Sydney Opera House mulls on-site storage for digital recording

Looks to high-definition recording for content partners

The Sydney Opera House will begin transitioning to high-definition (HD) recording within the next 12 months. The implementation will involve up to five HD broadcast-quality cameras in the Opera House's larger theatres and an additional on-site storage area network (SAN) system to house the original and final edited footage.

"It's something that is necessary now, but it's totally dependent on funding," said information systems operations manager, Daniel Johnson.

The State Government-funded venue has not yet secured finances for the implementation, but is looking to do so in the short, rather than long-term.

Once the transition is complete, the Opera House will begin to record shows within all of its theatres using between one and five HD cameras, depending on the theatre and agreements with both show presenters and broadcast partners. The venue's in-house production team already works with several television companies to record, edit and broadcast shows presented at the venue.

"If somebody is presenting a show at our theatre, we have to have pre-approval to even consider [recording it]," Johnson said. "There's a lot of legality around which we can record and then use in our own digital marketing space. We will work with them to do that."

Johnson said the Sydney Opera House would look to store the footage in compressed format on-site in SAN arrays, "possibly something with a de-duplication for our other corporate files". The arrays would be purchased through a tender process, though Johnson said the venue's IT staff are already considering solutions from HP, EMC and NetApp. The SAN arrays would eventually be folded into the venue's existing on-site storage servers.

"I don't really want to have to manage two lots of storage systems but we'd have to review that at the time," Johnson said. "At the moment we would probably do it all on-site. That's not to say in the future that they may not change, but at the moment we do have all of our services hosted here."

Initial storage estimates put a single show's worth of uncompressed footage at two terabytes per camera, or 10 terabytes for a five-camera show.

"The actual storage amount is dependent on the negotiations that happen with the presenting companies, how many choose to move forward, and to what extent we start to film in other theatres," Johnson said.

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