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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Investigative Colorist: Why is the PremierePro to Resolve 8 Roundtrip Broken?

FCP XML v5 is the key to the Resolve 8 kingdom


NOTE: This article is deprecated. The issue discussed has been solved by recent versions of Premiere Pro 5.5 and later. For that reason the Vimeo video has also been removed!

For the past few days I’ve been hunting down problems when attempting to do a roundtrip between Premiere Pro 5 & 5.5 and Resolve 8.

On the surface, it looks completely do-able.

Premiere has an “Export to FCP XML” command. Resolve 8 is specifically designed for a FCP to Resolve roundtrip. You’d think it works, right?

Think again.

Here’s the problem: Resolve is designed for FCP XML Version 5. Premiere can only import and export FCP XML Version 4 (or earlier).

DaVinci Resolve 8's XML v.4 dialog box

This Resolve 8 dialog box alerts you to the XML version mis-match

Here’s the work-around: It *is* possible to move between Resolve and Premiere… but only if you own FCP which can translate up and down between FCP XML Versions 4 & 5!

That’s the short of it.

If you really want to dig into specifically what works, what doesn’t, and get a sense of the power when the XML Roundtrip does work – watch this 18 minute video where I bounce between all 3 apps to figure out what exactly is going on and what’s getting broken when.

And if you’re Adobe – I’d love to help you guys fix this problem and open up the world of XML integration between Resolve and CS5 users. I can be reached from here.  😉

UPDATE: If you’re a CS5 or CS5.5 user and would like to see Resolve 8 and Adobe integration – here’s the link to Adobe’s feedback page. Enter a feature request for ‘Export to Final Cut Pro XML v.5’ to enable Resolve 8 & Adobe CS5 / CS5.5 integration. Hat Tip: Tom Daigon

Special thanks to all the Tao Colorists who responded to my call for help: with a specific thanks to Clay Asbury and Pepo Klijs for working through the Premiere 5.5 XMLs!

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