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23 Mar 2023

How a global unified file system answers media workflow challenges

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3-5 Minute Read

Media workflows have rapidly changed over the past few years and continue to evolve with speed.

In pre-pandemic times, workflows seemed much simpler, though no two projects were ever identical.

A common workflow would be something similar to: media crews shooting on multiple cameras, the rushes would be downloaded on set and checked, given a colour pass, then sent to post for audio syncing and finally organised for editorial. This process would normally start on set and run long into the night so that footage would be ready for editors in the office the next day. It was a simple and effective workflow. 

Then when the pandemic came, there was simply no other choice than for everyone to work remotely. Editors especially moved en-masse away from major media centres like L.A., NYC and London.

Although we are starting to see the end of the pandemic, most of these editors aren’t coming back to the office, they want to continue working remotely, often from their new homes, nowhere near the office. So now producers who want to hold onto their best editors are looking to become more efficient with the next generation of remote workflows.  

They need solutions that provide:

  • elevated levels of security and encryption
  • reduced costs of service
  • prevention of losing editing talent
  • no compromise on speed
  • the ability to work in harmony with previous and existing workflows
  • flexibility to adapt to emerging tech and workflows

This is where we present Unify Hub Generation 2, our globally unified file system.

Unify Hub optimises media workflows for production and post-production houses, as well as every workflow that incorporates large media files.

It’s an efficient, affordable and flexible way to adapt while maintaining existing workflows, making it a long-term solution that media companies can confidently invest in. Unify Hub provides a simple and efficient way to access data globally without needing to relink media, leaving no issues on versioning whilst letting people work at the full project resolution, whether in the office or remotely. Unify Hub thrives in even the trickiest workflows: working at multi-sites remotely, having contractors in and out of the office, working in offices all over the world and more.

So how does it work?

For users working in the office, there is no change. They will continue to connect to their local storage as they normally would.

Users connecting from offsite would first connect their VPN, then mount their shared workspaces using our lightweight app, Unify Hub Connect. Through this, our OnePath service allows users to mount their workspaces via any protocol, on Mac or PC and launch their in-progress projects with no relinking, saving significant amounts of time.

Once the project is loaded, it will playback seamlessly if the VPN/Internet connection is fast enough to support the media being accessed. If not, Unify Hub Connect intelligently starts accelerating the portions of the file being accessed using block level caching, allowing the sequence to playback seamlessly after just one playback.

Unify Hub a Global Unified File System

This makes the portions of required media, at any size or resolution, available significantly faster than by downloading the entire file.

Unify Hub Connect also accelerates workflows in the field.

Let’s say you are an editor working on a mid-production location shoot in the mountains. Before heading out you would go into the office to connect to the on-premise storage using the local high-speed network to download all the files you need, manually caching them using Unify Hub Connect so they are all on your portable editing system.

This process unlocks the ability to go on location and edit all files remotely, even with minimal internet connection. Then while on location, new footage can be ingested on your workstation and will quietly upload back to your servers in the background while you work. If you missed a file or didn’t have time to cache all your files before you left, no problem, simply play through the part of the clip you need while connected to Unify Hub and the portions of the clips you need will cache to your workstation.

Unify Hub a Global Unified File System

For larger projects with multiple users, workflows can be accelerated with our portable servers.
You can easily take the storage with you to shoot in remote locations during the day where you can add new media files into the portable server whilst on site.

With an internet connection, you can send the data back to your main office, making it available to other users as soon as it's synchronised to the primary system. This solution is incredibly secure as users can host media on their own server rather than renting a third party cloud space with heavy costs as well as compromising on security by not having full control over the space in which the data is hosted.

Whether you are a one-man band or a large multinational organisation, the benefits of Unify Hub in aiding current and future media workflows are the same. You can have a server that acts as the single point of truth for your data, whilst having it connected via Unify Hub to servers that can accelerate media files all over the world, meaning everyone can work on the same content using the same file path.

Remote working doesn’t have to be complicated if you deploy the right solution. Unify Hub Generation 2 is here for the long-term, supporting your workflows no matter where you work.