Video on your Hard Drives

Hey there fellow readers, today I’d like to discuss one of the most useful tips I’ve received which I found many of my peers (as I did) take for granted. Many times after the instillation of our NLE program s(avid, premier, final cut) we tend to jump right into throwing media from everywhere into our projects… Then after a few cuts things start moving really slowly, or not at all. We then start throwing tantrums at the machine or throw the machine across the room. *goosfraba* One of the most useful things I’ve learnt from discussions with the post production video community is a proper disk setup.

From my own experience it was ignorance that caused most of my raging. So filling that ignorance quelled most of my rage… I think. Back to the topic at hand; outside of proper system specs a key factor in editing speed is your hard disk setup.

Thanks to Harm Millard over by the Adobe forums for his already existing explanation.
An overly simplified explanation of the diagram above is that the more+faster disks; the better. A few other topics covered on the forums pertaining to disks are:

  • USB 2.0: Horrible speeds but sometimes our only choices. USB has shared bandwidth and the more devices connected the more the bandwidth is cut. eSATA, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt (soon) ftw!
  • SSD: Great for OS disks, but way too expensive for media disks. Good boot times, good program start-up times, low power consumption, no moving parts. Cost per GB is retarded currently and 10k rpm drives in raid work just as well for way less.
  • raid: Yes please. Preferably with a dedicated raid device/card.
  • Partition disk: You’re trying to get better speeds and performance from your disks… not cut them in half.

Current Mac systems don’t come equipped with the faster connections(with the exception of FW800 excellent for DV) so you’ll  have to shell out(some more) for the PCI-Express expansions of eSATA and USB 3.0.

I’d personally prefer 2x150gb 10,000rpm disks in raid for my OS and programs drive. Besides, who keeps important files on their OS disk anyway? For media I’d get 5x1tb 7200rpm disks in raid5. Great speeds and if one fails I can just swap it out without the fear of data loss.

The recommendations given were developed using Premier Pro, but from personal experience I can say it also works with Final Cut Pro. The only thing I use usb connected drives for now is backup… I just wish clients would stop sending me their media on said drives.

Feel free to comment, ask questions or criticize my currently horrible blog writing skills.

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