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Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac

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Glenn Payne
Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 21, 2017 at 2:43:25 am

Hey guys,
I have a feature film coming up that I'll be editing on my iMac with FCP X. We're shooting 4K with a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K EF. I've been researching online for the ideal Hard Drive to purchase (multiples), but I'm just not sure. What do you guys recommend? I assume I'll need a 4TB drive. My iMac has USB 3.0 ports and a couple Thunderbolt 2 ports. Any advice is greatly appreciated, as I'm new to 4K editing (advice welcome!).

I'm not overly familiar with the footage codec for this camera yet. I'm seeing this online. We're currently not planning to shoot RAW. I've always used ProRes 422 with HD. Thanks!

3840 x 2160
Apple ProRes 444 XQ - 312.5 MB/s
Apple ProRes 444 - 165 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 HQ - 110 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 - 73.6 MB/s
Apple ProRes 422 LT - 51 MB/s
Apple ProRes Proxy - 22.4 MB/s

OS X El Capitan
10.11.6
27 inch, late 2013
3.5 GHz Intel Core i7
32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB
250 GB Flash Storage
Final Cut Pro X 10.3.4


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Noah Kadner
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 21, 2017 at 4:34:26 am

Promise/Lacie.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Glenn Payne
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 21, 2017 at 5:40:10 pm

Thanks. I hadn't heard of Promise. What connection would you recommend? Thunderbolt 2? Does 4tb sound reasonable?


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Noah Kadner
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 21, 2017 at 7:17:07 pm

Sure should work.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
FCP Exchange - FCPX Workshops
XinTwo - FCPX Training


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Oliver Peters
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 22, 2017 at 12:35:07 am

4TB doesn't sound like enough, but it really depends on how much footage gets shot. For example, a project I'm working on is all 4K ProResHQ - about 1200 clips - and it's about 6TB worth, not counting proxies.

I would suggest getting a Promise Technologies Pegasus2 (Thunderbolt 2) RAID. Either the 4-drive or 8-drive unit. I suggest the larger one, if your budget permits. On this system you could work natively, however, I would still recommend using the FCPX proxy workflow.

I'm not sure if this camera shoots in camera raw image sequences or not. If it does, DON'T edit with them. Use Resolve to turn those into low-contrast ProRes4444 clips that will become your new "camera originals".

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Glenn Payne
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 22, 2017 at 6:57:25 pm

Oliver,
Thanks so much for the info! I'll definitely look into the Promise Technologies Pegasus2 (Thunderbolt 2) RAID and see what we can afford. I'm trying to decide just how many drives to purchase, when considering one to work from, backup and a drive or two to use to send to distributors, festivals, etc. I suppose I could just buy the nicer one for the actual edit (and maybe for the backup) then just ship it around on cheaper yet reliable drives.

Does that sound reasonable?

thanks again!
Glenn


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Oliver Peters
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 22, 2017 at 9:12:47 pm

Here are my calculations. Let's assume 4K of ProResHQ. 100 minutes for the cut at a 10:1 shooting ratio - 1,000 minutes of camera files. 4K (UHD) PRHQ is about 5.5GB/min. at 23.98fps. This comes out to 550GB for the film and about 5-6TB for the camera files. It will be more if it's ProRes4444 of higher, but could be less with some other camera format.

The general idea is to have a RAID for your working files during the edit and then at least two back-ups to archive your raw media. I typically use raw HGST Deckstar NAS drives for archive (7200RPM, 4TB). You can get these at B&H. You'll also need a USB3.0 or Thunderbolt 2 drive dock to plug these into. And plastic cases or a carrying case if you don't want to leave them in their retail cartons. I would estimate that you'll need a minimum of 4 of these drives in order to have two archival copies, based on the estimate above. Of course, no one shoots only 10:1 these days, so you could actually need twice as much.

Then you'll want at least one or two drives for the finished cut and other elements (sound, mixes, graphics, etc.). You could probably wait on these until the end, as you may have enough room left over on the others to put these files on the same archive drives as the camera files.

As far as shipping the film for festivals, distributors, etc. I'd get one or two small LaCie Rugged drives.

On top of this is the editing RAID. When you are totally done with the cut, you would delete the media from the RAID and reuse it for other work.

Does that answer your question?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Glenn Payne
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 23, 2017 at 5:25:38 pm

This is fantastic information, Oliver! Thank you so much! Unfortunately, our budget is going to limit me to drives in the $100-200 range per drive. Possibly a tad more if it's a significant difference in quality. What would you suggest in that range as far as brand and speed?

Do you have a preference of USB 3.0 versus Thunderbolt 2 or are they fairly comparable? A filmmaker friend just edited his 4k feature (Black Magic Cinema Camera Prores footage) using a couple 4tb Seagate external drives connected at the same time (with another smaller drive for project file, sound fx, etc). He claims he had no problems with performance during editing. I believe his PC system is comparable to my iMac, possibly with equal or slightly lesser specs.

Thank you for helping educate me in this area!
Glenn


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Oliver Peters
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 23, 2017 at 11:52:32 pm

Well, the raw 4TB Deskstars are in that range, so it's really the RAID that's the issue. Correct?

You could use the Deckstars in exactly the same way as your friend did with the Seagates. It's really whether or not 4TB is enough. You can get higher capacity drives, but they don't have as much of a proven track record as the 4TB drives do. You could get two docks or one double-bay dock and have 8TB at the ready. I would recommend Thunderbolt 2, but USB3.0 may be fast enough. I would recommend using the proxy workflow, in which case USB3 would be more than enough.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Glenn Payne
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 24, 2017 at 6:54:33 pm

Thanks again for the help, Oliver!

I was looking at some deckstar options. Are they only available as internal drives? Is 7200rpm the speed I should make sure to get (at my budget)?

I'll definitely aim for Thunderbolt 2. I assume drives of that size would have their own power cord versus smaller drives that pull power from their USB/etc connection. Just guessing they need more juice than the computer connection can supply.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Nov 24, 2017 at 9:29:12 pm

[Glenn Payne] "I was looking at some deckstar options. Are they only available as internal drives? Is 7200rpm the speed I should make sure to get (at my budget)? "

I always look for the raw (internal) drives because you get more bang for the buck, since they don't have power supply and interface electronics. That's what the dock is for, if you buy multiple drives, then it makes more sense this way, since they'll ultimately just sit on the shelf. You'll pay a lot more for a self-contained drive with an enclosure, power supply and interface.

If you intend to edit directly from these, then yes, 7200RPM is necessary. If you intend to only use them as archival, then 5400 would work. But, the reason I spec these is because they are rated for best average mean failure rates compared with other drives. These are professional-grade drives, which means they have better mechanisms. Your odds are better that they'll still work a year from now when you spin up a drive after having had it sit on the shelf for months.

[Glenn Payne] " I assume drives of that size would have their own power cord versus smaller drives that pull power from their USB/etc connection"

No. These are raw drives. The dock is what supplies power and Thunderbolt or USB interface.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Glenn Payne
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Dec 8, 2017 at 6:10:45 pm

Sorry for the delay, Oliver. Somehow I missed your response. Thanks for the great info! I'm about to purchase a few drives based on your advice. I thought I'd see if you minded glancing at what I was thinking to make sure it looked like the correct choice.

Two of these combined in a dock to equal 8TB.
HGST DeskStar NAS 3.5" 4TB 7200 RPM 128MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s Hard Drive
https://www.amazon.com/HGST-DeskStar-High-Performance-Packaging-0S04005/dp/...

I thought I might buy 4 total so I could use the second pair as my backup. Is that overkill if I'm only using it for storage? I'm having trouble locating the actual "dock" part of the purchase. Could you possibly offer any guidance there? This will be used with an iMAC so I assume there isn't any issue with compatibility.

I saw these Seagate drives priced at $150 for 8tb. It appears to be a slower drive though and it seems externals may run slower than internal by nature?
Seagate Expansion 8TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop External Hard Drive STEB8000100 Black

Thanks again for your help! It's very much appreciated. ☺
Glenn


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Oliver Peters
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Dec 8, 2017 at 6:31:26 pm

Those are fine. Get the HGST drives. Docks - a couple of options.

Enclosure that you can set-up any way you want:

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&O=&Q=&ap=y&c3api...

A dock, just to stick in a drive for easy removal:

https://www.owcdigital.com/products/drive-dock-thunderbolt-2

Hope that helps.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Glenn Payne
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Dec 8, 2017 at 7:09:24 pm

Thanks! I'm guessing those prices are about as low as I can hope for for docks?

Would it make sense to get that setup for my actual edit workflow and use less expensive drives for backing up the footage, etc?

This info is extremely helpful!
Glenn


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Ken Bennett
Re: Suggested Hard Drives for 4k editing with iMac
on Dec 19, 2017 at 9:12:10 pm

I've been using a Pegasus 2 R4 9TB RIAD for 4K editing.

Ken Bennett
Video Adventures
Capturing Your Life's Adventures!


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