edit from the beach, upload in the bay.

I spend a lot of words here showing how to automate things so that editors can “set it and forget it”. The reason for that is that there is nothing worse than having to wait around for an hour watching your computer work. Well, there sometimes isn’t any way to automate the “next step”, but this will enable you to hit render, go home and then do the rest from home! Here’s how.

The best thing about this whole operation is that you probably don’t need any new software! We will be using a protocol called VNC in order to connect our two mac computers. If you have a pc at home, you can still do this, in fact, you can even do it via your iphone! Vnc stands for Virtual Network Computing. You need to run a server app on your desktop machine and a client app on your home machine. I believe Mac OS 10.4 and higher include a vnc server by default. Here is a quick guide to setting that up. On your home computer side, all you need is to do is: in finder hit command k. Now type “vnc://” then type your work computer’s address and hit connect. The finder will ask you for your password, and then you are in! A good thing to know when you are setting this up is that you can connect “remotely” from the same room, just make sure that you aren’t using an internal ip address. Once configured, you can log in remotely to your desktop and check on renders, start compressions, or upload files to FTP. There are limitations on this tech, though. Due to lag and bandwidth issues, you probably won’t be able to view video playback and editing would be an incredibly frustrating affair. Audio also is not transmitted, so forget about sync audio.

Tech notes on configuring vnc. Networks can be tricky things. Each computer is assigned a local IP, and then you usually have an external IP as well. How your network is setup can entirely change the specific steps you need to go through, but the end result is the same. You need to have an ip address or a web address that will go directly to your computer. For my specific home network I use dyn-dns to forward a .com address to my cable modem’s frequently shifting IP address. I also use port forwarding on my home router to forward the standard vnc port to my laptop.

Note on vnc security. When you install a vnc server you are effectively punching a hole in your firewall. This is not something you should do without consulting your IT department. You should also create very strong passwords (a mix of uppercase and lowercase, numbers letters and symbols, and longer than you would like) The safest thing to do is to only run your vnc server when you anticipate having to use it. Our IT department suggested that we VPN into the internal network, and then vnc in through the secure tunnel. That solution has the security of VPN with the ease of vnc!

As a bonus tip, vnc can be useful in reverse as well. I often vnc into my home machine, put a few files in my dropbox, and then grab them from my work computer (again, via dropbox). If you haven’t gotten a dropbox account yet, sign up! It’s super useful for everything from file transfer to serving up small websites and links for review.

~ by ross on November 15, 2010.

One Response to “edit from the beach, upload in the bay.”

  1. Logging in to my work computer from home has saved me from having to go into the office on numerous occasions. I tend to use logmein.com for ease of use (also allows me to access my work machine from my iPhone).

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