Interview with Sam Mestman of Lumaforge and FCPWorks

High-Performance Shared Storage for Media Professionals

Same Mestman of Lumaforge

Sam Mestman, CEO of Lumaforge and founder of ‘We Make Movies’

Interview: Sam Mestman

Sam Mestman is the Founder of We Make Movies, the world’s first community-funded production company. He is also the CEO of movie technology company Lumaforge, maker of the ShareStation, a shared storage platform optimized for media and entertainment that is changing the way post professionals collaborate across the world.

As a professional editor and colorist, he has worked for Apple, ESPN, Glee, and Break Media (to name a few), and has edited or colored hundreds of shorts, features, web series, and probably every other type of content you can think of. He is also the architect behind some of the largest FCPX integrations in the world, including Focus, the world’s first Studio Feature edited with Final Cut Pro X.

You can find Sam at:

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In this interview, Sam discusses

  • Why Lumaforge has joined the Tao Colorist Newsletter
  • Sam, the filmmaker (who needs to make a living)
  • Lessons learned from working with Build 15 of the RED camera
  • Building a career around RED-FCP 7 workflows
  • Designing cost-efficient data-intensive workflows
  • Moving from Avid to FCP7 / Apple Color
  • Managing the transition from FCP 7 to FCP X
  • Moving from Apple Color to DaVinci Resolve
  • The FCP X / DaVinci Resolve workflow
  • Working with camera original media (and bypassing transcodes)
  • Removing technical barriers to creative endeavors
  • Getting started with LumaForge
  • How storage problems are non-obvious
  • The birth of LumaForge within 4K workflows (on FCP X)
  • Shared Storage and ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ behaviors
  • Why shared storage designed for corporations  doesn’t work for media files
  • The quest to end ‘the spinning beachball’ after pressing ‘play’
  • Solving problems on the feature film ‘Focus’ on FCP X with camera originals in shared storage
  • The LumaForge prototype
  • 84 streams of 4K across four machines
  • Using off-the-shelf components, as simple as possible
  • The responsiveness of ShareStation and Jellyfish solutions
  • Transfer speeds of Thunderbolt and Ethernet, Mac vs PC
  • Delivering high speeds to multiple simultaneous users
  • The difference between serving media to one client vs. multiple clients
  • Not all SSDs are created equal
  • ShareStations as giant Fusion drives
  • Sam as the end-user, solving problems he’s having in the real world
  • How ShareStations are pre-configured (SMB / NFS)
  • LumaForge and Avid workflows
  • High-performance FCP X and Resolve shared storage
  • Storage designed to sit next to the creative, quietly (or rack-mounted)
  • Dealing with drive failures
  • Why LumaForge is different than other shared storage solutions
  • Previewing the Jellyfish / Wrestlemania Case Study
  • Conclusion

This interview is part of an on-going interview series with the movers, shaker, and thinkers involved in the field of professional color grading for moving images. When I have new episodes to release, they are released on Tuesdays. To be notified you may follow me on Twitter (@patInhofer), via our RSS feed, and on iTunes.

You can find more interviews here: interview series homepage.

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