We worked with the staff photographers and studio manager to pinpoint eight optimum locations for the Mac Pro workstation, keeping it top of mind that a photographer would need to be able to move freely around the room during a shoot. In order to allow the cameras to capture and write to the drives as quickly as possible (and thus not hinder the photographer and/or the shoot), we had previously decided to configure the Mac Pros with internal hi-speed RAIDs.¹ Additionally, we gave the photo assistants the ability to move the data onto a protected network server and storage during the day, so that should a hard drive die, or a drink get spilled on a computer (yes, we all know that can happen!), that day’s worth of shots would be completely safe.²
The tough part was figuring out how to achieve all of this, given that the photographer wasn’t going to be stationary and that we didn’t want to loose any time to shutting down the system and resetting it again when it was time for the photographer to move to another area of the studio. The resolution? We used heavy-duty mobile carts, outfitted them with brackets to strap down the Mac Pro, used VESA mounts for the displays, and wheels durable enough to accommodate all of the weight. We also included additional straps to secure extended run UPS battery systems. Since we were brought in during the conception phase, we were able work directly with the contractors when it came time to build the studio to hang heavy-duty power cords and network jacks on retractable pulley systems suspended from the ceiling.³
This workflow allowed the photo assistants to set up the cart for tethered shooting at any of the eight predetermined locations, with easily accessible power and network connectivity dropped from the ceiling.4 When the photographer was ready to move to a new location within the studio, the assistant would simply disconnect from the server, unplug the network and power cords, and roll the cart over to the next desired location. During this process, the computer continued to batch process the images just shot by relying on the UPS battery for power. Once settled in the next space, the assistant would merely pull down the closest power and network jacks, plug back in, and get right back to work.