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Drobo + FCP might spell disaster

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Odette Scott
Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 29, 2012 at 2:04:44 am

Anyone have major issues with Drobo (4-bay) and FCP 6? I think my Drobo is pathetically slow. I'm talking extreme RT Extreme. I can't play 4 seconds of a sequence without the video freezing up.
Is this just a problem with Drobo? it makes a racket. I have 7200rpm drives in it, the disks are formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) and connected via FW800, my RT set to Unlimited, Lowest Playback Video Quality, Half Playback Frame Rate and it still won't play the video. I spent about a month going back and forth with a Drobo technician and his conclusion was that there's nothing wrong with the disks or the Drobo and that if I need faster drives I should install them directly into my computer (thus making his product completely obsolete) or consult FCP.
The funny thing is, the frequency of the dropped frames is much higher now than it was a few days ago. A few days ago this problem was tolerable. The footage is in AVCHD so I'm transferring it to Apple Pro Res 422 (normal) as I go. It means that I have more files on the drive now than I did a few days ago, but my scratch disk is still 50% empty so that shouldn't be an issue. This is just a rough edit so it is very basic chunks of material- no render files, effects and only 2 video and 2 audio tracks, the sequence settings match the clip settings.
Do you agree that I have to replace my scratch disk? What do you recommend? Is the LaCie 4big Quadra or G Tech G-Raid better? I make documentaries so I need a massive amount of space but I don't need redundancy (I'll back up the AVCHD files to the Drobo- put the sucker to work).
Thanks so much for your help!

MacBook Pro 17", Leopard, 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM
MacBook Pro 13", Snow Leopard 2.55 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM
FCP 6


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Michael Gissing
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 29, 2012 at 4:40:09 am

Drobo do make media drives, but my experience of the backup drives is that they are not fast enough for FCP work. Try downloading a free disk speed test software from AJA or Blackmagic to find out.


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Rob Grauert
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:31:09 pm

You picked the wrong product if you want performance. Drobos are ideal for safely storing your footage. Their propriety method for redundancy does not allow for the performance needed for video editing. And the more they fill up, the slower they become.

We use Drobos at my work - Drobo Pros to be exact. They were TERRIBLE at first. Getting them to mount was a pain in the neck, and their tech support is worse. We haven't had any success getting them to work consistently with the iSCSI connection, so we're limited to connecting via FW800.

Based on my personal opinion, get a G-RAID or G-Speed eS depending on the amount of space and performance you want. Of course, there are faster, better performing RAIDs out there, but I think G-Tech's products are suitable for MANY users and quite cost effective.

For backup I would use regular portable FW800 drives. In my opinion, the cost of Drobos doesn't balance out their crappy tech support or unreliable nature. Though, you already have a Drobo, so you may as well keep using it...

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Jeff Meyer
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 29, 2012 at 9:49:54 pm

How much space do you have left on the Drobo? I've heard they fill up the effectiveness of the "BeyondRAID" technology breaks down and the data transfer rates drop.

Running the AJA System Test on a G-Speed ES in RAID5 I just scored a 158Mb/s write and 175MB/s read. On a nearly full G-RAID connected over eSATA I got 196 write and 241 read.


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Odette Scott
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:21:01 pm

One of the things the Drobo technician had me do was remove the disk in the top bay, thus forcing Drobo to reorganize the data on the disks. It didn't speed them up at all but I kept working for a few days until I noticed that the Drobo was 75% full. Then I followed the technician's directions to replace the drive. That's when speeds plummeted. Now the Drobo is 50% full. I'm waiting to hear back from the technician. For the record, Drobo support has not been bad: they have stuck with the problem and responded promptly. But they haven't solved the issue and still maintain that Drobo is fit for video editing when it's obvious that it is not.

I bought a G-RAID today. It wasn't my first choice but I needed something ASAP. I'm copying my capture scratch folder onto it now. I'll keep my original AVCHD files on the Drobo but I'm worried that it won't be able to keep up with logging and transferring and I don't want to move my AVCHD files to the G-RAID. So fingers crossed it will work to pull the original files off the Drobo to tranfer them in log and tranfer and store the Pro Res files on the G-Raid. I'll try to backup the Pro Res files onto the Drobo as best I can, thus only using it for what it is made for- storage.

Does anyone know if the eSATA ExpressCard/34 adapters work? I'm editing on a 17" MacBook Pro and I'd like to get the fastest speeds I can. But for $40 (by Sonnet) it is kind of pricy and the Sonnet FW400 ExpressCard/34 adapter I used to use was always popping out and was a real hazard and pain.

Thanks for your brain power!


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Rob Grauert
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 30, 2012 at 1:50:38 am

If you replaced a drive, take a look at what Drobo Dashboard is telling you. The speed may have plummeted because the Drobo is rebuilding the redundancy.

Sorry, no advice for the eSATA adapter as I edit on a Mac Pro, but it's certainly faster than FW400

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Rob Grauert
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:28:43 pm

Yea, you're right. The more full they are they slower they become. There is a point where the speed drop dramatically. One of our Drobo sets has reached that point and I remember it taking hours to transfer about 36GB. I haven't had a chance to clean up that set yet...

But even before you reach that point I still feel they aren't a product that delivers performance.

Rob Grauert, Jr.
http://www.robgrauert.com
command-r.tumblr.com


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Karel Hewanicki
Re: Drobo + FCP might spell disaster
on Oct 9, 2013 at 10:40:38 pm

Well, for us, the problem is the Drobo Dashboard SW. I tested the nearly full Drobo on a computer without the Dashboard installed and the performance was just fine. Once the Dashboard gets installed, FCP craps out.
I think it is somehow related to QuickTime, though. I tried to play the movie files with QT and the picture does not even load, nor does it play with the Dashboard installed.
On the other hand, when I play the files with VLC and the Dashboard installed, they play just fine.

Everything works just fine when the Dashboard is uninstalled, though.


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