Choosing a suitable hard drive

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by macstatic, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. macstatic macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #1
    Having bought a 15" Powerbook G4 (the latest, current model) a couple of weeks ago I'm now trying to figure out what I need for editing my (mini-DV) home videos. The plan is to start off with iMovie, then upgrade to Final cut express if I find out I need more.

    As for storage I'm going for an external Firewire drive and have already bought the enclosure (an OWC Mercury Elite Al) which has all 4 connections available (Firewire 400, 800, USB 1.1 and 2.0). I plan to hook it up to the Powerbook via Firewire 800, then use the Firewire 400 connector for the camcorder.


    The question now is: which drive mechanism should I buy and how much space do I need?
    Being concerned with drive noise I've been told that Seagate's Barracuda series used to be the ones to go for, but no longer. Samsung is apparently the leader in that direction. Their biggest (ATA) drives however are "only" at 400 Gbytes (Samsung HD400LD), and apparently not released yet. Any views or comments on this?

    I've got quite a lot of holiday videos to edit, and will also be using the same drive for audio (Logic express, Cubase, Garageband etc.) as a virtual recording studio, but nothing professional. Just for home/hobby use for now.
    So, being a newbie in this, how does a 400 GB drive sound, given what I'll be using it for? Is it a lot of space? Could I do well with an even smaller drive, or is even 400 GB not enough? Other brands such as Seagate have 500 GB drives available, but the noise issue is important to me.
     
  2. twoodcc macrumors P6

    twoodcc

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    #2
    i think 400 gb sounds good. you might get by with 300, but it wouldn't hurt to go ahead with 400. as far as what brand of hard-drive, it's up to you i guess. i've never had a bad experience with any hard-drive, and i've had several different brands.
     
  3. Danksi macrumors 68000

    Danksi

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Location:
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    #3
    I'm running a 300Gb drive inside a http://www.hotway.com.tw/products/hd6.htm for my video editing (hobby) and the drive is very very quiet.

    I noticed the CDN$/Gb seems to be linear with 200Gb, 250Gb and 300Gb - then takes a leap in price for 400+ Gb drives.

    So I'm looking at another 300Gb drive for the Lan-Drive/FTP server enclosure I'm looking at - http://www.hotway.com.tw/products/hd9.htm (for network storing and FTP sharing the finished video's etc)
     
  4. macstatic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #4
    Thanks for those comments.
    Those storage space numbers really don't tell me anything, so to get an idea: how many hours of mini-DV video (with its stereo audio track of course) will say a 300 or 400 GB drive be able to take?

    I've never done any video editing either, so I wouldn't know anything about the procedure/workflow, but imagine that the more space I have on the drive, the easier it would be to get access to a lot of different clips all at once.
     
  5. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #5
    An hour of regular (non HD) DV footage will be 13GB or so. iMovie HD is non-destructive so if you edit a video clip that is 10 minute and only use 2 minutes of it, those other 8 minutes don't get wiped and the video will still take up 10 minutes of 'space' on your HD. It only deletes clips if you're not using any of the audio or video from it.

    Not sure that spare space on your HD drive is really going to speed things up exponentially though; I don't think it really works that way since nothing is being done in virtual memory on it. Extra RAM (more than the PB's standard 512MB) would help though.
     
  6. macstatic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #6
    13 GB/hour! That's not bad at all. 10 hours of video would "only" take 130 Gbytes of disk space, so 300 or 400 GB sounds to me like enough. I would also have some space left for music recording as well.

    Not quite sure if I understand the non-destructive stuff, but let me rephrase my question with a little guesswork:

    Let's say I have 10 hours worth of Mini-DV videotapes (from a regular camcorder, no HD or anything) which I transfer over to the computer via a Firewire 400 cable (6 pin/4 pin) and store on the external hard drive.
    I then continue by taking the clips I like from those 10 hours of video which in the end will become a 1 hour finished, edited video (which I will burn to a/several DVD(s) to be played on regular DVD players).

    Now, when talking needed disk-space, will this result in 10+1 hours=11 hours, or won't the clips become copied over to the edited version, but the edited version simply contains references to the original recordings, thereby the edited version will take up a lot less space?
     
  7. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #7
    I'm currently working on a 2hr 30 or so (some clips now deleted) project which is an iMovie project of about 31GB.

    I expect it to come in at about 20 minutes worth of final video. Unless I import lots of pictures/music, that iMovie project will stay around around 31GB.

    I only need additional space when I export the 20 minutes of final video - and how much I need depends on how I export it. If I export it as DV, then yes, it will be taking up 13GB/hour again but it will only be the finished project (none of the excess material will be there). If you're doing it to DVD, then it will depend on your encoding choices. The iMovie project retains everything that you've used part of so it stays at the 30GB or so.
     
  8. macstatic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2005
    #8
    So I'm correct in saying that the clips aren't copied to the final video, but rather references are made to the various locations on the original video clips?

    So doing an "export" means to actually make a backup copy of the stuff you're working on, with no changes to the quality, while "encoding" means that it has to be converted to a format which regular DVD players can use?
    (sort of like my experience with making audio CDs where I gather a bunch of AIFF audio files, then burn the CD where the result is no longer a CD with AIFF data files, but an audio CD).

    Does this encoded DVD become smaller in size than the actual data it contains?
     
  9. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #9
    Yup...

    Exporting can be both... You can export to various formats - DV (to put it back on your camcorder or to make a lossless backup), QT to put it online or on your iPod which will use various encoders to shrink the file.

    If you export it to DVD, then yes, the encoded DVD will be smaller in size than the original. If you're using iMovie/iDVD, you can get an hour at good quality or up to 2 hours at slightly less quality.
     
  10. macstatic thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2005
    #10
    Ah! Things are getting a little clearer now :)

    A "lossless backup" could for example be used as the source for making a new edited video?
    Since I have a lot of Mini-DV videotapes (1 hour each) it would probably make things a lot easier for me if I could transfer all of them over to DVDs. That way I could much easier import new clips (if I'm not misinformed, "capturing" video from the camcorder over to the computer is in realtime: getting 1 hour of video from the camcorder into the computer will take 1 hour) while I assume that once the video-data is on the computer, burnt on to a blank DVD it wouldn't take long to transfer it back to the computer?

    So is my assumption correct when I say that there are two different DVD video formats, where the first one is video in the form of data files (like AIFF files of songs taken from an audio CD) while the other format is the actual DVD playback format (like movie DVDs you buy in the store, or similar to audio CDs which contain songs)?

    I suppose I would have to split the video data file into several smaller pieces since a DVD can only take 4.7 GB, so an hour worth of video would take about 3 DVDs. My Powerbook also has the ability to burn dual-layer DVDs, but I really don't know much about this stuff yet.


    I'm sure it would be a good idea to burn two different types of the finished material: a "data" DVD which I could use for later in case I want to re-edit my edited video, and of course the "video-DVD" which would be playable on any DVD player.

    Another question: when doing an "export", is it possible to export only the actual video clips that you're using (say 20 minutes of video in your example) to a data-DVD/DVDs, or would you need to transfer the complete original source videos (2 1/2 hours in your example) to a data-DVD/DVDs?
     
  11. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #11
    Um, now you're getting me confused! I've only been playing with this for a few months myself!

    When you import the video from the camcorder to iMovie, it will sit inside the iMovie bundle (you can't see it in the Finder unless you look inside the project bundle). It gets imported as lots of .dv files from your camcorder. I can't see there being anything to stop you copying those .dv files onto another backup form (DVD, external drive) except space.

    It would be quicker bringing them back in again although it would still have to be imported into iMovie or whatever editing package you're looking at. It will be slightly quicker than rehooking up the camcorder but not much (unless what you are looking for is strewn across multiple tapes)
     

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