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Hard disks for the impoverished

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Simon Mercer
Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 21, 2012 at 9:36:05 pm

Hi, guys.

Most of you will read this and think, "What is this guy doing??"' but hang in there...

I runs small video production company, with two full-time editors, both using Final Cut 7 on iMacs. We work at the low end of the SME spectrum, which is a massive market but one based on volume, not individual sales, hence cash flow for major hardware is out of the question.

At present, we use USB drives to edit from and store our data (I know; but they're super cheap, and we don't need massive speed). So each project lives on a master drive, and gets backed up to the backup drive at th beginning after acquisition, and then at the end of the job (if it's a quick turnaround). But if both editors want to work on two different projects on the same drive, we have to do lots of copying over of footage, which (courtesy of the USB) takes forever.

Almost all of our work is ProRes files generated from Canon 5d originals, and we work mainly on short videos of maximum three minutes.

And yes, I am aware that we are in the Dark Ages when it comes to data storage. But I just can't see what the next step is, if we don't want to drop a million billion dollars on fibre channel.

Can anyone suggest our next move?

Thanks, folks of the Cow!

Si.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 21, 2012 at 10:32:10 pm

What about switching to FW800 drives? Maintains existing workflow, 2 - 2.5 times faster than USB 2.0, no serious cash outflow.

Or, I'd take a look at something like DS1512+. For two editors (that currently are editing via USB 2.0), it should work well even with a mediocre Gigabit switch. (This is not a solution that's been proven for video editing though - so I'd want to be able to return it if it doesn't work well.)

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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David Eaks
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:46:44 am

FWIW, if you're using USB enclosures like the Western Digital Elements, there are likely 3.5" sata drives inside. I found WD Caviar Black's in the 2TB WD Elements and Caviar Greens in the 3TB model. I got the 2tb ones at a black Friday sale for $70ea, at the time it was over $200 for the exact same bare drive! Even at normal prices the USB enclosure is 1/2 the price. Crazy.

Anyway, with bare drives, you can use an HDD Dock. A FW800 dock with dual drive slots that fit both 3.5" and 2.5" is pretty handy to have around (mine is actually eSATA). If you have Thunderbolt iMacs, there are docks with that as well. The drives can get pretty hot on a dock, so it's a good idea to have a fan blowing on them.

If you go down this route, pulling apart USB enclosures to get at the juicy SATA innards and editing off of a FW800 dock. You will absolutely have to have a SOLID backup system in place. Though, I have not had any problems with any of this stuff, I don't edit from or rely on these. I use the dock and bare drives for stuff like transferring large files to drives and mailing to clients.

I've also replaced the drives in 500GB-1TB Lacie D2 Quadras with 2TB drives, no problems (more WD Caviar Blacks). You could probably find used D2 enclosures cheap and stick your own drives in.

If you don't have a bunch of USB enclosures with SATA drives inside, or if you do but don't want to dissaseble them, forget it all. You need to buy new. Get either LaCie or G-tech "quad interface" enclosures or a RAID Array and get the heck away from USB!


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:21:53 am

You could use USB 3.0 or eSATA - I think for most of your work these are great anyway.

You can always software RAID two SATA III 6 Gbps drives (internal or external) for files with higher data rates but for 5D footage it's overkill.

http://wolfcrow.com/blog/ - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 22, 2012 at 4:26:19 am

[Sareesh Sudhakaran] "You could use USB 3.0 or eSATA"

On iMacs?


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 23, 2012 at 2:50:50 am

With PCI(e) adapters - isn't that feasible?

http://wolfcrow.com/blog/ - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 23, 2012 at 3:06:49 am

[Sareesh Sudhakaran] "With PCI(e) adapters - isn't that feasible?"

For the "impoverished"? You don't really think that either, do you?

Firewire or Ethernet clearly are first choices.

(I usually read prior responses before adding my own - in a humble attempt to contribute something useful; not that anybody else has to. :))


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 23, 2012 at 3:43:56 am

Take it easy, Alex - a PCie eSATA adapter card costs $10-$30. Anyway, the OP hasn't responded yet.

http://wolfcrow.com/blog/ - Workflow information and support for filmmakers, photographers, audiographers and videographers.


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 23, 2012 at 3:49:16 am

[Sareesh Sudhakaran] "Take it easy, Alex - a PCie eSATA adapter card costs $10-$30"

I must be dense: how do you plan to stick a $10-30 PCIe eSATA adapter into an iMac?

(Sorry.)


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Alex Gerulaitis
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 23, 2012 at 3:12:33 am

Forgot: if the iMacs are Thunderbolt-equipped (the only legal way to attach PCIe cages to them, anyway) - might as well just get Thunderbolt drives.

Alex Gerulaitis
Systems Integrator
DV411 - Los Angeles, CA


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Rainer Wirth
Re: Hard disks for the impoverished
on Aug 28, 2012 at 12:06:31 pm

I think Alex is right with FW800.
I would go for a Sonnet R400, which is at least Raid5 level. It contains 4 drives, has FW800, and Esata. Back-up on USB drives. I would equip all macs with an icy box, so you can use HDs without an external enclosure and you can easily swop drives from one workstation to the next without a FC switch.

Rainer



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