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Author Topic: Help needed juggling LR catalog between 2 devices  (Read 1986 times)
luxborealis
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« on: August 11, 2013, 11:11:24 AM »
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Has anyone worked out a seamless solution to having one LR catalog but two devices?

I'm troubleshooting with my friend Marty to sort out where his LR Catalog should be. I know many of you face the same difficulty and have, no doubt, come up with a solution that works for you. Here's the scenario...

Right now, his LR Catalog, Previews and Smart Previews reside on his MacBook Pro as he uses it most of the time BUT he also wants to be able to use LR on his iMac desktop computer. His original files are on a USB portable drive (backed-up to an external drive). This makes sense as he uses the MacBook more often for LR.

The most logical solution is to put the catalog on his USB portable drive as it could be plugged into either device, BUT we are trying to avoid that, as the read-write times are slower than on an internal drive. Also, he would always need to be plugged into the portable drive which reduces the inherent freedom of using a laptop.

So, if he keeps his LR catalog on his MacBook, what's the best way of making it available for use on the iMac? He could copy it over each time, but the catalog with previews and smart previews runs to GBs of data, which takes time to copy over and back again.

I know this is long-winded, but each time we come up a solution, it has drawbacks. Has anyone worked out this out successfully? If LR had a "Synch" function, the problem would be solved, but it doesn't. So... what to do?
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Terry McDonald
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Marty Tannahill
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2013, 11:20:54 AM »
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Terry,
Thanks for putting this out for me. It would also be helpful to know what the procedure would be if I decided to utilize the MacPro (desktop) as the primary storage area and the pro/cons of either situation.
Marty
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kaelaria
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2013, 12:12:28 PM »
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The catalog and resources need to be on a fast, centrally available drive.  Thunderbolt is best.  LR is not designed to be used that way so you are doing your own thing...

Most people that use remote systems such as a laptop for editing away from the main computer, will simply export what's needed as a catalog then import it when done.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2013, 12:29:59 PM »
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Should we assume that the iMac and the laptop will be used roughly equally? If so, most people in this situation seem to prefer keeping the catalogue on an external hard drive (I think Peter Krogh called this the colostomy bag method!). It's then a matter of access speed.

One other issue is your presets and templates which would normally be local to each machine. You may want to check the "keep presets with catalog" option - it causes confusion in other cases, but works OK with catalogues which live on external hard drives.

A possibility is to put the catalogue on something like Dropbox if your upload speed is sufficient. It can work OK, but you have to be very careful to check that the catalogue has been correctly synchronized before you open it on the other machine - otherwise you can easily overwrite work. OK, Dropbox keeps an infinite number of backups, but I still think this is risky.

My own preference is for the File > Export as Catalog, Import from Another Catalog route. But my needs are more than I occasionally need to take sets of pictures onto the laptop rather than continually switching.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2013, 01:33:42 PM by johnbeardy » Logged

Mike Guilbault
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2013, 06:43:45 AM »
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I've tried various solutions and none of them are ideal.  It really depends on the reason for the switching.  I finally decided to keep a certain catalogue on an external drive (backed up to another external) and be able to take it from home to office.  I have other catalogues at home (family photos) and my main catalogue (my 'work') at the studio.  The one I take back and forth has the catalogue on the external drive as well so I can plug it into any computer and run it.  Yes, it's a little slower than the internal drives, but usually not too bad and this solution works for me. 

If I, for example, have to bring studio work home, I'll do the export/import method that John uses... but I try to avoid that if at all possible.  I don't like bringing 'work' home anyway! Wink

I think at this point you have to pick one solution and run with it since there's no ideal method. A good external (ie. fast) doesn't cost that much more than a regular one.  That may certainly help if you go the external route.
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pflower
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2013, 12:58:16 PM »
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I don't know that there is an easy and seamless way.  Here is what I do (cribbed I think from a video on this site).  It requires some discipline and thought but it works for me.

I have 3 computers I use at different locations.  All of my photos are on external 4tb drives firewire 800 - each of which is named "Lightroom Catalog" and in identical folder structures.  When I have finished working on one computer I copy the Lightroom catalog together with previews etc. onto a portable drive together with all photos that have been added during that session.  I then copy those photos to the appropriate folder on the next computer together with the most recent version of the catalog and previews.  I then have an identical catalog on the 2nd computer and repeat as necessary.

I did start having just one drive with the catalog on - a 2tb portable, but it is so small that the idea of losing it began to worry me.  Effectively I have 3 identical versions running on 3 separate computers with a portable updater.

Much simpler than this explanation might suggest, but may or may not be of any interest to anyone else.

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Marty Tannahill
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« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 11:36:31 AM »
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Thanks for the advice. I went with the external drive and with Terry's help I got through the process.

Marty
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sakharov
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 03:59:20 PM »
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I use network storage (fast server with 10G Ethernet NIC) as image storage.
After every image edit session Ctrl/S saves all changes in xmp files.
Catalog stays at local disk of workstation.
If I access the same set of photos from notebook, LR shows me photos with changed xmp, than "import changes" and that's all. Two catalogs are in sync.
One issue - xmp does not save collection data.
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luxborealis
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 02:38:39 PM »
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This has been an excellent investigation into one of the limitations of LR. Hopefully, something is "in the works" to allow a single user to synch a catalogue over various devices (at least laptop and desktop!) - especially with digital technology going that way (music, vids photos in iPhoto, contacts, emails, bookmarks - and just about everything else!

I predict that LR 6 (or, perhaps LR5.5) will have this feature as that will allow us to to edit/process at least Smart Previews on a tablet and keep it in synch with a laptop and desktop.
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Terry McDonald
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- visit luxBorealis.com.
Have a read of my PhotoBlog and subscribe!
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