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Phil Wickham
The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 27, 2009 at 8:51:40 pm

Hi there. I have just upgraded to a new iMac which doesn't have half of the connectivity my G5 had :( I therefore find myself with a dilema... If I need to use an external HD via the Firewire 800 socket on the back of the iMac, how do I capture video onto it? I don't really want to capture to the Mac's internal drive, as I will quickly fill it up, although I could copy the videos across once captured...
Aside from having to buy another new cable is there a way of getting round this please?

FYI, I am using a Western Digital 'MyBook' external drive with Firewire 800 connection.

Thanks very much for any help and advice you can offer.

Phil


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Brad Kopp
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 27, 2009 at 11:19:47 pm

use an external drive w/two or more FW ports then daisy chain your camera or whatever through that.

Moto Guzzi rider
dog lover w/wife, Ex & 3 kids


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 1:24:08 am

[Brad Kopp] "use an external drive w/two or more FW ports then daisy chain your camera or whatever through that."

Thats like connecting two hoses onto the same connection, sure it might work ok but nether hose will work as well as if it was connected by it self.

I would recommend getting a raid that connects via the ethernet port. (its like connecting the second hose to a different part of the house)

There have been many posts already about this with the new 27" iMacs here on the cow. If you have more questions Im sure a search with answer them nicely.

There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 9:13:41 am

I know a lot of people will disagree, quick and dirty but no so bad, cheap too: Use a high capacity (2TB) USB Hard Disk. Make sure that is 7200RPM. USB is 480Mb/s Vs. 800Mb/s of Firewire 800 but both have protocol, 8b/10b encoding etc. One is better for certain aspects the other one for others. I would prefer this to a LAN HD. A LAN HD is fundamentally a server with the extra overhead. 1Gbit LAN also has its inefficiencies. I didn't check the imac, I assume it doesn't have a eSATA port. Too bad it would have been the best. I do run an external eSATA box with 5 hard disk striped and it is really fast & cheap.


Gabriele - California


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walter biscardi
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 12:14:12 pm

[Gabriele Sartori] "Use a high capacity (2TB) USB Hard Disk. Make sure that is 7200RPM. USB is 480Mb/s Vs. 800Mb/s of Firewire 800 but both have protocol, 8b/10b encoding etc"

Yep, we're going to disagree. USB cannot provide the same sustained throughput of Firewire. USB is good for bursts of data, but if you are trying to play back a full show of video, I would never trust USB to play without dropping frames.

USB 3 looks promising, but I would not recommend USB at this time for video editing.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 4:31:33 pm

[walter biscardi] "USB cannot provide the same sustained throughput of Firewire. USB is good for bursts of data,"

Walter
There are very good reasons for you to be right. Things though changed quite a bit and I believe that USB is surrounded by a lot of old prejudice. Let me explain my view :
A 2TB HD has a huge sequential transfer rate. More than USB and FW800. Both these links have about >30% inefficiency due to the protocol on the wires and their own protocol. It means though that about 35/40 MB/s are still available from USB. Disk speed must be considered as sustained random access and one of these new HD will saturate the USB even in this condition. For these reasons you can reach pretty much the theoretical limits of USB2 a thing pretty difficult in the past. About burst Vs. sustained for the USB itself we have to agree to disagree. In a modern, well implemented USB2 link there is no reason why it should not be capable to give a adequate sustained T/R if the source (the disk) can provide it. In my opinion MANY of the negatives of USB are due to his history but aren't true anymore. Also I'd like to remember that until recently most of the people using FW on the mac (including myself) was relying on FW400 that isn't any faster than USB2 with a good, fast HD, with 32MB of buffer available today. I'd suggest to give it a try.

Best regards (and it's always a pleasure to learn from your big experience in video editing. I'm just a computer guy that spend his money trying to kill his weekends on FCP)



Gabriele - California


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 4:41:09 pm

[Gabriele Sartori] "There are very good reasons for you to be right."

Walter IS 100% right on the issue, no need for you to argue it.

[Gabriele Sartori] "Things though changed quite a bit and I believe that USB is surrounded by a lot of old prejudice"

Umm nope USB technology has NOT changed, that will happen with the release of USB 3.0 which is NOT available. USB 2.0 while yes the speed of it would be fast enough for video, the FACT that it works in bursts of speeds makes it impractical for sustained data rates.

[Gabriele Sartori] "Disk speed must be considered as sustained random access and one of these new HD will saturate the USB"

Sorry but while yes the hard drive itself can sustain speed the USB enclosure cannot.

[Gabriele Sartori] "About burst Vs. sustained for the USB itself we have to agree to disagree."

So your going to disagree with science, with the industry standerd as to how USB works.

[Gabriele Sartori] "In my opinion MANY of the negatives of USB are due to his history but aren't true anymore."

No they are to to the technical limitations of USB.



There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 6:54:12 pm

[Zane Barker] "
Sorry but while yes the hard drive itself can sustain speed the USB enclosure cannot."


Enclosure speed? Dah !?

[Zane Barker] "So your going to disagree with science, with the industry standerd as to how USB works."

I don't want to start a flame chain (that it seems you want to start) but since you are talking with such authoritative statements, can you tell us from what background are you saying this? Are you part of the USB implementers forum? Are you working in any USB working group? About mine, you can just google my name.

Best Regards


Gabriele - California


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:05:55 pm

The USB on the enclosure is the bottle neck.

USB just simply will not sustain constant data rates. It works in bursts and that is the problem. Why you seem to not understand that does not change it.



There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:36:07 pm

I'm still waiting to see what are your credentials to be a self proclaimed USB guru. Have you ever been involved in designing a USB link layer? I have.
Burst? USB can even do isochronous transfer if you want to, do you know that? It all depends on the implementation and how good is the chip used, how much buffering it has, the drivers etc.
In the Mac community there is hostility and prejudice toward USB due to the long time history of mac with 1394. 10 years ago no doubts 1394 was a better bus for these applications than USB, but today there is no reason why a USB HD can't sustain the transfer rate necessary for these applications. I normally do it on my Macbook and I do full HD exclusively.
Again, the thread started because there were no alternative left on the new imac. Daisy chaining 1394 is a solution but then there would be BW sharing and arbitration between multiple devices working concurrently. Not the most desirable solution.

In the past USB link layers were sitting on PCI 32bit even when they were integrated in chip sets. It was just easy to do so. THis alone was another major point of conflict and arbitration reducing efficiency. Today this happens very rarely. PCI32 still exists but it is an appendix and not the main I/O bus anymore. Internal connectivity is done with PCI-E, HyperTransport or other high speed low latency concurrent links. I even licensed HyperTransport to Apple for its I/O performance for one of their Macpro Tower (G5 I guess) about 18-10 years ago.
Today, gates are cheap. Adding relative big buffers was prohibitive only 6 years ago when silicon 8 times bigger. Now it is a no brainer. When everything is combined USB is literally transformed and finally deliveries the wire speed particularly if interfaced to a very fast Hard Disk.

Regards



Gabriele - California


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 8:16:52 pm

You may be able to get by with it, but as a video profesonal which you yourself said you are not. USB is not an acceptble profesional option. It just cannot sustain a constant data rate.

As a video profesional I'm never going to recomend a solution that will not yeld profesional results. You just dabble with video so you might be willing to recomend a lesser solution.



There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:26:36 pm

[Zane Barker] "As a video profesional I'm never going to recomend a solution that will not yeld profesional results. You just dabble with video so you might be willing to recomend a lesser solution."

OK, when short of tangible arguments the best defense is to move to insult and dismissal. Please tell me what do you mean by "professional results" when editing with an imac that has no ports available. Enlighten us about what professional means in your opinion. In my opinion you either capture and edit HD without frame dropping or you don't. Are you talking about better artistic output because you use 1394 instead of USB? I would like to know.
As I said I do have 5HD in striping on eSATA because I can. I do have PCI slots, an iMAC doesn't have enough I/Os so it is question of having the best compromise, USB is one of the options and it works if done the right way. It has nothing to do with ability on doing transitions or anything else.
I have no doubt that you are a better editor than me although you never saw what I do. I'm just honest and admit my limitations.
Technology has nothing to do with that though.



Gabriele - California


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:33:00 pm

Just because you haven't experienced issues does not mean there are not issues using USB drives for video editing.

I'm done arguing with you in the issue.

There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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walter biscardi
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:40:31 pm

[Gabriele Sartori] "Walter
There are very good reasons for you to be right. Things though changed quite a bit and I believe that USB is surrounded by a lot of old prejudice. Let me explain my view :
A 2TB HD has a huge sequential transfer rate."


The hard drive itself is not going to solve the problem. You can put 2TB drives in a FW and SATA enclosure as well. At some point that drive is going to start to slow down as it fills up and gets fragmented.

USB 1 and 2 are not going to be able to give you the sustained throughput required throughout the entire drive to keep you editing without dropping frames.

So no, this is not prejudice speaking here, this is experience and the facts of how the data throughput works. If USB works in your experience, then by all means use it. But don't expect me to support this view or to recommend this view to anyone who edits professionally and earns money from their systems. This simply is not a solid, professional choice for a video editing system. For hobbyists, maybe, but not for someone earning money and charging clients for their work.

Sorry.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Blog!

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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 29, 2009 at 6:45:56 am

[walter biscardi] "This simply is not a solid, professional choice for a video editing system. For hobbyists, maybe, but not for someone earning money and charging clients for their work."

OK, I can see that this "professional" thing is popping up again. I would like to know what is more professional in 1394 than USB but nobody can articulate that to me. Just prejudice is what I see because I don't see a single table, data, formula, BW calculation, latency calculation, reliability and the needs for the application(s), nada. just "I say so so it is so, I'm a pro, I know better than you".
I worked with high speed serial links for about 10 years of my professional life in microelectronics and I never saw so much prima donna attitude without bringing a gram of solid data. It must be that I'm an old engineer and work with data while you guys are more like "artists" and work with feelings.

Note, I never said that USB is better than 1394, just that is good enough for the job particularly if the 1394 link is shared with other peripherals. Particularly when used with an iMac that doesn't seem a "Professional Workstation" to me.

Regards and happy new year, I'm sure the 1394 trade association loves you.


Gabriele - California


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walter biscardi
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 12:12:36 pm

[Phil Wickham] "If I need to use an external HD via the Firewire 800 socket on the back of the iMac, how do I capture video onto it?"

If you have a FW or FW VTR, then you simply connect that to the back of your FW 800 drive.

You can also look into ethernet connected media storage devices like we run here. We have a 16TB Final Share SAN that is connected to 6 workstations, including 3 iMacs. We can edit 1080i ProRes all day on the iMacs without using the FW ports.

[Phil Wickham] "FYI, I am using a Western Digital 'MyBook' external drive with Firewire 800 connection."

FYI, a poor choice of media drive. You can use this for backup, but I would recommend something more video centric for editing like the G-Tech, OtherWorld Computing and such.



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"Foul Water, Fiery Serpent" now in Post.

Creative Cow Forum Host:
Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Apple Color, AJA Kona, Business & Marketing, Maxx Digital.

Blog!

Twitter!


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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 5:33:59 pm

I too had this disdain for USB as a media drive. Depending on your needs, it might be a good choice.

For a feature I had to edit on the field at DV-PAL resolution. I had rushes of about 10 hours and an edited timeline of about 2 hrs+. Sound was dual-system, so it came off BWF files.

I did the entire edit over a few months on my MBP connected to a bus-powered WD Passport drive (250 Gb) connected via USB. I could even have an end-to end presentation of the final edit off this single drive. And all the rushes were captured to this very same drive off a DV deck connected over Firewire.

Like I mentioned, all this was DV-PAL. If your needs are ProRes, or ProRes at HD res., then USB may have a problem delivering it cleanly.

If you want to consider GigE then consider iSCSI or AoE.

-----------------------------------
Neil Sadwelkar
neilsadwelkar.blogspot.com
twitter: fcpguru
FCP Editor, Edit systems consultant
Mumbai India


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Gabriele Sartori
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 6:58:14 pm

[Neil Sadwelkar] "
I too had this disdain for USB as a media drive. Depending on your needs, it might be a good choice."


This is what I was saying. It is not the best medium but is not what it used to be. Silicon technology improved, recent controllers have much more buffering, HDs are more capable. I wouldn't use a 2.5" passport drive unless I was in an emergency situation but for most practical uses there is no reason why a fast, large (size increase linear density hence transfer rate) 7200RPM USB2 drive can't do the job these days.

Regards

Gabriele - California


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Steven Adams
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 5, 2010 at 6:33:44 pm

Hi,

A major education reading this thread!

I'm an older student at The Academy of Art University, studying film.

I'm looking at the new IMAC for editing; some of the work will be contract and some will be personal.

Would the new IMAC be a good choice?

Thanks,

Steven Adams

"Great spirits have always been hindered by mediocre minds" - Albert Einstein


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Alexander Kallas
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 7:20:39 pm

[Phil Wickham] ".........the iMac, how do I capture video onto it? I don't really want to capture to the Mac's internal drive, as I will quickly fill it up, although I could copy the videos across once captured...
Aside from having to buy another new cable is there a way of getting round this please?
........"


Hi Phil, you answered your own question,
capture to your internal drive and then copy to your firewire storage and edit from there, never edit from the boot drive.

Cheers
Alexander


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John Pale
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 28, 2009 at 11:29:17 pm

Another thought…

I think the Western Digital MyBook has both USB 2.0 and Firewire. Use the USB 2.0 port for capture, but switch to Firewire 800 for better editing performance.


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Mike Schrengohst
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 29, 2009 at 2:38:47 am

Try using a G-tech G-Raid and the Firewire 800 port....
You can get a 2 TB drive for $325.00

http://www.videoguys.com/Item/G-Tech+G-RAID+2TB+(4th+Generation)/0303032302...

I have about 10 of these drives and they never miss a beat...
The USB drives will be too slow for most editing applications.




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Shawn Bockoven
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Dec 29, 2009 at 8:44:51 pm

The one and only G-Tech drive we purchased for a documentary died. G-Tech did replace the drive after losing it in their shipping department. Took a few weeks to get the replacement.

Have had good luck with the Iomega drives. The Iomega UltraMax Hard Drive, eSATA/FireWire 800/FireWire 400/USB 2.0, 1TB - 34166 is available at Amazon for $147.70. Have ten at the station and have yet to experience a failure. Even dropped one on location and it's still working to this day.

Shawn Bockoven



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Alexander Wolf
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 18, 2010 at 4:20:12 pm

I see the new iMac has a 1 TB hard drive and an optional second internal hard drive for another 1 TB. So why not opt for the second internal drive and capture to that? I don't see a 1 TB drive filling up that quickly if you use it exclusively for editing video. Finished projects can be copied to your FW 800 drives.

I'm thinking about selling my G5 Quad + 23' Cinema Display (trade-in value 850 euro's) and exchanging that for the 27' Imac i7 quad core, 8 GB and two 1 TB drives. I shoot SD and HD; deliver SD and h.264 so connectivity is not too big an issue. The iMac i7 will be a huge powerleap forward compared to my current system, for only around 1200,- after trade in.

Only worries is not having a RAID system that protects me from a drive failure. I now edit with a LaCie RAID connected thru eSATA, setup as RAID 5 that gives me peace of mind I will never lose a project because of a faulty drive. I don't know if I can organize such security with two internal drives. My LaCie RAID tower does have FW 800 ports so I can backup at the end of the day, but during editing..? Can I configure it to backup my FCP project every 5 minutes?
I also currently have a Matrox MXO I bought a few years ago for monitoring and color correcting HDV on a Dell 2407. Meanwhile I have purchased an EX1 and want to monitor XDCAM EX material as well, but for that I need an Intel machine. I'll have to look into connecting the MXO thru the MiniDisplay port to DVI-cable..? I'm very curious to see EX material on that 27' LED screen.



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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 18, 2010 at 4:22:42 pm

[Alexander Wolf] "I see the new iMac has a 1 TB hard drive and an optional second internal hard drive for another 1 TB"

NOPE there is only ONE internal hard drive. You cannot have a second internal drive in an iMac.



There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Alexander Wolf
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 18, 2010 at 4:36:57 pm

Damn, you're right! I misread the option to install a 2 TB drive as an option to install a second 1 TB drive... that changes everything...
Can you install the OS and FCS on a USB drive?


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Brad Kopp
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 19, 2010 at 1:57:20 am

I believe you need a FW port to boot up FC on an external drive .

Moto Guzzi rider
dog lover w/wife, Ex & 3 kids


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 19, 2010 at 6:07:41 am

[Brad Kopp] "I believe you need a FW port to boot up FC on an external drive "

That was true on old PPC Macs but Intel Macs can boot from a USB drive also.

Ether way though booting from a USB or FireWire hard drive isn't really going to solve the bigger issue it just shifts it around.

USB works in bursts of data so I would not to be running an OS off of it for extended periods of time. All instances I have ever seen of booting off a USB drive is for troubleshooting only. You will probably get poor overall system performance if you booted from USB all the time as USB works with bursts of data.

While running an OS from a FireWire drive would not have the same long term problems as USB would it still would not solve the overall problem of bogging down the firewire bus when capturing from a FireWire camera/deck.

In my opinion the only reasonable workflow with the iMac would be a tapeless workflow.



There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Alexander Wolf
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 19, 2010 at 9:48:31 am

'In my opinion the only reasonable workflow with the iMac would be a tapeless workflow.'


Do you also think it is the best value for the money if you shoot and edit XDCAM EX and deliver almost exclusively SD and h.264?

And is a RAID 5 system connected thru FW 800 fast enough for EX material?


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Zane Barker
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 19, 2010 at 4:12:34 pm

[Alexander Wolf] "Do you also think it is the best value for the money if you shoot and edit XDCAM EX and deliver almost exclusively SD and h.264? "

The MacPro is definitely a better value as it opens up so many more options. for any editing workflow. Video IN/OUT cards like the AJA or Black magic that let you properly monitor and color grade footage. Not to mention the advanced storage options that can be used with a MacPro.

[Alexander Wolf] "And is a RAID 5 system connected thru FW 800 fast enough for EX material?"

Your going to loose the speed advantages of a that type of raid when you go and connect it via FW800. It's kinda like a 5 lane highway vs a 2 lane road.



There are no "technical solutions" to your "artistic problems".
Don't let technology get in the way of your creativity!



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Alexander Wolf
Re: The new IMAC + external HD + capturing video
on Jan 20, 2010 at 10:41:44 am

[Alexander Wolf] "Do you also think it is the best value for the money if you shoot and edit XDCAM EX and deliver almost exclusively SD and h.264? "

The MacPro is definitely a better value as it opens up so many more options. for any editing workflow. Video IN/OUT cards like the AJA or Black magic that let you properly monitor and color grade footage. Not to mention the advanced storage options that can be used with a MacPro.


I have a Matrox MXO that I can presumably hook up via minidisplay-port to DVI adapter.

[Alexander Wolf] "And is a RAID 5 system connected thru FW 800 fast enough for EX material?"

Your going to loose the speed advantages of a that type of raid when you go and connect it via FW800. It's kinda like a 5 lane highway vs a 2 lane road.


Working with ProRes, FW800 is fine, I understand. I'll keep the security of RAID 5. In what sense will the speed loss manifest itself?


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