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Antony Christie
Choosing storage
on Jul 27, 2012 at 2:41:10 am

Hi people

I've just upgraded my camcorders and now have two NEX-FS100E's (NB: got them a little over cost from Top-teks; they've too much stock!). The cameras are fantastic but the AVCHD they churn out takes up so much space!

I've an 8-core Mac pro and run Media Composer 6 so can edit using the AVCHD without the need to transcode/ consolidate, but one camera's dailies/rushes are always too big to to fit of one DVD so backing up's a pain and I'm quickly running out of space. Therefore, I'm looking into getting an external RAID solution so I can just take the card from the camera, chuck footage on a drive and be confident it's pretty safe (clearly if the house burns down I'm screwed, but I'm not looking for bullet proof).

I've started browsing the playing field but I'm not really sure what speeds I'd need, there are DAS, SAN or NAS Drobos, G-raid drives, etc, not sure whether should look USB 2.0, USB 3.0, FireWire 800, eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet or Thunderbolt, I know can't afford solid state.

I won't be changing cameras any time soon (3 to 5 years) and just want to spend enough to have efficient workflow that I can add to in time.

Can anyone answer some of those questions for me, or just help me understand the trade offs to narrow my search?

Many thanks in advance,
Toe-knee

Two Sony NEX-FS100 E's
Mac Pro (Two 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors, 8GB (8x1GB) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory, two NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory
Avid Media Composer 6, Pro Tools 10


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Shane Ross
Re: Choosing storage
on Jul 27, 2012 at 6:03:38 am

First off you have no idea what large file sizes are...because AVCHD isn't. Heck no, it's one of the smaller data rate formats out there, more highly compressed than most of the other formats. It rivals H.264 (Canon DSLR) and MP4 (GoPro). The amount of storage that takes is relatively minor compared to higher end formats...and even broadcast editing formats.

Wait until you need to transcode this footage to DNxHD...even though that is a compressed format, the file sizes will increase. Editing the footage via AMA might be fine for shorter projects, but that format tends to choke Avid, as it is a complex format, and not ideal for editing. Once you get larger projects, you'll see what happens. Transcoding at that point will be required, and watch that drive space fill up then.

USB2 is too slow. Might be fine for smaller data rates, but far from ideal. USB 3 is faster, and great...but the MacPro doesn't have USB3 ports, nor Thunderbolt ports. Firewire 800 is great, and will play back 2-3 streams of DNxHD without issue. More than that, and you need either internal SATA drives (your machine has 3 extra drive slots) that will get you 3-4 streams...as will eSATA, which is just the external connector type that matches what the internal one does speed wise. And those will all suit your needs fine. You will need to get a PCIe card to get eSATA ports on the computer, it doesn't come with any.

Gigabit ethernet is fine if you are working with shared storage....which you are not, so skip that for now.

Faster connectors include SAS, MiniSAS and Fibre. And those are for people who are editing 5 or more streams of video (multiple layers of playback) or require TONS of storage (12TB or more!) I don't think you need that. eSATA is as high as you really need to go, unless you are going to edit concert videos with 6-12 cameras.

Solid state...no one is really using that as media drives. TOO expensive. Drobo's are good for archiving only. NAS is Network Attached Storage, far from ideal for video editing...mainly for smaller file types like pictures and documents...backup and shared storage for smaller needs.

If you are sticking with your MacPro...look at Firewire 800 and eSATA options. OtherWorldComputing.com has great options in their Mercury Elite line.

Now...since you are shooting tapeless, you need to know some of the practices that are the BEST practices.

1) Backup the cards when shooting is done. To SEPARATE drives that will be your ARCHIVE drives. The ones you store. Just like you'd store tape if you shot tape. For added security, archive to two drives...mirror the data on two drives, or get RAID 1 drive options, they mirror the data on two drives automatically. But those aren't to be used for editing. Archive only. If you archive to one drive only, and that drive fails...bye bye media. Gone forever.

2) Copy/consolidate/transcode to MEDIA drives. These are the drives you were inquiring about. Fast enough to play back the media, and separate from the archive drives used to back up the footage.

3) Instead of archving to hard drives, look at tape backup solutions (DLT, LTO)...they are far more stable and reliable. Banks use them to back up data. Drawback is that the intitial setup cost isn't cheap.

So yes, this can all add up quickly. Makes me think back to the days of tape and think, "you know, that wasn't all that bad."

Heed my advice, or don't. Up to you. Do what you want. I'm just giving you the best practices.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Antony Christie
Re: Choosing storage
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:13:56 am

Woow! Thank you so much for taking the time to post such a detailed answer. I will certainly take your advice but will no doubt come back with a few more questions when I've had a chance to do some more research.

Thanks again!!!

Toe-knee

Two Sony NEX-FS100 E's
Mac Pro: Two 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors
8GB (8x1GB) of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory
Two NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory
Avid Media Composer 6, Pro Tools 10,


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Antony Christie
Re: Choosing storage
on Jul 27, 2012 at 2:43:43 pm

Hi Shane

How about the G Technology G-SPEED Q RAID (0 or 5) 4TB (4 x 1TB) solution?

I'm poised and ready to buy on your say so...

Kind regards and thank you in advance
Antony

2 x Sony NEX-FS100E's
Mac Pro (early 2009) 2 x 2.66GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Nehalem" processors, 12GB of 1066MHz DDR3 ECC memory, 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB GDDR3 memory. Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4.
Avid Media Composer 6.0.1, Pro Tools 10,


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Shane Ross
Re: Choosing storage
on Jul 28, 2012 at 3:39:24 am

G-Tech used to be VERY reliable. But they haven't been so much lately. IN fact, many stores that used to be loyal no longer carry them. I recommend this:

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/

No, I don't have one. But I know someone who does who loves it.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Phil Yunker
Re: Choosing storage
on Jul 28, 2012 at 5:05:54 am

Antony, listen to Shane he knows his stuff I have read a lot of his threads and has helped me on numerous occasions.
I like the CalDigit Drives, http://www.caldigit.com/HDElement/
I'm using a HD Element with my FCP ver. 7 system, most footage I edit is from a P2 Varicam at 1080 24p or footage transcoded from 5D h.264 to ProRes 422 HQ, the CalDigit Raid holds up well and rocks. So do the CalDigit VR2 models.

PHIL YUNKER
Vanguard Media & Entertainment
http://www.philyunker.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/philyunker


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Craig Alan
Re: Choosing storage
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:16:28 pm

I've had very good experience with OWC as a vendor (ram, drives, enclosures, accessories). Very good customer service. Prices are competitive. No failures on mercury line of drives (all drives will fail but I've had good luck). The fit and finish on some units is not as good as higher end (more expensive) enclosures but the performance is right up there. Get a box of plastic hard drive cases so you can swap out the drives and store them safely. Start thinking in terms of a system for archives and a system for editing. Shane knows his stuff. My only other thought is if you are staying on Macs your next computer will most likely have thunderbolt and maybe usb 3.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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