So I ignited a bit of a firestorm on social media yesterday with a simple tweet. With Adobe Premiere, you cannot have two editors open the exact same project at the exact same time to work together. Premiere Pro has no way to merge the information between the two editors so whomever saves the project last will overwrite the work the other person has done. For this reason, even though we run a shared storage system for all our media, we always keep our projects on the local computer. The editor has total control of the project and if it needs to be shared, they create a “B” version of the same project. This ensures nobody screws up and overwrites someone else’s work.
Well along comes Studio Network Solutions with a simple way for two editors to open the exact same project at the exact time with no fear of one person overwriting the other’s work. Makes it super easy for two editors to work together if need be or for a Producer to simply open a project for review on a second workstation while the editor keeps working. They employ file locking via their EVO ShareBrowser software.
Ok, here’s the EVO ShareBrowser on Edit Workstation 3. It’s an iMac running OS X Yosemite. (click on the images to make them larger) Along the left column you can see both the EVO storage (we broke it into four partitions) along with some other storage we have on the network and local. I’ve already highlighted the Premiere Pro Project file which is sitting on EVO 1 and ready for edit.
I launch the project from the Browser and you can see what happens below. The EVO ShareBrowser has automatically placed a lock on the project file. It’s an open lock because I launched it first from this system so Edit 3 has control of the project file.
Now I go over to our Edit 1 Workstation. It’s a Dell T5500 Precision running Windows 7. There’s that exact same project file on EVO 1 only here you can clearly see the lock is closed AND I can clearly see that Edit 3 has control of the lock.
I want to see that project anyway so I double click to launch. In case I missed the lock icon, the EVO ShareBrowser tells me right away that the project is being used elsewhere and I can only run in Read Only Mode.
I click Yes to Continue. You can see that the Lock is now Red reminding me that I do not have write control of the project, but there’s the exact same project open on the Edit 1 system at the exact time it’s running on Edit 3.
So what can I do now? I can edit, I can make notes, I can simply watch and review, I can log, I can do anything I would normally do with Premiere EXCEPT save that exact same file name. See the EVO will prevent that since the project file is locked. If you forget this and simply click on “Save” this prompt pops up. But I can go ahead and “Save As” and simply give the project on Edit 1 a new extension to the name. You can see the Edit 1 has control of the new “B” project file. At this point if we want to merge the two projects together, the editor in Edit 3 would be able to import and merge the changes between Edit 1 and Edit 3. Yes this needs to be done manually, but it adds another level of efficiency that we haven’t had to this date.
Why? The file locking removes the fear that we might accidentally overwrite someone else’s work while they’re working. When keeping the files local on each workstation, sometimes you have to go to that workstation, copy the file (maybe turn on the machine if it’s not on) and then take that file to your local workstation to start editing. This makes absolutely sure nobody will accidentally overwrite your work, but it can also be a bit of a pain.
With this file locking system that the EVO ShareBrowser provides, we are immediately switching our workflow with our project files now living directly with the media on the EVO server. If a secondary editor joins on to a project, they can simply just open the project where the editor 1 is at this very moment and start right into the edit with a “B” project. It’s a small thing, but we’re loving this new wrinkle in the workflow. Oh and editors can request the project files be unlocked allowing another person to take over by simply messaging across the EVO network.
This is by no means Adobe Anywhere or Avid workflow, but it’s a nice small step forward in efficiency. This project locking feature can be applied to as many project types as we need including After Effects, Photoshop, ProTools and more. For us it’s a pretty cool step forward to be able to have the project files out and easily accessible for the entire shop rather than locked on each computer system. I’m hoping soon we’ll get to have the feature of Anywhere in a much more scaled down feature set for just in use in a local shop rather than the big cloud architecture now supported.