What is Store and Forward and Chunking?
In a film production where you are sending dailies to your editor on the cloud, a spotty internet can make it a real pain to get the files to the editor in a timely manner. Uploads will fail and need to restart, leaving your editor staring at a screen twiddling their thumbs for hours. What if there was a technology to manage these uploads for you in almost any network condition and make sure the integrity of the entire file is maintained? That’s where Store and Forward and Chunking streamline your camera to cloud workflow.
What is Store and Forward?
Put simply, store and forward is a process of recording a video file to a local storage to then upload to the cloud with full file integrity. Here, you are “storing” the video file locally, then “forwarding” the data out to its cloud destination. The local recordings are still retained. If the network connection becomes unstable or disconnected during forwarding, the device can resume the forwarding when network connection returns.
What is Chunking?
While it may make you think of cookies, chunking refers to chunks of data, and is a piece of the store and forward puzzle.
Standard data that transfers from a computer to the internet can result in a corrupted file or completely failed transfer upon an interruption. Chunking prevents this problem by transferring the data from the local storage in chunks as the connection allows and ensures that there are no holes or corruption in the data. Once fully transferred, all the individual chunks will be assembled into a full file on the cloud.
How Does it Help in the Real World?
Let’s imagine a sports event where the director sends a camera operator to record an interview in the locker room. Since there is limited WiFi or LTE in the locker room to send a live feed back to master control, the operator records the clip on the Teradek Prism Flex. Once WiFi or LTE is available, Prism Flex automatically “chunks” the file up to Core. A clip editor can then cut up the file and prep it for broadcast. Store and Forward can also help you automatically archive live event coverage to the cloud for editing or restreaming. This is beneficial for meetings, concerts, and webinars where you want to allow viewers to replay the recording in the future. Additionally, you can set it up so ISO proxy recordings are automatically uploaded to the cloud for quick post editing of a live stream if the client requests it.
Independent Content Creators
You have a small production where a camera crew heads to a remote location for an interview. The client needs to be able to review the footage to transcribe and make notes as soon as possible. But the location’s internet can’t stream the footage immediately. With the help of an encoder like the Prism Flex, you can “store” the interview clips on an SD card in the Prism. Prism will then “forward” the data to Teradek Core using “chunking” to adapt to the network situation. This is much faster than waiting until the end of the interview to drive back to the office to offload and THEN upload the footage. Although the production couldn’t live stream the interview session, using store and forward, your clients were able to get the next best thing.
A cine production example of this is the Teradek Serv 4K and Frame.io’s Camera to Cloud (C2C) technology. The C2C workflow has the Serv 4K send high quality proxy clips with metadata straight from the camera on set to Frame.io. Here, the editor can immediately start organizing and editing the clips. In this example, the crew feeds the camera’s video signal and timecode into the Serv 4K. The Serv 4K encodes and records proxy files onto an SD card, which acts as the “Store”. Next, the proxy files are forwarded to the Frame.io servers through a network connection when available. If there is slow or spotty cell or broadband connection at the location, the Serv 4K will use chunking to send the data to the servers as the network allows. This gives crews the flexibility to send high bitrate proxies to the cloud.
What is Store and Forward NOT for?
Since you are first storing content in its entirety and THEN forwarding it to the cloud, Store and Forward technology isn’t practical for dealing with internet cutouts when live streaming a scheduled event. If live streaming fails, the best this feature can do is give you a stored recording of the whole event that’s automatically uploaded to the cloud as your internet connection becomes available. You can then post this file to a CDN for the audience to see afterwards.
How Can I Get Started?
Having store and forward in your live production tool kit is a big win. With Teradek, it’s available and reasonably priced for a production company to own. The Prism Flex and Prism Mobile are perfect for broadcast and live event production. And if you’re on a film set and would like to take advantage of the Camera to Cloud technology to accelerate your workflow, the Serv 4K is an excellent choice alongside a Frame.io plan.
Store and Forward is an important tool for productions where adapting to network challenges without sacrificing efficient content delivery is absolutely key. Those capturing content professionally from many locations should keep store and forward in their tool kit to help adapt to all network situations.