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Olivier Prudhomme
Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 17, 2014 at 10:00:55 pm

I am wondering what set up I should get for my home studio as far as External HD.
I am getting small paid jobs that do not allow me to invest thousands of dollars but that force me to updgrade my set up so I have a minimum safety net in case things go wrong.

I have a MP 2009

Internal storage:
250Gb SSD
300Gb 7200rpm
1TB 5400rpm

External storage
2 Tb Cal digit VR Raid - but I am not using the Raid function 0-1-2-3 or whatever.... Never understood how it works since if the drive fries or dies.... don't all the partition die with it?
3 Tb gdrive
1 Tb gdrive

Using surge protector for everything

Since it's a 2009 MBP I do not have USB2 or thundrbolt capabilities.

Any suggestions on how to optimize my set up?

Thanks in advance!


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Michael Cheung
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 17, 2014 at 11:22:21 pm

Hi there,

You seem to have quite a combo of different hard drives there, one of the more annoying side effects of working in this industry.

First, raid 0 is where the data is written across two hard drives meaning you can write and read things quickly. Raid 1 is where the second drive is a mirror or a copy of the first. The first has the benefit of double the capacity, higher speed, but if you lose one drive...you lose all the data. The second, raid 1, you are OK to lose a drive and your data is safe. But it's slower and half the capacity. Assuming your raid is a 2 drive raid, those are the only two options you have for raid configurations.

I recommend you setup your raid in raid 0 as your main media drive. I recommend you set up your 3tb external as a daily backup to that raid. This 3tb can also be a backup of your OS drive.

Your 7200rpm drive can be your project and render drive? Your other gdrive could be the backup to this drive.

The way I like to set up is having everything run as quickly as possible and backup to another drive.

Michael Cheung
http://filmcutter.blogspot.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 18, 2014 at 2:46:08 pm

Just to be contrary, I'd opine that setting up a RAID for maximum speed makes less sense when you're limited to the speed of your USB connections.

I think what you really need to do is add the cost of a new RAID archival drive to your bill for each project you take on, or refuse to do the jobs. Preferably, RAID 5 which balances speed with safety.

If you are not billing enough to afford to back-up projects, you're seriously low-balling yourself, and this will never improve for you, until you charge serious money for serious effort. You have to decide if this is just a hobby, or serious business. Just my opinion.


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Michael Cheung
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 18, 2014 at 3:17:11 pm

Mark is correct to point out that productions should pay for archiving and working media. However, I also understand what it's like when starting out (if that's where you are in your career) where you are trying to take on as many projects as you can and not charging what you would charge ideally because the short films don't have budgets. It's not ideal, but this is what happens.

I think it's important to understand the technology that you have in your possesion and be clear to clients who can't afford to pay what they should, that you are not archiving their project forever. This way you are able to streamline what technology you have into a stable environment.

Mark is also correct to point out that you are limited by your connection speed to your external drive. However, the drive you mention is a 2 drive raid, so you only have 3 options, Raid 0, Raid 1 or JBOD. I still think with (presumably) a firewire 800 connection you'll want raid 0 and backup to your slower drives. But it's a good idea to test it. Understand the limits. What happens if you are cutting with ProRes 422? and ProRes 422 HQ? What if you go higher? At least then, you know how you need the footage from the client.

Michael Cheung
http://filmcutter.blogspot.com


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 19, 2014 at 5:33:07 am

Hey Mark
I am in Los Angeles. What would you charge for a 2 min spot, straight editing, no gfx
Maybe I am lowballing my bid.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 19, 2014 at 6:29:49 am

As much as I could get, and you probably are.

More seriously, "straight editing" of what, exactly? Just because it's 2 minutes long doesn't necessarily make it easy to cut. On "Apocalypse Now, they famously were making great progress to make one.cut. per day. i'd have to know what it is, and how much raw material I have to work with. In the news world, it's easier: you take all the time you can until just before the deadline, and no more.

What I would charge is probably not what you would charge. You should not care too much what others charge, but know that you're somewhere int he upper half of what's locally customary for similar work, while at the same time getting AT LEAST your minimum hourly rate. That's the rate at which, if you worked any cheaper, you should trade your mouse for a spatula. Have you done the exercises to determine your true hourly rate yet? Takes a bit of time and calculation, but very very worth it.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 21, 2014 at 10:10:47 pm

[Mark Suszko] ""straight editing" of what, exactly? Just because it's 2 minutes long doesn't necessarily make it easy to cut"

Hey Mark,
It is exactly a 2:30 spot was a huge american corporation.
The footage comes from several HD sources but only 2 formats so easy to convert.
The script was written by the company. Per my request they gave me a detailed script with Audio/Video so they had an idea of what visual would support their copy.
I had to pick the music tracks which was pretty time consuming because the spot was "corporate" but the client didn't want it feel that way. So music and editing technics made the spot more upbeat and tasteful.
I also created a open gfx and and endpage.
I directed the VO session/

I was paid $3300. What would you have charged?
Did I lowball too much?

Does it seem fair?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 21, 2014 at 11:56:21 pm

"I was paid $3300. What would you have charged?
Did I lowball too much?

Does it seem fair?
"

How many hours did you take?


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 22, 2014 at 12:01:31 am

didn't really count (which I know I should) since it was a side gig. I worked from home at night a few hours here and there and on weekends over a period of 2 weeks. If I'd have to guess I'd say a good 60hours which in LA is a week of work in a lot of places where they hire you for the day.
I would charged more if it was my only income but it's not and it creates a relationship with the client.
Every job they give me I slowly increase the rates as they understand / see why we (editors) need to be paid for what we do.
What do you charge for things like this?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 22, 2014 at 12:40:14 am

I didn't really count (which I know I should) since it was a side gig.

WRONGWRONGWRONGWRONG. Always count.


I worked from home at night a few hours here and there and on weekends over a period of 2 weeks. If I'd have to guess I'd say a good 60hours which in LA is a week of work in a lot of places where they hire you for the day.

$3300 /60 hours=$55.00/hour. Some places, that's average. A lotta places, that's low. Especially if you're self-employed. By the time you take out taxes and etc. that's more like $30 an hour. Take out some more towards upgrading those hard drive arrays, your "profit" is closer to $20 an hour. Not bad for some. But you could do better.


I would have charged more if it was my only income but it's not and it creates a relationship with the client.

This is a very bad practice to get into. You have one, established rate; you charge your rate, or you do it free as a charity, but you don't discount the rate just to get the work. The rate is that number, below which, you are losing money and should be doing something else. The "relationship" with the client has to be based on you as a person and the work you do, not the price. Clients have a price-based "relationship" with commodities like reams of copier paper, brands of mustard, boxes of dog biscuits or diapers. Not people. Not craftsmen, as you are trying to become. You are commoditizing yourself and that's totally the wrong way to go, because it takes away all the distinctions about who you are and how you do what you do, and puts all the emphasis on a number. And In LA, there are literally a hundred hungry guys and gals fresh out of film schools, and more every week, waiting to take your place. And a bunch more overseas with a fast internet connection willing to work even cheaper.



Every job they give me, I slowly increase the rates as they understand / see why we (editors) need to be paid for what we do.

Well, that's good in theory, however, I think many more people that you ask here will agree with me, that if you start out with a "lowball" rate, you will find it very hard to negotiate it upwards with the same clients. They will insist on keeping the rate the same as when you started, and they will rather leave you and go with someone else, who is also low-balling their prices, than accept slow rate creep. They also have a tendency to tell others what your low rate is, and now you have the reputation for being the cheapest guy around, not the best guy. Every new gig that comes up, you can expect to hear; "Hey, that's not what you charged so-and-so: are we not as good as HIM!?!?!"

Lowballing your price depresses rates for everyone around you, so don;t be surprised to get the cold shoulder in your local production community from peers.

The first rule of negotiation is: they have to believe you will walk away rather than accept a too-low number. And YOU have to believe it too. If you can't walk away, they own you, and will always dictate the terms of your jobs to you. Terms you will not like. You have to decide, today, is this is a hobby, a charity or a business for you. It can't be all three.

Sorry for the roughness of the talk, but you needed to hear it straight, from a neutral party, before you make any more mistakes. Promise you will look up the archived rate threads in the Business and Marketing section of the COW and work the examples there to determine what YOUR rate needs to be.

Best of luck!


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 22, 2014 at 12:57:57 am

great points Mark! I don't agree with all of them but I want to step back and read again.

I have to clarify that my post might have been misleading but I am TV editor and I work in L.A. in a network and get paid $75/hour.
I just wanted to specify because this might explain why I take on side jobs for less money because they are pretty painless and at the end of the year it is an extra $15K and when I look back I am really happy for the extra cash and also the things I learn in the process.

BUT I totally agree as far as setting bad habits for the clients. I am constantly angry when I see companies looking for pro editors with TV experience who can also graphic design for.... $250 / day!!!
As a pro editor I do NOT accept these jobs. The "best" I can do is... $450/day for a couple days...

The pb is that the company who hires me doesn't know anything about video related work. They always approach me saying "it's a simple project.... only 2-3 min long". So I am "educating" them by showing them why they have to pay more everytime. Over the last 5 years I was able to bring in gfx designers, a sound mixer and the last add-on was VO recording... in a real studio.
And to show you that I really care about not giving them bad habits, I always ask the mixer and the designers to charge their actual rate.

But again, thanks for this conversation.


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Olivier Prudhomme
Re: Home studio: storage set up question
on Nov 19, 2014 at 5:40:01 am

[Michael Cheung] "I recommend you setup your raid in raid 0 as your main media drive. I recommend you set up your 3tb external as a daily backup to that raid. This 3tb can also be a backup of your OS drive.
"


How do you back up daily? Drag and drop or is there another way?

Also what confuses me is the whole Raid 1 option.

If the drive dies... is it usually one drive that dies or could it be the whole "box"...
Then, am I supposed to be able to simply open the box and take the drive out?...

WHen one drive dies, do I know it died and am I asked to relink to the back up drive or is it done automatically?


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