External HDD for video editing?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Willy S, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. Willy S macrumors 6502

    May 8, 2005
    Hi all,

    I need an external hard disk that I will be using for video editing and storing some stuff since my 80GB internal HDD is full.

    I was thinking of buying 250-300GB and I wonder if 8MB buffer would be enough? I´m also going to buy an external firewire box, and I wonder if the cheap no brand boxes are ok?

    All advice is appreciated!

  2. Sic macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2005
    Southampton UK
    i'm no mac expert, by any means...but i *think* your computer is firewire 800? if it is, get a firewire 800 enclosure (i'm personally using the Pleiades one) and to be on the safe side, get 16Mb buffer. i reckon it'd be worth it for video editing

    of course, if you dont have firewire 800, ignore me ;)
  3. Willy S thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 8, 2005
    No, I understand all iMacs G5 have firewire 400.

    But I have one more question, can I use a serial ATA hard drive? I understand they are better than EIDE.
  4. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    While SATA external hard drive are becoming a reality, your iMac doesn't have an external SATA port. You'll have to settle for USB or Firewire.
  5. iPhil macrumors 68040




    The 16MB cache on a size of the Drive your looking @ .. I would surely @ 16MB cache of harddrives.. the 8MB will lag in video editing and you'll reget it.

    Here's a site of a HDD that im looking @ for back-up and running tiger on thru firewire..


  6. ScubaDuc macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2003
    In my limited experience with a G4, I had no problems doing video editing on an external hard disk. I did however experience problems when I tried to acquire the video saving it directly on the external HD. I suspect it's because the two firewire 400 on the G4 are "shared". I did have better transfer rates when I used the drive on USB2 while acquiring via firewire. I mentioned I have limited experience for I figured it wasn't worth the hussle and swithched the HDs :rolleyes:
  7. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    Check someplace like Best Buy, CompUSA, Fry's (and their online store, Outpost.com) for some cheap drives. Don't count on the rebates, but they're nice if you can get them. Get one with a 3-5 year warranty and the 16MB is preferrable (so probably a Maxtor). You don't have to get an expensive case, but don't cheap out too much. Newegg has some good ones, but I bought a bottom of the barrell case, and it had a lot of issues. So did it's replacement. I got an external fw case with multiple bays in it off of eBay awhile ago, and it was really nice. I think I'm going to get another one for my new iMac.

  8. kgarner macrumors 68000


    Jan 28, 2004
    Not that I am reccomendig this, but I have never had a problem capturing from my camera to an external drive. I have done so on two hard drives (a Seagate 40 GB (not sure of cache) in a generic case and a 2.5" LaCie 40 GB) and on three computers (a G4 500 MHz, a Dual 867 MHz G4, and my current Mini).

    Like I said, I prefer to capture to an internal drive when possible, but I did not experience any ill effects by capturing to the externals (i.e. no dropped frames or corrupt video, etc.). By all means, get the biggest and best drive you can afford though.

    In fact, I once captured onto the LaCie from the following configuration. Mini > Seagate External > LaCie > camera. All daisy chained together.
  9. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    I wouldn't worry about an 8mb buffer. All i've ever worked on was 8mb buffer equipped drives (internal and external), and never had any issues.
  10. Aliquis macrumors regular


    Oct 4, 2004
    Oh my gosh. 8MB buffer is going to be fine, especially if you're spinning a 7200 RPM drive. You're interface on the enclosure needs to be okay quality and a lot of cheap cases will work fine. There is no need to stress out on the 16 meg buffer, unless you're extremely paranoid.

    Anyway- at anyrate, there are some very inexpensive cases, and some awesome rebates on large capacity drives.

    Seagate at CompUSA had some 200 GB for 49 after rebate.
  11. TheMonarch macrumors 65816


    May 6, 2005
    Bay Area

    I bough my 7200rpm 200GB 8MB maxtor (or something like that) for 80 bucks, no rebate at office depot (Don't they usually overprice things though?). Thats pretty low $ per GB... Wouldn't getting 2 X 200GB or something be better for FC?
  12. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    An 8MB buffer will be fine.

    Be careful about building your own. I got a cheap enclosure and it won't put the drive to sleep, I have to eject the drive and turn the power off to get it to stop spinning. My LaCie drive is much nicer, it sleeps after a certain time of no activity and it looks a lot better.
  13. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    8mb buffer is fine for consumer editing. Heck, I have a pair of 2mb buffer drives I used to use for DV editing and had no issues.

    Beware of cheap FW cases. All enclosures are not built the same. There's lots of wiggle room in the FW spec and cheaper enclosures will have cheaper chipsets and won't adhere as closely to the spec which will cause problems.

  14. macstatic macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    More external harddrive questions

    Since I'm about to start video editing I have much of the same questions :)

    I'm getting myself a 15" Powerbook G4 in a couple of weeks (the updated and latest version) and want to get an external hard drive of some sort. It'll be used for both (Mini-DV) home-video editing (I'm going to see if iMovie is good enough first, then possibly move on to Final cut express or something if I find iMovie too limited for my use), and also for making/recording music (audio/MIDI). Haven't decided on which software to use for this, but people seem to say a lot of good things about Logic Express (for semi-pro musicians).

    1) Hard drive enclosures: I think I'm going to go for OWC's Mercury Elite-AL pro enclosure which has Firewire 400/800 and USB connectors. And it looks great!
    Alternatively I've been looking at OWC's Mercury Elite-AL pro RAID with Firewire 400/800. I was thinking that if I need a second drive for backup purposes I could fit them both in the same enclosure (I don't think I need RAID for home use) and save money on two separate enclosures, the additional power adapter etc. but I'm not sure if it's possible to configure it this way.
    I'd be very interested to hear what kind of experiences people have had with these enclosures.

    2) How much disk space would I need? I'm basically clueless. There's drives from 40 GB up to 500 GB. I know that most people would say "get as much space as you can afford", but if I end up buying a 500 GB and only use 120 GB of it at the most it's a huge waste of money :eek:

    I have a lot of Mini-DV videotapes from my holidays which I need to edit to make a movie (or several), and if I'm not mistaken, 1 hour of Mini-DV (PAL format) with its stereo audio track takes around 13 Gbytes? Is this correct?
    What about musical projects, such as making my own songs? I'm even more clueless there, so please give me a hint someone.

    3) The hard drive mechanism itself: I see there's some discussions about the buffer size of the drive: 16 or 8 Mbytes. Also, which speed (RPM) should I go for? 7200 or 10 000 RPM?
    Another important factor for me is noise -I want to work in a quiet environment, so no "jet engine" or "vacuum cleaner" hard drive for me! I've heard people say a lot of good things about Seagate drives, but also about Hitachi (though everybody seems to have different views on which one is the better brand, so this gets confusing as well)
    Finally, which interface should the drive have to be used with one of the mentioned enclosures? ATA, IDE, SATA, parallell IDE, serial IDE? It gets pretty confusing :confused:

    4) Transfer speeds: Since the Powerbook has Firewire 800 support I suppose I should use that for the best possible transfer speed. But when I transfer the video from the camcorder to the Mac with the help of Firewire, and that data as then stored on the external hard drive (which is also connected via Firewire), will this cause a bottleneck problem?
    What's the best possible solution for me?

    5) Discussion forums: Are there any specific Macintosh related video-editing forums around? I've found a few for audio, but nothing for video.

  15. iPhil macrumors 68040



    The 10K rpm drives are only up to 73Gb drive size right now .. So i would say 7200 rpm drive because you alot more choices as in drive size and if your gonna use above 300Gb drive its worth it to have 16Mb cache on that drive..

    If your going less than 300Gb drive like 200 then its fine with 8MB cache ..

    but on the separate drives in a single case not using raid format .. the answer i don't have but someone with alot more expertise in that area would help ya with it ..

    i found some information on dv format use on Hdd space:

    Using Quicktime Pro (about $30) you can open the .dv files and cut and paste them into individual segments (dv is about 4.5 minutes per gb, so for safety sake you can consider each segment about 18 minutes), export these into individual .dv files, and burn each segment onto its own dvd-r. If you need to reconstruct the projects, you would need to do the reverse - copy all the segments back to the Mac's hard drive, use QTPro to re-assemble the segments into the original length files, and bring them back into iMovie.

    thats a rough guess on the dv file size in GB..

    where i got that information from is:


    Edit: The other plan would involve using a miniDV camcorder and playing the assembled iMovies out to a new blank cassette (preferably in SP mode, not LP, as that might cause problems later on). Since a 25gb dv file works out to be about 112 minutes, you are still going to have to break the files up to get that to work.

    thats the rest of the information from above, i didnt see it on first post because i had the top half of information just above bottom of the page :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

  16. Mhaddy macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2005
    Enclosures for SATA->USB/Firewire are extremely hard to find. This one is the only one that I could find and was available in Canada. If you haven't already bought a HDD, I'd recommend going IDE because there is a wider variety and availability of enclosures for them.
  17. iPhil macrumors 68040




    I found a case that will use a SATA drive then transfer to firewire here:


    But right now i would stick with EIDE way thru firewire since its cheaper..

    There are SATA cases to FW but your gonna pay a premium for it ..

    Edit: the link above is including drive also..

    Just the case only is here:


  18. solvs macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    You can never have enough disk space. Never. Get all you can afford as long as the price/MB is worth it.
  19. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    solvs is right. I've currently got >800 GB of space on my Power Mac G5, including two firewire drives. I have less than 100GB total free right now, and I'm going to be capturing a few more hours of video later today. Video editing will take up all the hard drive space you can get at least if you're doing serious amounts of editing. I'm not saying you need 800 GB, but get as much as you can afford. Not only will you need enough space to store the video you're capturing, but you'll also want plenty of room to work with for rendering and DVD encoding.

    To answer your first question, I use a Maxtor firewire drive for video editing. It has a 16 MB cache, but is a FireWire 400 drive. It works fine for video editing, both capturing and playback. In fact, it seems just as good as an internal drive when I'm using it.
  20. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
    I'm looking at getting some LaCie externals for just this purpose.

    Hopefully starting out with a 500GB, then adding another, and another. One for photos and music, one for video, another for backup. Just stacking them up as I get the funds.
  21. JDOG_ macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    I have two external HDs and they work gloriously.

    One is a Maxtor Onetouch 250 gig/7200/combo connect with 8mb buffer.

    The other is a Western Digital 300 gig/7200 combo connect with 8mb buffer.

    Don't build your own unless you're on a super tight budget. It's a pain and there's usually no support if something goes wrong in the first few days. I'd say build your own if you get a great deal on an HD and buy a quality enclosure.

    Good luck.
  22. macstatic macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    OK, I understand that I need a lot of hard drive space, but I also see that a question like this brings out a lot of subjective replies.
    This video editing is all for home/hobby use, and having found out that each hour of video "only" takes around 13 Gbytes I would think that I really wouldn't need that much disk space.

    Now, for one of my video projects I have loads of tapes, but say I "import" 10 hours to work with I'll only have used up 130 Gbytes.

    But then there's the actual final edited video and the stuff you mention: rendering and encoding which I don't know much about.

    To give me a better understanding of it all, if I work with those 10 hours of tapes and want to end up with a video lasting about 1 hour with clips from here and there, wouldn't that calculate into:
    10 x 13GB (10 source video tapes) + 1 x 13GB (the final, one hour, edited video) = 143 GBytes disk space needed ?
    But what about disk additional space for the rendering and DVD encoding (whatever that is)?

    How do you determine if a hard drive is Firewire 400 or 800? That's mostly up to the electronic circuitry inside the enclosure isn't it?
    But I assume the drive mechanism itself would need specifications that can take advantage of that. If that's true, what kind of specifications should I look for in the drive mechanism?
    I've been reading a lot here and there, and for a quiet drive people seem to recommend Seagate's Barracuda series. I've also read that they give off considerably less heat than other drives, which is a good thing since I might buy an enclosure which doesn't have a fan.
  23. iPhil macrumors 68040


    To macstatic,

    The only way to see the speeds of 800Mbs is only if you got a fw800 connection..

    The GB quote that your giving is a 'Low' guess of Harddrive size for your project.. If you got the money i'd double or triple your guess to be on the 'Safe' side.. You don't wanna have half the project done then wham!! no more space..

    If you use the 143Gb drive size as your base Drive then i would think about reducing the amount of tapes you import for the final dvd movie..

  24. macstatic macrumors 65816


    Oct 21, 2005
    No, I wasn't talking about how big a hard drive to buy, but how much disk space I think 10 hours worth of videotapes plus 1 hour of finished product will take.
    I've been looking at 300 or 400 GB drives, hoping that will be enough for both my video and audio use.

    So you're saying my calculations are wrong? If so, how much space (approximately) would the given scenario take up?
  25. iPhil macrumors 68040


    I meant by my estimates were you need @least 10GB extra for the burn to happen correctly .. I'm sorry if i got confused by your estimates of file work size .. If 300 to 400 GB HDDs aren't the right size for your video work,can all ways daisy-chain more on later ..

    I'm 'not' saying your calculation are wrong, i'm just saying think more GBs then you need and hopefully you'll get the right amount plus some cushion..


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