Storage Solutions for Multicam 4K video editing

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Rasta4i, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. Rasta4i macrumors regular

    Rasta4i

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Hello I plan to get the iMac 5K 2017 with 1tb ssd, but I will be working on projects with footage from multiple cameras in 4k. I'm considering a external ssd like the Samsung t3 or t5 but also looking into other solutions like the Drobo 5D3 it comes with a thunderbolt 3 connection which I imagine would be fine for heavy editing.

    Would I be better off getting something like that and putting filling it up with ssds or can I use standard mechanical drives in that in raid, would that be sufficient for heavy video work? or anything other suggestions, I need something that is a lot of storage as the files can easily expand past 2tb once I get stuck in and I'd like to be able to work on multiple projects from the system if needed
     
  2. ColdCase, Oct 24, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2017

    ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #2
    Video files when editing have a tendency to get scattered across sectors and RAIDs slow down. I would stick with SSD and use disk utility to raid 0 a number of SSDs together if you need a large volume. Its complicated, but thats more reliable than external hardware for your use case. Buy SSDs that are designed for RAID usage. There are a wide variety of SSD enclosures (without hardware RAID built in) such as https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB4MJB0GB/ . Or perhaps https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1273176-REG/akitio_ak_t3q_t3dias_aktu_thunder3_quad_4_bay_storage.html/?c3api=3679,bing,81982350317584,4585581963329222 . TB2 is fine for heavy editing, TB3 may be better, but you will still be limited by the drive performance.

    The benefit of rotational drives is that they are cheap and you can get, what, 12TB drives now, which means you can get 48TB in a 4 bay enclosure (instead of 16TB of SSD), perfect for backup or archived video files.

    I have used both high performance rotational drives in a RAID configuration for speed and single SSDs. SDDs provide much smother editing, but you can make about anything work for a certain budget.

    If you are really into RAID or need massive volumes for some reason, Areca has some good products.
     
  3. Rasta4i thread starter macrumors regular

    Rasta4i

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    #3
    Thanks very much that was really helpful, I don't mind using 12tb drives but are they fast enough to edit from them if the files are stored on them, if not could you elaborate a bit more about the external ssd options I'm going to check those links you sent now.
     
  4. Boyd01 Moderator

    Boyd01

    Staff Member

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    #4
    I have no experience with multicam 4k, but since you asked, I have a couple of the Samsung T3 ssd's and they are very fast. Using a 1tb T3 as the boot drive on a quad core 2012 mini with another 500gb T3 and they work really well. I'm sure you can get better performance with expensive thunderbolt devices, and that may be appropriate for your kind of work. But the T3's work just fine for me editing 1080p with no proxies and they fit my limited budget. :)

    Here's the speed that I see with the T3

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Rasta4i thread starter macrumors regular

    Rasta4i

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    #5

    thanks
     
  6. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    #6
    I'm a professional documentary editor and I've edit almost exclusively H264 4k multi-camera projects for two years. I have about 200-300 TB of Thunderbolt RAID storage. I have one 8TB Thunderbolt RAID-0 SSD array, and it's nice but you don't need that speed for 4k H264 editing, and it's much more expensive. All the other arrays are RAID-0 rotating storage.

    Working with this type of material is almost totally CPU-bound, not I/O-bound. You must transcode to proxy for good performance, especially for multicam. In theory you could transcode to optimized ProRes, but that's 6x larger and produces no advantages from an image quality standpoint. Even proxy adds at least 50% to the size, so if your project is 1TB, the camera media plus proxies are about 1.5 to 1.6TB.

    The I/O rate for editing camera-native content isn't very high to begin with, but once proxies are available that rate drops by 50%. So it's not an I/O-intensive workflow. If you use ProRes acquisition or transcode all media to ProRes, it can become very I/O-intensive but the space requirement then usually balloons far beyond any affordable SSD.

    Backup is a significant issue, as is recovery time from a failure. That is why I've switched from RAID-5 to RAID-0. All material must be backed up whether it's on SSD, RAID-5, RAID-10 or whatever. If RAID-5 has a drive failure the performance will often degrade to an almost unusable point during a lengthy rebuild.

    You can also have other types of failures such as the RAID chassis itself, file system bugs, application bugs or human error. So redundant RAID by itself is not a backup. It must also must be backed up in a manner that allows fast recovery. Several days of downtime while the data is recovered from slow archival storage can be very costly.

    This is why I use SoftRAID so I'm not locked into a specific RAID vendor. With hardware RAID, you often cannot pull a drive set and install them in another chassis of a different brand.

    Offloaded camera media often does not change much except when new content is added, so it normally does not require continuous backup like Time Machine. For this reason I use redundant RAID-0 Thunderbolt arrays and back up the primary each night with Carbon Copy. The iMac itself is backed up via Time Machine plus periodic Carbon Copy backups which are off site. If a chassis or drive fails, I can manually switch to the backup within about two minutes.

    My last several Thunderbolt RAID boxes have been from OWC. They've been very reliable so far. e.g: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-4
     
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

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    #7
    Fast enough is subjective. Good quality SSDs are faster ( more responsive in video editing use cases) than rotationals even when the rotationals are in a RAID. Rotationals get slower as they fill, if you want performance don't exceed 50% of their capacity. You don't have that constraint with SSD.

    You can make anything work, you may be happier using SSDs if money is not much of a concern. If you find your editing jerky or studdery (is that a word?), you can always go to proxi media.

    Nothing wrong with rotational for backup. I have my working library and media on SSD which is backed up to a rotational drive in the same JBOD enclosure.
     
  8. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Australia
    #8
    So just to clarify, what do you use for day to day editing of 4k projects? And out of curiosity, what bit rate are the ProRes proxies made from 4k video?
     
  9. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    #9
    I generally use one of my four-drive RAID-0 spinning arrays. I just tested one of them -- a 32TB OWC Thunderbay 4 -- it's about 1/2 full and in Black Magic it does about 690 MB/sec write, 740 MB/sec read. My 8TB four-drive SSD array is also about 1/2 full and it does 1150 MB/sec write, 1230 MB/sec read. It also has a higher IO/sec rate but I don't have those numbers. I use SoftRAID for all my RAID arrays except for one Promise Pegasus which has hardware RAID.

    However in actual editing there is little discernible difference between the SSD array and spinning array. The 8TB SSD array is too small for my current project so I don't use it much, but it's good for rapidly transferring data between systems.

    FCPX ProRes proxies are 1/2 the linear resolution (1/4 the total resolution) of the original files. So for UHD 4k original media, the proxies are 1080p and the proxy bit rate is 45 megabits/sec, at least for the ones I've examined.
     
  10. Rasta4i, Nov 3, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017

    Rasta4i thread starter macrumors regular

    Rasta4i

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    #10
    Thanks for that info @joema2 thats really helpful, I've got a massive desktop case that I would like to turn into a raid enclosure. I plan to get a new motherboard, cpu and ram as its a super old motherboard.

    What I really want to know is what operating system can I use to turn this into a machine into a raid enclosure so I'm going to be on the iMac for editing but it won't have enough space to edit my project so I want to use this other system to edit the files on I want it to connect to the iMac so I can edit from it whilst being on the iMac any advice? So I will be using the iMac to edit on but I want the files to be on the other computer I don't want to have to transfer it over so I want it to act like external storage
     
  11. joema2, Nov 4, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017

    joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    Sep 3, 2013
    #11
    My advice is don't do that. You are talking about a home-brew NAS which would be limited on a 2017 iMac to gigabit ethernet, which is about 100 megabytes/sec.

    You can get various sizes of an OWC Thunderbay 4 which is vastly faster: https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/Thunderbolt/External-Drive/OWC/ThunderBay-4

    These will be much more compact and quieter than making your own RAID box. For RAID-0 you don't need any external software since macOS supports that. For RAID-5, etc. you would need SoftRAID, which is a superb product: https://www.softraid.com/

    In general I've switched from RAID-5 to RAID-0 (for media storage) since it must be backed up anyway and doesn't change that often. While SoftRAID produces excellent RAID-5 write performance (better than hardware RAID systems I've tested), it's still not as fast as RAID-0 and entails a 25% space penalty. I use several Thunderbay 4 units in RAID-0 and use them in pairs, a primary and a backup. They are very fast. It is better to over-estimate your storage requirements and plan on maintaining about 20-30% free drive space.

    If you want SSD, one of the least expensive ways is to use a Thunderbay 4 Mini and add your own SSD cards:

    https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/TB4MJB0GB/

    You could make a 4TB 4-drive RAID-0 SSD for about $1400, depending on what brand SSDs. An 8TB version would be about $2500-$3000 or so. I use an 8TB version with 4 x 2TB Samsung EVO 850s, and it does about 1150 MB/sec write, 1230 MB/sec read. However SSD performance (and cost) is definitely not needed for most video editing.

    You should do a careful, all-encompassing evaluation of your workflow based on shooting time, bit rate, camera and editing codec, extra space for any transcoded files, temp files, cache files, etc. If that produces a storage number where you can afford SSD, then that's OK. However in many cases when shooting uncompressed 4k or RAW, the cost of SSD storage is not affordable.

    An older rule of thumb for scripted narratives is they'll use a 10:1 shooting ratio. IOW if the final product is 1 hr there will be 10 hr of material shot. Since the digital age, shooting ratios are much higher, 30:1, 100:1 or more: http://nofilmschool.com/2016/03/shooting-ratios-mad-max-fury-road-primer-hitchcock

    Documentaries will generally have a higher ratio than scripted narratives. 100:1 is not uncommon.

    Your shooting ratio is a starting point to determine your storage needs. If the final product is 1 hr, your shooting ratio is 50:1, and the cameras product 8-bit UHD 4k at 100 megabit/sec, that is 12.5 MB/sec * 3600 sec/hr * 50 hr = 2.25 TB. At first that doesn't seem like much but if you must transcode to ProRes, that becomes 6x larger or 13.5 TB. Add in space for scratch files, render files, etc. and it can easily be 15 or more TB.

    The same material shot by a RED RAVEN RAVEN at 4.5K 120 fps using 15:1 REDCODE compression equates to about 120 megabytes/sec, and the storage requirement would be 10x larger than 4k H264 or about 22.5 TB, not including transcodes, proxies, etc.
     
  12. Rasta4i thread starter macrumors regular

    Rasta4i

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    #12
    Thanks

    I've been looking for some thunderbolt 3 external enclosures and I've found the Akitio thunder3 quad x 4 bay, any opinions on something like this?
     
  13. joema2 macrumors 68000

    joema2

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    #13
    I don't have any experience with those. The TB3 features are nice from a future proofing standpoint. I saw one review saying the fans were somewhat loud.
     
  14. Rasta4i thread starter macrumors regular

    Rasta4i

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    #14
    Thanks I've decided to go for the thunderbay 4 it looks really good and as I'm planning to use spinning hard drives for the capacity but use raid 0 don't need thunderbolt 3 speeds
     

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