We haven't been attending BVE this week. That's because we have been testing out the hottest new storage product from LumaForge called 'JellyFish.' It's small, fast and got GigE or 10GigE tentacles to share media across clients. It is also very affordable.
Most of the shared storage solutions on the market today have not been built with Final Cut Pro X in mind. The JellyFish is different as although it will work quite happily with other NLEs such as Premiere, Resolve and Avid, it has been designed to accommodate FCPX's demanding media requirements.
The JellyFish is the smaller cousin of LumaForge's ShareStation range and we were very pleased to be able to test one out before its deployment on an important broadcast job.
The unit we tested was 24TB, with about 14 TB of usable space with the drives in a RAID. The Magic Mouse gives an idea of scale, but the box is very nearly cube shaped and is small and light enough to go in an overhead bin onboard an aircraft.
Around the back are ethernet ports for management (the black cable) and two cards on the back giving 4 GigE clients and 2 10GigE clients connections. We would imagine the JellyFish can be supplied with ports to your specification.
The unit comes with software that needs to be installed on each client and once that and a specific IP address has been set, the client should connect to the JellyFish. The unit is managed through a web browser either by one of the clients or as we were doing, by a separate GigE connected MacBook Pro.
So why all the fanfare about this unit as there are other NFS based RAIDS out there that can share media? The JellyFish has LumaForge's 'secret sauce' included which means it performs well with FCPX. Not only do you get a fast throughput, you can actually edit with libraries stored on the unit. Something that traditionally trips up other shared storage solutions.
So how fast is fast? Time to get the Blackmagic Speed Test app out. We were using a new 27" Retina iMac connected to the JellyFish with Thunderbolt via a third party 10GigE connector.
1000 MB/s read and write isn't too shabby and is more than fast enough for doing a LOT of HD multicam channels. But how about taxing the box with some very heavy lifting?
The new ProRes 4444XQ codec has a bandwidth of 200 MB/s at 4K (UHD), so how about trying out if that could work in a multicam in Final Cut Pro X? Very kindly, Sam Mestman left some demo media on the machine for us to test.
The 4K UHD ProRes 4444 XQ 4 angle multicam played as if it was HD. Skim up and down the timeline or browser, change angles with a click, all beautifully smooth without dropping any frames. (Sorry Adobe lovers for this...) Yes 4K ProRes 4444 XQ 4 angle multicam editing on an iMac. Pretty awesome and this capability will get filmmakers who shoot on high end cameras interested.
The JellyFish has been taken away and is currently being installed into an OB truck for a large quick-turnaround broadcast production next week. We will report more on how that went, but so far we have been very impressed by the new box.
A few years ago, it was said that the next big step in editing was going to be desktop shared storage. That is now here with the JellyFish. No need for rack mounted metadata controllers, fibre channel and air conditioning, it just sits on your desk and lets you and your colleagues edit together on FCPX. Fast.
BTW As this box is so new, there is an early JellyFish webpage on the LumaForge site, sign up if you are interested! If you want to know more detail, we suggest you contact Sam - sales (at) lumaforge He's going to be a busy man!
Peter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X. You can find him on Twitter as @peterwiggins or as he runs the majority of this site, you can contact him here.