Fat Pipes for Big Videos


Think of the last time someone emailed you a large PDF or a PowerPoint file. Maybe it took forever to open, or perhaps it got bounced by your email server. Now take that file and multiply its size by a thousand.


This is the situation Brella faces every day, as we move raw video files around—a short segment of video may be gigabytes in size, and a long video’s raw footage might be terabytes (in other words, the size of a large desktop hard drive). So how do our IT people manage these huge files?

“Most of our day-to-day files are in a normal environment,” explains IT expert Andy Leth, “meaning a system of servers and shared folders. Stuff anybody in business would recognize.”

But what about those massive videos?

“For those we have Avid ISIS, which is a dedicated system, completely separate from the rest of our network,” Andy explains. “It doesn’t even touch the internet. It’s a network that exists parallel to our normal business.”

ISIS requires a low-latency, high-bandwidth pipeline to move terabytes of information from a server to a workstation and back again—a “fat pipe” as network wonks would say. Furthermore, as explained by our Video Department Director, David Less, “ISIS connects to multiple workstations at the same time, so people can be working off the same source files simultaneously.”

Given the size of these files—and the speed at which Brella works—we need to constantly move files off ISIS and into our archives. How do we manage this? With dedicated server space on our primary network, and a crack team of archivists.

And what about the final product? Do we just hand our clients a huge, unwieldy video file and say “Good luck with that”?

Absolutely not.

Each video is delivered to the client with an agreed upon final compression based on the client’s needs. A marketing clip posted on a website needs to be more heavily compressed than a video streamed from a blu-ray player at a trade show. And once the final product has been delivered? Usually, we still hold on to the bulky raw video files, just in case—we always love it when clients come back!