On-Set with DIT Rich Roddman – Talking High Performance Shared Storage

A Tao Colorist Newsletter Sponsor Case Study

DIT Rich Roddman

Rich Roddman is a professional DIT and Colorist, based in Tampa, Florida.

Rich Roddman, C.S.I. is a highly experienced and talented DIT and colorist working out of  his own SilverBox Studios in Tampa, Florida. He’s been a good friend of the Tao since I met him in Orlando in 2013. I’ve always been impressed with his professionalism and his dedication to making his DIT craft as frictionless as possible (a big deal for on-set professionals).

Earlier this year LumaForge reached out to me to be a sponsor on our weekly Tao Colorist Newsletter. As part of my due diligence, I helped Rich and LumaForge team up for a very data-intensive, quick-turnaround, multi-editor live event that Rich was about to do for Wrestlemania.

This story is about how Rich teamed up with LumaForge—and his experience using their Jellyfish shared storage solution. He ended up keeping the Jellyfish for an entire week, testing it on three very different jobs: a 4K Sony F55 multi-camera “Behind the Scenes” shoot; a Phantom Flex and Arri XT product shoot; and a RED 5K .r3d direct response shoot.

It’s an interesting look at the concerns and challenges of a professional DIT and how the Jellyfish may have found an unexpected niche.

How a Routine Dinner Led to a ‘Shared Storage’ Case Study

Just before NAB 2016, I was having dinner with Rich Roddman. His DIT work brings him to Orlando fairly regularly and we try to get together when he’s in town. At this particular dinner, Rich was a little anxious about an upcoming gig for a live Wrestlemania event.

Rich Roddman at stage level for Wrestlemania in April 2016

Rich needed to simultaneously offload, archive and transcode (4) Sony F55s and (2) Canon C300 Mark II’s for a Behind the Scenes camera crew… and finish before the lights were turned off on him.


Rich expressed concern about managing the data flow for a team of documentary cameras

This Wrestlemania gig was going to be very demanding. He needed to offload multiple cameras, simultaneously, for the Behind the Scenes team. At the same time, he needed to transcode the camera original footage to hand off to the editorial team and he needed to make multiple backup copies for archival and safety purposes.

Rich was about to operate outside his comfort zone and he was a little anxious about it.

A short time earlier, LumaForge introduced me to their portable Jellyfish high-performance shared storage system

Based on what Rich was telling me about the demands of this gig, I though the Jellyfish sounded like a great solution for him. And since I really wanted to get someone to verify that this new sponsor of my Newsletter was legit, I asked if he’d like me to hook the two of them together?

Maybe I could get Rich to find out if the Jellyfish was for real? Or if I should be worried about my new Sponsor?

Rich agreed. And after a few emails, LumaForge was onboard and sent Rich a demo unit to use. Interestingly, the LumaForge team hadn’t really considered DITs like Rich as a target market. They were so focused on solving post-production problems, they were as curious about Rich’s feedback as Rich was anxious about solving his multi-camera live event problem.

After the event, Rich and I spoke on the phone… and his demeanor was unmistakable

From 90 miles away I could hear his grin through his words, “Patrick, I wrapped before the grips! That NEVER happens… especially with as many cameras as I was offloading. Even the camera crew was asking me how the heck I was working so quickly!”

For a DIT that is to-the-moon praise, indeed.

He told me had two more jobs that week and LumaForge was letting him hold on to the gear to test out—one was a Phantom job and the other a 5K RED shoot. Shortly after Rich sent his demo unit back to LumaForge, they sent Rich a questionnaire about his experience.

What follows is Rich Roddman’s own words about his experience using Jellyfish in multiple different on-set jobs

And in case you’re wondering, Rich called me this week to let me know he’s getting ready to pull the trigger on buying one of these units. That, more than anything, makes me feel good about having LumaForge as a Tao Colorist Newsletter sponsor. Enjoy reading the details of Rich’s experience!

What made you feel like you needed shared storage on set?

As a DIT I am always looking to improve workflows for speed and data safety while on location. Normally you are one of the last to leave the set with everyone waiting for you to finish. Anything that can speed up the process while maintaining the integrity of the media is worth exploring; it makes me look good and I hate being the reason anyone has sit around and wait.

What were you worried about with the various shared storage systems you had seen?

When I first looked into working with shared storage systems the two things that immediately stood out were the general size of the systems and the cost. They were designed to be installed into post houses and not be moved. They weighed 80-100 pounds and used great amounts of power and still were quite fragile for working day after day on-set and moving around to different locations. Then I added the purchase price of the system into the equation and there was almost no ROI

Rich's DIT cart, ready to rock for Wrestlemania

Rich’s DIT cart, ready to rock for Wrestlemania. The Jellyfish is the silver unit on the top shelf behind the keyboard. (click to open full size in a new tab)

What was the reason you were always the last one to leave on set?

After 12, 14, sometimes 16 hours the only words you want to hear from the AD’s mouth is “That’s a wrap!” It has the same effect as “Start your engines” at a car race; it means the shoot is over and everyone sprints to pack up and go home.

Except for the DIT.

There is always footage that’s sitting in the camera and has to be backed up and processed. Depending on what the project specs require, you’re usually working away as all those around you pack up and say their goodbyes. Rarely do you beat out the grip & electric department—and then, only if they have a full truck to pack up and the director hasn’t been doing a continuous roll throughout the day (which nowadays, happens all the time).

One might think, “What’s the big deal? It’s just hard drives and data?” but someone still must copy and process it. And that someone is me, the DIT.

What was the workflow you had in mind when preparing for this Wrestlemania job?

To quote Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part” and as a DIT you are always waiting on one of two things:

  • 10-20 minutes for files to transfer from the card
  • 30 minutes for transcoding for editorial

And always… you’re only doing one of those things at a time before moving on to the other task

I thought, there has to be some way of multitasking. But with bus powered drives (which clients always use for delivery) and a single computer almost any solution that multi-tasked for me, slowed down the process—or worse, corrupted the media… which is completely unacceptable.

So I wondered why there can’t be a Raid 5 type system that I can connect multiple computers into so I can offload media and at the same time transcode media with other computers, allowing me to remove the waiting time for starting the next card? I just hadn’t found a system that met my on-set needs.

Why was preventing you from executing that workflow in the real world?

The combination of single drive enclosures with computers running background tasks made using my existing gear impractical. And the robust shared storage systems I looked into were too expensive and fragile to justify bringing into the field. Trying to create my own system opened the door for media corruption.

When Patrick mentioned the Jellyfish to you, what were your concerns?

The LumaForge Jellyfish hard at work

The LumaForge Jellyfish hard at work at WrestleMania

The first concern was: Is this going to work as advertised?

Being able to copy and work from a single raid using multiple computers in the field seems like a simple concept but none of the major drive companies were doing anything close to that—not while also maintaining my data integrity, minimizing latency between computers and having the physical SAN being jostled about.

Then I was worried that I’d need a degree in IT to set it up. But once we had the Jellyfish up and running, that concern fell to the side quickly. A mere mortal can set this up. 

The LumaForge Jellyfish hard at work

Rich’s DIT cart is packed and ready for shipping. The Jellyfish is on the top shelf of the cart.

My next question was: Could the Jellyfish take the ground and pound of location shooting? Not only do I have to deal with airline weight limitations but what about setting up on a sea wall or in an airplane hanger? None of the locations are ideal for hard drives but the Jellyfish didn’t seem to care. It fired up every time and over 10TBs of media sitting on it’s drives continued to scream as 5K R3D files moved across its cables and connectors.

What was your setup across your week with Jellyfish (Wrestlemania, Phantom, RED)? 

The system we were using allowed us to have 3 computers running on the 10gb ethernet connections at the same time. This gave me a variety of hardware options. The basic setup was MacBook Pros ingesting the media and a New Mac Pro running DaVinci Resolve for processing and render.

The equipment we had with the Jellyfish was consistent for all of the jobs we tested it on.  Two Apple MacBook Pros 15” and a new Mac Pro 6-core with 64GB of Ram and the D700 Graphic cards for more GPU processing power with Resolve.

How much media was passed through/how much transcoding, etc.?

For WrestleMania our main concern was ingesting all the footage from the 6 cameras during the 5-6 hour event (from the time the gates opened). We were shooting 4K XAVC on four Sony F55s plus two Canon C300 Mark II’s and there was some transcoding involved but it was not a priority for the evening. Our main concern was getting all the footage backed up before the venue turned the lights out.

Within that 7-hour window, we created and copied over 4 TB of media. I was able to walk out on time with the rest of the crew!

That following Tuesday we were working with the Phantom Flex and Alexa XT offloading both .cine files and ARRI Raw files, then transcoding them to ProRes LT 1080p. The schedule had only one camera working at a time so I only needed to set up one laptop along with the Mac Pro to the Jellyfish.

We created a little over 2TB between the two cameras which sounds like a lot of data but in reality, with these codecs there was not a lot of footage recorded time wise. Again the Jellyfish had me waiting on new media instead of the camera department waiting on my transfers to finish. The camera department was surprised how fast I was returning cards and asking for more.

That weekend was the infomercial shoot using the RED and 5K footage of R3D Raw media. Once again we deployed two laptops and a new Mac Pro. One laptop to ingest the new 5K footage, a second to playback 5K footage that was shot 2 months prior (showing Before shots of the guests being interviewed).

And the Mac Pro was creating h.264 1080p files with timecode burn-ins for the post house, while the rest was going on.  We created just under 3TBs that day with another 4TBs loaded into the project for on-set playback.

What was the most real world bandwidth you were able to pull across the various computers at a given time?  How much were you taxing the system?

LumaForge Jellyfish simultaneous transfer speeds

In a quick moment of ‘downtime’, Rich did a quick test of Jellyfish’s bandwidth on two laptops. (click to open full size in a new tab)

To be honest, once everything was setup and running smoothly it was a real world production so testing our speed took a back burner. But there was one moment at WrestleMania where we had to offload 3 SxS pro cards at the same time. Each with a 110-115 GB of 4K Sony XAVC media on them.

With the two laptops and the one Mac Pro, 3 cards were offloaded and had a 64bit checksum run in under 9 minutes.

That’s over 330Gb in less that 9 minutes. It is truly a game changer.

What sort of “a-ha” moments did you have?  Did your workflow change at all from Job 1 to Job 3?

Each project presented its own version of an “a-ha” moment.

Working at WrestleMania
When wrap was finally called we had 6 cameras show up with 8 cards (2 they meant to send back earlier) yet within the hour (and before the camera team had even finished packing up their camera gear) we had offloaded all the media from the entire day onto the Jellyfish. Everyone was surprised, yet that was my plan and the Jellyfish made it a reality.

Shooting a beer commercial
The second job was working on a beer commercial for a Japanese company using a Phantom Flex shooting at 1600fps. Our plan was to connect the Jellyfish directly to the 10gb port on the camera which would allow us to bypass two steps of transferring the hundreds of gigs of media created by the camera before converting them to ProRes dailies as requested by the Post house.

Unfortunately, we were not able to test this connection. The schedule had the camera practicing the location and positions of shots continually before the hero talent showed up on set. But I used the Jellyfish to offload media from the Phantom and ARRI RAW (from an Alexa XT) while making dailies. The speed of the Raid on Jellyfish allowed me to have all the offloads and transcodes completed—again before other departments had finished breaking down after the wrap.

Playback and Capture for an Infomercial
The 3rd job that week using the Jellyfish was working with a RED Dragon camera. This was the second shoot in a Before and After production for a new workout device. It was a combination of recording off-speed footage of the people working out on the machine along with their interviews of the experience over the past two months with it, all shot in 5K.

The director decided, on set, that she needs the talent to see themselves as they were two months ago, while they were being interviewed. Lucky for me I had guessed I would need that older footage and had loaded it onto the Jellyfish the night before. So at various points throughout the day I was:

  • offloading RED R3D media from the RED mag on one laptop
  • playing back 5K RED media in Premiere, set at full quality, from another laptop
  • transcoding h.264 timecode burn-in dailies for the post house in Resolve on a new Mac Pro

At times, this happened simultaneously and without any issues or perceived slowdowns.  I don’t know how any of these projects could have possibly worked so smoothly without the Jellyfish.

How do you see the Jellyfish changing workflows for the DIT?  What sort of workflows could this help open up on future jobs for you?

As most DITs will tell you, each project is just like a snowflake. They may all look the same from a distance but up close the details make each one individual and unique. Having a system with the speed and the flexibility that the Jellyfish offers allows me to take on projects that at one time would have been impossible to fit into certain time or budget windows.

In other words, it will allow me to take on new jobs that I otherwise would have had to turn down or put restrictions on.

Was the Jellyfish difficult to set up?

The Jellyfish could not have been easier to use:

  • Turn it on
  • Connect the Cat 7 cable to the ports from the Thunderbolt-to-10gb adapter, then the Thunderbolt to the computer
  • Open up the ShareClient app from Lumaforge
  • Mount the drive
  • Start working

How was support from Lumaforge?

The support I received from the Lumaforge team was amazing. When the Jellyfish first arrived I was having difficulty getting two of the four 10gb ports to work. After a quick call running down the start up procedure, we decided to check the card. Turns out a bumpy flight from the West Coast was to blame. Once I re-seated the 10gb card everything worked perfectly for each project I tested it with.

Do you see yourself using it again on future projects?

Without a doubt. The two basic questions asked by almost everyone that I encountered across the three separate productions were. First: How did it take this long for a company to see the need for such an on-set device where time is, literally, money. The other question: Where do they get their hands on one? (Editor: Check out more details about the Jellyfish)

I would like to modify the Jellyfish a little bit and make the casing a little more road-friendly but as far as what the insides can do, well, so far, color me thrilled.

About Rich Roddman, C.S.I.

With almost 30 years in the TV production industry, Rich likes to tell people that he fought in the trenches of the digital revolution. This gives him a unique perspective as to what works or does not work in today’s full digital workflow. This continues as technology increases it’s ever changing pace, widening the gaps between production and post production abilities and expectations. Rich specializes in bridging those gaps for his clients.

Rich opened SilverBox Studios in 2009 providing services connecting on-set to the edit suite, with successful workflows for productions large and small. In 2015 SilverBox Studios opened the doors to The Crayon Factory which is Tampa Bay’s only independent color grading and editing suite; allowing producers access to services they used to fly to Atlanta or New York to obtain. Rich was just recently accepted as a member of the Colorist Society International; a guild representing colorists from around the world.

Connect with Rich Roddman at:

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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:

Listen Now 

Subscribe in iTunesLearn about the Tao Colorist Sunday Morning Newsletter

More Interviews

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: TaoOfColor.com interview series homepage.

FCC Disclaimer
Yes, I have affiliate accounts with online retailers. Anything on this page that links to Amazon, B&H Photo or ToolFarm is an affiliate link. If you buy anything from my affiliate link not only do I get a commission, but you get a warm pleasant feeling that you’re helping to sustain the Tao Of Color website! If that is what you do – I, and all my readers and listeners say, Thank You.
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Little Gems #5: Automatically Sort Your Timelines Into Folders

In Little Gems #4 I lamented that Resolve 12 Public Beta 1 mixes our timelines with our Media

I mentioned how much this irked me. And over on MixingLight.com, in our podcast about the things that annoyed us in Resolve 12, both Dan Moran and I were vocal about this change of behavior—which is very different from all previous versions of DaVinci Resolve.

In fact, I surprised myself by how strongly I felt that Resolve 12’s new behavior was completely messing up my long-established workflows. I made heavy use of how Resolve separated folder structures for Media vs. Timelines.

It turns out, Dan and I weren’t the only ones complaining about this new behavior

On the Blackmagic forums, I’d frequently read Resolve 12 feedback lamenting the loss of Timeline Folders. Now, if you have any doubts that Team DaVinci Resolve aren’t listening to user feedback… then behold—brand new to Resolve Public Beta 3:

Little Gem #5: Create ‘Timeline Bins’

In Gem #4 I pointed out the ‘Create Smart Bin for Timelines’ checkbox in Project Settings. With the release of DaVinci Resolve Public Beta 3, that same Project Settings sub-menu has a brand new checkbox:

The New Timeline Bin Option in DaVinci Resolve 12 Public Beta 3

Enable this new setting to reveal a new separate Timeline management folder structure

Enable the ‘Use Timelines Bin’ to reveal a new Timelines-only Folder 

When you enable this option, in the Media Pool and on the Edit Page, a brand new folder appears that IS NOT a Smart Bin!

A new 'Timelines' folder is revealed!

When  ‘Use Timelines Bin’ in enabled, a new ‘Timelines’ folder is revealed. Resolve automatically sorts Timelines in this folder, keeping them separate from Media!


This option forces all Timelines to ONLY appear in the Timelines folder (or subfolders). And Media will only appear on the ‘Master’ folder (or subfolders).

When is this option super-useful?

If you ever work on a campaign where a client hands you 15 XMLs, with this new option enabled—importing the XML will place all the Media in the ‘Master’ folder and the timelines in the ‘Timelines’ folder. You can also create Timelines sub-folders for easy timeline management:

Timelines folders in DaVinci Resolve 12

Once you enable ‘Timeline Bins’ you can create an entire folder structure to drag and drop timelines.

THIS is what I’ve been wanting ever since I saw my first version of Resolve 12! And yes, this is now my favorite DaVinci Resolve 12 Little Gem 🙂

Be aware: There is one Rule to enable the ‘Use Timelines Bin’ Project Setting…

You can’t enable the ‘Use Timelines Bin’ setting if you have already created ANY timelines. You can enable this option if there’s media in the Media Pool but once a timeline is created, you can’t decide to enable (or disable) that setting without deleting all timelines in the project.

In truth – this doesn’t bother me at all.

But if I could ask for one feature enhancement?

It would be to make this feature enabled as DEFAULT.

After all, this is how previous versions of Resolve have worked. And it’s a behavior that FCPX has semi-adopted and all the other NLEs *should* adopt. Timelines are NOT media. Timelines are Metadata and should always be isolated from media and deciding to co-mingle timelines and media should be an optional behavior.

Still, a HUGE shout-out to Team DaVinci Resolve for listening and implementing this behavior! Thanks!

– pat

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Little Gems #4 – Automatically Organize Your Timelines in DaVinci Resolve 12

The key lies within Project Settings

I’m not a big fan of how DaVinci Resolve 12 Beta co-mingles Timelines and Media within folders. In previous versions, Timelines were segregated from Media files, making it super-easy to find and organize timelines separately from Media.

Here’s an example of why Resolve 12 Beta’s new behavior drives me a bit crazy:

Prior to DaVinci Resolve 12 Beta, if you imported an XML, the Media files would go into the Media Pool while the associated timeline would end up in its own ‘Timelines’ window. This makes total and complete sense. Resolve just naturally helped me keep my projects organized.

In Resolve 12 Public Beta, now the imported timeline gets dropped into the Media Pool (never mind the cognitive dissonance of dropping Timelines into the Media Pool) – the imported timeline also gets dropped into the same folder as the imported Media. If you’ve got clients who send you up to 15 timelines to color grade (as I do) and if you like to segregate the imported Media into unique per-timeline folders (as I do), then you’ve now got 15 timelines scattered throughout 15 folders in your Media Pool.

Smart Bins is one solution to fixing Resolve 12’s new behavior

Using the options shown below, you can create your own ‘Timelines’ Smart Bin. But doing this every day, for every project, is mostly tedious. It’s just One. More. Thing. To. Do. before starting your session.

How to create the 'Timelines Smart Bin' in DaVinci Resolve 12 Public Beta

The ‘Create Smart Bins’ dialog box with options selected to create a ‘timeline smart bin’.


Little Gem #4: The easier, quicker way to create a ‘Timeline Smart Bin’

In Project Settings, click into the ‘General’ section and in the UI Settings submenu, look for the ‘Create Smart Bin for Timelines’ option.

Set Resolve 12 to automatically generate a Timeline Smart Bin

Go: Project Settings > General to find the ‘Create Smart Bin for Timelines’ option


After enabling the checkbox and saving your settings, jump back into the Media Pool and you’ll find this:

The automatically generated 'Timelines Smart Bin' in DaVinci Resolve 12

After enabling the checkbox, a new ‘Timelines Smart Bin’ is automatically created.


Now, every timeline scattered across your entire Media Pool will be listed here. While I still prefer the pre-Resolve 12 behavior, manually creating a Timeline Smart Bin is tedious enough that I’m calling this workaround a ‘Little Gem’.

– pat

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