device.

  • Archive devices are not available for regular, everyday asset storage. They are used exclusively with the Archive response.

To make a device an archive device
  1. Double-click the device in the Devices pane of the Administration window.

    The device opens in its own window.

  2. Select the Archive Device checkbox.

  3. Click Save Changes.

This device will now appear in the list of archive devices in the main window’s shortcut menu. See the Final Cut Server User Manual for more information.

Setting Up an Image Sequence Device

It is recommended that one or more unique devices be set up to hold image sequences. An image sequence device with one or more scan or production scans will help to prevent scan conflicts that may occur if a scan configured to process image sequences is paired with a file scan.

Important: A device set up to hold image sequences must be a Filesystem device.

An image sequence is a movie exported as a series of numbered image files, stored in a folder. When a folder of image files is uploaded and the user chooses to upload it as an image sequence, the user can specify the frame rate for the image sequence and a proxy video is created for the asset. When a folder of images is scanned, the user is not able to determine the frame rate for the image sequence. A scan response is required to define the frame rate of the image sequences.

For instructions on creating a device in the Preferences pane of the Final Cut Server Administration window, see Adding a Device Using the Administration Window. You can also create the device using the Device Setup Assistant. For more information, see the Final Cut Server Setup Guide.

After creating the device, it is recommended that you set up a scan to process image sequences, although that is not required. A scan that processes image sequences should be set up in the Preferences pane of the Final Cut Server Administration window. For information about setting up scans, see About Scan Responses.

Important: Be sure to inform the Final Cut Server users about where and how to upload image sequences.

About the Export Device

A user can choose to export an asset from the Final Cut Server catalog to his or her local computer. When the user Control-clicks an asset in a Final Cut Server client, an Export option appears in the shortcut menu. Choosing the Export option opens the Export dialog where the user sets the filename, destination, and optionally chooses a transcode setting, allowing the conversion of the asset to a different codec as it downloads.

Final Cut Server creates a hidden device named Export to store the transcode settings a user can choose from when using the Export option. By default, the Export device has only a few commonly used transcode settings. You can add transcode settings to the Export device in the Administration window’s Transcode Settings pane. See Assigning Transcode Settings to Devices for more information.

There are no other device settings for the Export device.

About Edit-in-Place Devices

Depending on your system configuration, you may be able to take advantage of the Final Cut Server edit-in-place feature, making using assets from the catalog easier and faster.

Why Edit-in-Place?

In most cases when using a Final Cut Server client, you must have a local copy of any assets you would like to work with on the client computer. For example, if you want to add one of the Final Cut Server assets to a Final Cut Pro project you have on the client’s computer, you need to create a copy of that asset from its device to your computer before you can add it to the project.

Using Add to Local Cache in the main window makes a copy of the asset and places it in the computer’s cache location (as specified in the Preferences window—see User-Configurable Preference Settings). In Thumbnails view, the asset’s thumbnail frame changes to a lighter color (or, in List view, the asset gets a dot next to it) after the asset has been cached. You can then drag the asset from the main window to your Final Cut Pro project, desktop, or to any other location you want to use it in.

In some cases, however, the computer you are running Final Cut Server client on may have direct access to the device that has the asset you want. In that case, you can configure the device so that you are able to directly use its assets without having to make local copies of them first. A device that can be directly accessed by a Final Cut Server client is an edit-in-place device.

Does Your System Support Edit-in-Place?

There are two common system configurations where edit-in-place devices work especially well: when the client computer is connected to an Xsan using a Fibre Channel network, and when the device is actually a hard disk directly connected to the client computer. In both cases, you should have sufficient bandwidth to be able to work in real time on the assets with no dropped frames or other low-bandwidth issues.

Important: In general, devices connected to the client’s computer using standard Ethernet or wireless connections are not suitable for use as edit-in-place devices since they may not have sufficient bandwidth to support working directly on video files. Additionally, you should never configure the startup disk of the computer you installed Final Cut Server on as an edit-in-place device.

Creating Edit-in-Place Devices

There are two methods you can use to add devices to your Final Cut Server system: using Device Setup Assistant and using the Final Cut Server client’s Administration window.

Most devices created with Device Setup Assistant do not have their edit-in-place settings configured. The exception is the Xsan device, which automatically configures its edit-in-place settings.

See the Final Cut Server Setup Guide for more information about Xsan volumes.

The only way to manually create an edit-in-place device is to create the device in the Administration window. When you create a device using the Administration window, you can configure several settings related to edit-in-place.

  • Macintosh edit-in-place URI: Enter the Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for editing media from a Macintosh client directly on the device, instead of downloading and editing it on the client. The device must also be accessible as a mounted file system from the client. The format is:
    • file:///Volumes/volumename/optionalsubfolder/

    After you enter the URI, the path will be changed to:

    • file://[localhost]/[volumename]/[optional subfolder]

    An example is:

    • file:///Volumes/MediaServer/Images/

    After entering the example above, you will see:

    • file://localhost/Volumes/MediaServer/Images

  • Windows edit-in-place URI: Enter the URI for editing media from a Windows client directly on the device, instead of downloading and editing it on the client. The device must also be accessible as a network share from the client. The format is:
    • file:////hostname/path/

    An example is:

    • file:////MediaServer/Images/