HP RDX Video - Could HP RDX Disk based backup be right for your business

RDX - The single good solution for the Film Industry


The Motion Picture industry has come a long way from some of the best shots winding up on the cutting room floor to digital media being used for capturing a motion picture. First motion pictures were shot using 35mm film, then video tape and now SSD as the medium. The motion picture industry uses an incredible amount of removable media.

One of the most costly steps in creating a motion picture is the original shoot. The various staff, ranging from actors to cameramen to support staff, are all on set and the clock is ticking. It is important to get it right the first time and not have to re-shoot.

But, post-production is a costly process as well. Scores of post-production houses may be involved in the production of the film each adding to the process. These production houses are often small businesses that maybe contributing such elements as sound, special effects and CGI. Each one of these houses must have a copy of the film to begin their work. In the past the film was duplicated, dispersed to the various houses and the original film was archived. Sometimes not all of the original film was archived.

Today, motion pictures are shot on SSD media. SSD can hold up to about one hour of video recording. SSD media cards are not distributed to the post-production houses or used for film archive because:

  1. The SSD card holds up to two hours of video

  2. The price of a card runs between $600 - $900

  3. The film industry is not standardized on one SSD card therefore a production house may use the same SSD, but their post-production houses may not

  4. The SSD card can only archive up to 5 years

Tape Solution

Subsequently, when the SSD card is full it is removed from the camera and dumped to a hard disk medium using a proprietary card reader attached to the computer through a transfer mechanism such as USB2.0, E-SATA, or FIREWIRE800. The SSD card is then reused in the camera. The hard disk can be a device such as a PC or laptop in the field or a proprietary appliance. Then the video is transferred from the hard drive to LTO tape using specialized software. Multiple copies can be made and the LTO tape cartridges are sent to post-production houses. Additionally, archive tapes are produced. Courier service is used to distribute the LTO tape cartridges to the post-production houses. Since the cartridge has moving parts it risks damage in transit. Transfer on networks, such as dedicate T1 or the Internet, are impractical because the bandwidth is just not there.

This workflow process can all work smoothly if the post-production houses are on the same generation of LTO as the production company.  LTO tape drives are unique for each LTO tape generation. So, as the production company upgrades to a new tape generation, all post-production houses working with the production house must replace their current LTO drive with the next generation drive. This essentially creates a ripple effect across the industry in terms of tape drive upgrades.
Draw backs to this process are that:

•   LTO drives are relatively expensive
•   Each tape generation (capacity) requires a unique tape drive, there is no flexibility to
•   Video must be first transferred to hard drive media before being loaded onto tape cartridges
•   One size LTO tape cartridge must be used across the industry no matter what capacity is needed
•   The LTO tape cartridge has moving parts and risks damage in transit

RDX Solution

RDX removable disk technology is an ideal solution for this application. Steps can be reduced in the workflow, compatibility is ensured among generations, costs can be reduced and in-transit damage can be minimized.

Workflow: The files are loaded on the hard drive of the computer from the card reader.  Since the RDX dock appears to your computer system just as another hard drive, files can be loaded directly on the RDX cartridge through drag and drop. Multiple copies can be easily made by swapping cartridges and dragging and dropping, no special software is required. Different size cartridges can be used as called for using the same dock, doing away with the need to match dock to disk generations eliminates the need to purchase new RDX docks and also removes the ripple effect across the film production industry.

The hard drive within the cartridge automatically locks in place getting rid of moving parts that can be damaged in transport. Consumer external disk drive cartridges have moving parts as do tape cartridges. They are not rugged as the RDX cartridges are. From here the ruggedized cartridges can be distributed to the post-production houses via courier or overnight transport such as FedEx with no worry of damage.

As RDX disk drive capacities increase there is no need to replace the RDX dock as there in replacing the LTO tape drive. The initial investment for an RDX dock typically is at a minimum 1/10 the price of a tape drive. The production company can send different size cartridges as called for to the post-production houses. Today, RDX Disk cartridges capacities’ run up to 1TB. Additional generations are to be released this year.

RDX Advantages

  • Reduced work flow – take directly from card reader to RDX cartridge and ship from there

  • Multiple copies are easily made directly from the computer hard drive with drag and drop with no special software
    Adaptable to different size cartridges to fit the need; All RDX drives can read any generation of cartridge, docks are forward and backwards compatible

  • High capacity (1TB today with new capacities coming out multiple times a year)

  • Superior TCO over the life of the product; one time investment in a dock, any RDX cartridge capacity is compatible

  • A dock is typically at a minimum 1/10 the cost of an LTO tape drive for similar performance and capacity – even greater cost differential for newer generation LTO drives 

  • A consumer external hard drive and tape cartridges do not have the ruggedness of an RDX cartridge – moving parts keep them from being a good mechanism to ship 

  • Rugged for courier for overnight delivery services such as FedEx 

  • Archival capability – 30+ years