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Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?

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Tommy Bunnz
Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?
on Mar 21, 2012 at 11:33:03 pm

Hey, I'm seeing a lot of posts on users working off External Hard Drives while editing on FCP. I was always instructed in film school (not that that means anything) to work from the desktop being that coming from an external drive takes longer and can produce dropped frames...

I happen to be in a pickle where I'm limited on space on my Mac Mini (Don't Laugh) 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo w/8GB RAM. I wouldn't mind working off an external drive, but I want to make sure that I am maximizing speed with what I have currently. I do have a Lacie d2 Quadra with FW800 which Mini supports. Should I just house all my media there before and after ProRes?


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?
on Mar 22, 2012 at 12:02:42 am

With a Mac Mini you SHOULD use an external drive, as there's only one internal drive.

The main don'ts of hard drives and video editing:
• Don't use the system drive. Whichever drive has Mac OS, Windows, or whatever platform you're using shouldn't have your media on it.
• Don't use USB. USB sends data in bursts, but video is a stream of data.

Buy a firewire based hard drive and put your media/projects on the drive. Don't forget to buy a backup drive. With hard drives the question isn't if they will fail, it is when.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?
on Mar 22, 2012 at 12:06:37 am

And get back to your tutors at film school and tell them to read the manual. Media should never be on the system drive.

What happens when you want to take the project to a facility to grade & online? Must be on an decent external so do it as Jeff advises.


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Tommy Bunnz
Re: Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?
on Mar 22, 2012 at 3:28:46 am

And Mike, I'm gonna go back to the school and demand a refund... lol jk Thanks bro..


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Tommy Bunnz
Re: Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?
on Mar 22, 2012 at 3:27:47 am

Thanks Jeff, that helps a lot. I have a Lacie Fire Wire 800 1TB External that I'll use, and I'll def get a another storage drive for Back Up. What are your thoughts on USB 3.0?


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Working From External Drive In FCP (Dangerous)?
on Mar 22, 2012 at 4:32:44 am

Glad to help out.

Since you're working on a Mac USB3 is next to useless. USB3 is a BluRay kind of scenario. It's an industry-standard technology that Apple hasn't supported because they want you to use something else. We're getting to the point where their stubbornness is becoming an annoyance for the end user. All Macs still ship with USB2 ports exclusively. The new port that Apple wants to see you using is called Thunderbolt Because it's a very new technology, Thunderbolt drives are still rather expensive. My advice is to stick to firewire 800 and daisy-chain drives if needed.


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