Best external HD for video editing?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Bexhill, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    #1
    So I bought a T3i a while ago to shoot video projects with and was having some trouble with the footage I got off it (I made another post earlier; thanks for your help narrowing my problem down). It now looks like the problem is my external hard drive. It's a 1TB MyBook Studio with a FireWire 800 connection that I bought about two years ago and has served me well for editing up to this point. It looks like the files from the T3i are too much for it to handle, and when I import them to the drive some end up with corruptions like in the attached screenshot. Importing them to my desktop works fine, but the SSD in my laptop is small and not a realistic storage option.

    So my question is: if I go out to buy a new external specifically for editing video from this camera, what should I go for? Speed seems to be my main concern; I thought the MyBook was pretty fast but I guess it's not up to par. Is FireWire still a good bet for editing, or is USB 3.0 the way to go? Thunderbolt? Are traditional hard drives fast enough or should I be looking at SSDs? Any particular models or brands you've had luck with? Ideally I'd like to stay on the cheap side, but I'd rather have guaranteed quality. 1TB or more would be the size I'd want. Any advice is appreciated; thanks!
     

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  2. macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #2
    you'll want to go with FW800 at least. In terms of brands, G-Tech drives are use mostly in the industry. I have 4 of them (12TB in total) and for the most part are fine. My last one needed to be reformatted as it wasn't formatted correctly.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #3
    FW 800 but NOT USB3.
    Thunderbolt is your olny other option for laptop.
    You did not specify laptop or desktop.
    There is eSata too. That's just as fast as an internal drive. But on a laptop you will need an express port... only found on the 17" macbooks
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #4
    To what format are you transcoding? I've found I have issues with prores 444 on anything but eSATA or internal drives (and even then sometimes) but prores 422 and lower are okay over firewire 800.

    Your disk might also be fragmented. OSX's built in defragger isn't great.

    I would just transcode to lower quality video. 422 should work and looks great and even lower settings will be fine with dSLR footage.

    You can also use RAID arrays for editing and back up to a regular hard drive, which is less likely to fail.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    #5
    OK, I'll look at FW800 and Thunderbolt-- 800 is what I have already so I was concerned that wasn't good enough. I can't find specs on how fast that MyBook is, so maybe it's not the connection that's causing the problem there. That'd be nice, as all the Thunderbolt drives I can find are really expensive. G-drives do look like a possibility.

    For the record, I have a 2.9 GHz 13" MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM; it has USB, Thunderbolt and FW800. I have a 128GB SSD built in. I transcode to ProRes 422, and maybe the drive I had would be OK if I transcoded first before I put the files on there. The problem is that if I dump the raw files from the T3i (H.264 .movs) onto the drive, it creates compression artifacts before I can transcode them. I'll try importing them to the laptop's SSD and transcoding them before dumping them to the drive next time; it's just a problem of freeing up enough space.

    When you all transcode your footage, do you hang on to the original files? I feel like I could keep using this drive if I didn't have to store the raw H.264, which it doesn't seem to like.
     
  6. macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #6
    What do you mean compression artifacts? I dump my footage and then convert to 422 with out a hitch.
    yes, I keep the original files.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    #7
    Maybe "compression artifacts" isn't the right term since they show up before I transcode-- some of the H.264 files I dump on the drive will play back with pixellation and glitches like in the screenshot I included in the original post. This happens as soon as I put the files on the external drive, so backing the original files up there doesn't seem to be a good option.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    #8
    You can check your drive speed with blackmagic's free utility.

    But fw800 is fast enough. Most drives should be fast enough. 200mb/sec is way under 100MB/sec that most drives sustain or 800mb/sec that firewire 800 sustains.

    It sounds like your external drive might be weird or broken. That's not a normal phenomenon...
     
  9. macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria
    #9
    Or your card could have problems with it. Some bad blocks on it could be the case. I have never had that happen.
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    #10
    has nothing to do with the drive.

    At least from my experience. The T3i shoots on H.264 with a heavily compressed video format, not much different from HDV/miniDV in terms of data bitrate. I've shot things on my 7D, which shoots essentially the same format as T3i, and edited on a FW400 hdd.

    So like one other person said, it's more likely, your card that you record to. It's either not fast enough to handle footage consistently or there's data corruption in which it needs to be formatted or replaced. Get cards that will have a throughput of 40MB/sec or higher.

    The only way you'd see such artifacts like the one I see on your screenshot is if the camera is not recording properly. At least that's what I've experienced and I've been doing videography/cinematography for quite a bit of time. Though I'm totally open to being wrong.
     
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    #11
    Yeah, I felt like the card was the most likely culprit too, so I bought a brand-new Extreme Pro SD card with a 95 MB/sec rate. The very first footage I shot with it exhibited the same problems. When I play the clips back on the camera, or put the SD card in my laptop and open them in QuickTime directly off the card, there are no problems. If I transfer the clips to my laptop's SSD, there are no problems. But as soon as those raw files hit the external hard drive, a few of them will get artifacts.

    So since it sounds like the drive really should be fast enough, maybe there is something wrong with it. It's only two years old and about 1/3 full, and I haven't moved it around a lot, but somebody on another forum suggested I reformat it. If I can find the space on another drive to back this stuff up, I'll give that a go. Anyone know how I can find out if the drive itself is broken or about to die?
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    matteusclement

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    victoria

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