PolarisUNIVERSAL CITY, CA—At an all-day event here, Media Distributors, a leading provider of services, systems, and products for professional audio and video production, demonstrated new tapeless workflow solutions for the professional video production industry. The company demonstrated several systems with tapeless cameras and held sessions with leading digital workflow experts that discussed the aesthetic and economic benefits of going tapeless.

The company also unveiled new video workflow systems for production and post-production customers that offer the lowest price points for what are enterprise-class workflow and storage products:  Polaris RAID, an affordable RAID storage solution, and the Fusion Drive, a hybrid recorder/asset management system that is a  cost-effective tapeless workflow solution.

Media Distributors announced that leading post/VFX company Point360 adopted a tapeless workflow for its newly opened new media division, based on use of the Polaris RAID,  and the Fusion Drive.  According to Media Distributors chief engineer Tony Cahill, Point360 came to them, saying they were opening a new division for new media and wanted a shared storage environment. “We said, how about a way to manage content, move it to a RAID-based secondary tier of near-line storage and then be able to move it to offline storage?”

Ultimately, Media Distributors installed an Archion Alliance Pro with 36 terabytes as the primary storage unit; and the Polaris RAID for the near-line storage. “The Polaris RAID costs $12,000 for 24 terabytes,” explains Cahill. “It became very economical to go this way.”

Media Distributors’ own Constellation software completed the system. “With Constellation, we can automatically move and migrate the projects from shared storage to the Polaris RAID, let it be available for online requirements for three to six months and then get it out of the system completely,either by purging it or moving to an LTO4 drive,” says Cahill. “And that all happens automatically.”

Cahill notes that this tapeless workflow isn’t just appropriate for big facilities. “Shoulder High Productions is a one-man shop,” he points out. “And we’ve set them up with a very similar process, because they have the same requirements and the same issues. That’s where scalability comes into play.”

At the event, Media Distributors also showed Archive Station, a system that takes any type of tapeless media (from cameras as disparate as the RED, Panasonic P2 or Sony EX-3) and clones that to up to three different hard drive locations. Cahill notes that they also do a fingerprint on the content to make sure it’s an exact clone. “Then we also create a proxy of that video so it becomes searchable within Constellation and you can start reviewing it on the Archive Station,” he says. “In addition, we also simultaneously archive it to a BluRay disk and an LTO4 tape.”

Media Distributors’ Line 1 Media division will market both the Polaris RAID and Fusion Drive.  Polaris RAID will be offered to production customers that require large-scale storage for video and effects workflow.  The Fusion Drive enables video post-production professionals to deliver high-end HD video editing and effects in a system that, at just under $10,000, sells for considerably below other HD tape-based recording system.

“The tapeless workflow environment is now embraced by more production customers everyday, and we are expanding our suite of products and services for the widest possible range of users for storage, asset management, and end-to-end workflow,” said Steve Klein, CEO of Media Distributors.  “We built our business, in its first decade, on serving the film and recording media needs of customers and in our second decade, we are expanding to deliver products and services for the tapeless workflow revolution.”