Savings in Speed: Nino Leitner Conquers the Content Tsunami With Thunderbolt 3

Savings in Speed: Nino Leitner Conquers the Content Tsunami With Thunderbolt 3

G-Team members are leaders in their respective fields who use G-Technology products in their day-to-day work lives. G-Team members are compensated for their participation.

If you’ve read his bio or case study, you know that filmmaker and G-TEAM ambassador Nino Leitner doesn’t play in the shallow end of the content-shooting pool. We caught up with him just after he wrapped a commercial project in Italy and Switzerland that involved shooting on eight 4K cameras, including a Sony FS7, a Blackmagic URSA Mini, and a drone. With crews on the move between locations throughout the day, there was never time to offload from cards until he stumbled back to the hotel at night.

“When you end up using four, five, six different camera systems 12 hours a day,” Nino says, “this can easily take three to four hours in the evening, when you should actually rest and get ready for the next day. And part of why it’s so slow is because the hard drives clients give you are horrible. You’ll get some portable drive with the lowest rotation rate, and offload takes forever. We always keep a fast alternative on hand, like G-Technology’s G-DRIVE mobile Pro SSD. We do our first offload onto that, and then a second transfer onto our G-SPEED Shuttle SSD, using transfer management software to make sure every bit is accurately copied and verified. The third copy to the crappy client drive can run overnight and not waste anyone’s time. Because the difference is huge. Of course, you still have to sit there and swap cards, but the mobile PRO and Shuttle SSD transfers will take 30 minutes instead of three hours.”

Nino’s workflow story hides an increasingly common fact that continues to catch amateurs and less-experienced professionals by surprise: The content tsunami is drowning most workflows. It’s not just that RAW camera resolutions are increasing; the number of content sources is increasing, too. (“More and more and more cameras!” Nino says.) Simply editing 8K or multi-cam 4K often requires SSD-class bandwidth, but that bandwidth can’t be choked by narrow connections.

Nino’s Top Tangential Tip

Have the right attitude. If you are a people person, you will be much more successful in this industry than an antisocial person who happens to be a really good shooter. Even if the social person isn’t as talented, he or she will probably end up getting a lot more work because they can connect with people. Just be nice and open.

For example, Nino describes performing a 4K multi-cam test with some colleagues. They needed a solution that could capture in real time, but every Thunderbolt 2 product they tried saturated the connection bandwidth and choked until they dropped the camera resolutions. As soon as they tried the Thunderbolt 3-based G-SPEED Shuttle SSD, the bottleneck vanished, and the crew could capture all cameras at full resolution in real time.

And that’s only one example of how Thunderbolt 3’s doubled pipeline pays off. Nino has more.

“If you throw even a 4K project at an average computer with a normal RAID, the editor might have to convert everything into proxies, which takes a long time. You’re gonna be billed for somebody waiting for bars to move. They have to edit offline, and then convert everything to online, and then do the calibrating… It’s a lot of time that might not be necessary if you do it right from the beginning, which means using the fastest storage solution available.”

Performance also pays in areas other than Thunderbolt 3. Nino recalls an instance on his Italy/Switzerland job in which he ran off to grab some drone footage in the minutes before sunset. All he took for storage was his laptop and a G-DRIVE mobile SSD. Nino’s best practices include copying off drone footage every time the device touches down. He also uses the opportunity to scan through preview footage to make sure he got the needed shot. A slower external drive might have blown through the handful of minutes remaining, but the G-DRIVE mobile SSD, with its fast flash media and USB-C Gen 2 connectivity, completed the transfer, provided the preview, and allowed Nino enough time to squeeze in one last flight to capture more footage his critical sunset shot.

Ultimately, creatives need reliability in their storage, followed by speed and capacity. How those last two qualities are prioritized will depend on many factors. In general, though, you can add capacity a lot more easily than you can add performance. Nino brings the G-SPEED Shuttle SSD 16TB to his jobs because he knows he’s not likely to fill it in only two days of shooting. But even if he does, he can always daisy chain in more terabytes. He can’t magically widen his throughput rate once he’s off-site and deep in a job.

The combination of SSD RAID and Thunderbolt 3 provides all the performance Nino requires for his evolving, multi-cam workflow. It allows him to do more work, get more rest, seize more shots, pay less overtime, and embrace new technologies. And, of course, he’s no longer a hostage to “horrible” client drives.

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Savings in Speed: Nino Leitner Conquers the Content Tsunami With Thunderbolt 3