Which Drives for Video Editing on a 1,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacPoulet, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. MacPoulet macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Hi all,

    I shot a web series last month and now I'm prepping my 1,1 for the edit. It currently has:

    OS/Applications drive: Intel 330 180GB SSD
    Old OS drive: 250GB
    5 GB of ram (going to boost that)
    GT 7300 (560 TI is sitting next to me ready to hop in)

    We shot the series with two Panasonic GH2 cameras using the stock 1080p 24fps codec. There's about 300 GB of AVCHD footage stored on two external hard drives in different locations.

    My plan was to get two internal drives as a software raid0 and have a third drive as a backup. Would two 1TB drives be sufficient for the raid, or should I get two 2TB?

    Any particular brand? I know the WD Caviar Blacks have 5 year warranties, but they're also a good 60% more than Seagate Barracuda drives.

    Cost is a factor, but I'd rather pay a little more for something more reliable than to save a few bucks and lose my work.

    Also haven't decided on what software I'll cut on. I currently have FCP Studio 2 on it, but it's flaky in Lion. I know Premiere and Avid and may try Lightworks when it comes out as a beta as that would support my research.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. namethisfile macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2008

    i was curious to see how much SATA 3GB/s HDD's were going for so i quickly looked them up on the internet. I am assuming this is the generation you have on your mac pro. They still sell them but not that much cheaper than SATA 6, although a spinning mechanical drive will hardly saturate 6 GB/s bandwidth. but, cost being a factor, i figured SATA 3 drives would be better in this regard. unfortunately since the cost are similar, the choice is harder. I am wondering, now, though, if one should just get a SATA 6 HDD. This is your call. But, maybe, a newer drive is more reliable? I don't know. You do have more choices of HDD's with SATA 6, though. For example, you will need at least a 7200 RPM HDD and SATA 3 drives I see on the internet are only available at this speed. Whereas, SATA 6 drives are available in the 10,000 and 15,000 RPM range, such as the Velociraptor and Cheetah lines of HDD's from Western Digital and Seagate, respectively.

    I don't know which brand is better. I don't think you can go wrong with either Seagate or Western Digital. If a HDD fails, it is because it's a lemon and not because it is a certain brand. assuming both companies adhere to the strict code of making reliable products and satisfying their customers, which i think both do. i personally would make my choice on my budget and getting at least 7200RPM HDD for video editing and then the size of the drive. since you are making a RAID, two 500GB 7200RPM HDD's in either SATA 3 or 6 would meet your needs. This will be your media drive where you will store the footage you will work on. there will also be enough room for other media files such as music and graphics, if needed.

    the reliability of this media drive will need to be good but it doesn't need to be bullet proof. the drive should last for years as a video media drive, but the files in the drive needs to be temporary. like, if disaster strikes and the drives break down because of wear and tear, it is fine since you have your files backed up in another drive. either repair broken drive or get new drives and get back up and running. this is because you have your original media files saved in another drive and perhaps your project, too. to be safer, you'd want 2 1TB drives as backup. one for your original video files you don't touch. and the other, another copy of the same media files where you will copy from in case of said disaster. this drive can be where you save backup copies of your final cut project, as well, a la manually or via time machine. the drive you don't touch can be external and the backup or time machine drive can be internal.

    hope this helps and/or clear.
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    I recently (the last four weeks including filming and two travels) edited several 11 to 26 minute pieces on a Hackintosh with several HDDs inside. While it is a Hackintosh, the same principles should more than apply to Mac Pro and internal HDDs.

    The OS is stored on an SSD and I used three 2 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RPM HDDs to store the footage and as scratch drive.

    I edited in Avid Media Composer, using the DNxHD 185x codec (data rate of around 21 MB/s), as the BMCC I used can record that format.
    I always had two to three cameras, and even storing the footage of three cameras on one HDD was no problem during playback in the preview monitor in multicam view.

    As your Mac is quite a bit older and AVCHD is not really a nice format and codec, especially for editing, I advise you to transcode the AVCHD footage to an editing friendly codec like ProRes or DNxHD or Cineform.
    FCP X and Premiere Pro are know to have better AVCHD support than Avid Media Composer (might have changed with 6, 6.5 or 7, I used 5.5.3, as it was much more stable on an unsupported OS than the supported MC version on the supported OS - strange, but that is Avid MC for you, bugs all over the place) and import AVCHD footage to your liking.

    Store the original AVCHD footage on one HDD, back that HDD up with CarbonCopyCloner (version 3.4.7 is still free and available for download here and works with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion) or SuperDuper!, then if you are really good at this, back that backup HDD up too and place it somewhere else besides the editing facilities (home, friends, family).

    Then when you import the footage to whatever editing application you want (Premiere Pro or FCP X are recommended, Avid MC is a bit strange for newcomers, unless it speaks to you (I come from Premiere before it went Pro (4.5 or so) and went to Avid more than a decade ago and stayed there))
    and let the application store it on another HDD, a 2 TB or 3 TB Seagate Barracuda will do fine with having two cameras stored on one HDD during multicam playback - we did several shows with 4 to 8 cameras, and for that we had to have one camera per HDD).
    I would also backup that media scratch drive, but only once, since it can be recreated even if two HDDs fail. I did so with my recent project (backed up the original footage and backed up the media files).

    Also know, that AVCHD is quite compressive and does not store very much information regarding the picture (what you see is what you get), but that using an editing codec (I would use DNxHD 120 for 25fps AVCHD footage or ProRes 422 or the corresponding Cineform codec) will bloat your storage capacities like mad, 100 GB per hour or so.

    I recorded 2.2 TB of video using an editing codec (DNxHD 185x) and had to use 2.2 TB for my media files HDDs. It was around 13 hours of footage from two/three cameras.

    Anyway, I hope my babbling gets you somewhere, if you want to know more about codecs, I have some link for that too, but maybe you already know all that ****.
  4. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    I dont do big videos like you guys but when i work on video from Dslr's i use MPEG Streamclip http://www.squared5.com/ to convert compressed video to ProRes.

    one thing to keep in mind is higher density drives are faster, ie 500GB drive is slower than a 2TB drive but not relay shore how that pans out once you raid it.
    also they slow down as they fill up so two 1TB drives (or bigger) may be safer but some one else will have to confirm that or set me right :p

    i always look at mac performance guide http://macperformanceguide.com/index_topics.html for tips
  5. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Thank you all for your responses, there's quite a wealth to go through.

    I am definitely going to convert my footage to prores and edit with that. Haven't used avid in ten years give or take (started using FCP for my masters degree), but a colleague told me the ux is pretty much the same.

    So with 300GB of avchd footage, would a raid0 made up of two 1TB drives be sufficient or should I really go for two 2TB? The backup drives will vary depending on what I choose for the raid, either 2TB or 4TB. I've been trying to find some guide to help me calculate or a formula and haven't been successful.

    Thank you all so much. Apologies for the short reply, typing this on an old iPhone 3G.
  6. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    If you're editing in FCP, you'll be living in the realm of ProRes, typically. You can drop AVCHD right into FCP X, but with older versions like 6/7, you'll have to transcode to ProRes (you can do this in Log & Transfer).

    RAID-0 really isn't necessary for most ProRes codecs. A single, larger drive will generally do just fine. (and it would also be more reliable)
  7. orph macrumors 65816

    Dec 12, 2005
    Drive 1-OS/app 2-media 3-scratch instead of raid then maybe :confused:

    hay how much of a difference dose ram make to final cut 7?

    i just got a mac pro and thats what im thinking (+4 bootcamp with an old drive till i need the slot for work :p )

    ps raid scares me, it's failed on friends :(
    but im a scaredy cat
  8. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Didn't really think about not using a raid for this edit.

    So for AVCHD footage that I'm converting to Prores (not sure which one, any suggestions?) a single drive would be preferable and more reliable?

    Also, is it really better to have my base media on a separate drive (in addition to all my backups) as opposed to putting the media on the scratch drive?

    Thanks for all the help too. Up until last year I was spoiled as I had access to a top of the line Mac Pro to cut on and it was set up and maintained by dedicated staff.
  9. namethisfile macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2008
    the scratch drive will be the fastest drive. so, media files one is working on should be on the scratch drive. there should be a backup of the media files and projects in another drive, which can be a big/slow drive, since performance of this drive is not important. whether or not you RAID 0 the scratch drive or leave it as a single 7200RPM (at least) is up to your budget.

    as far as AVCHD footage are concerned, i think the solution others have mentioned here to transcode them to ProRes or Apple Intermediate Codec is a good idea. Especially since you have an older mac pro. from what i hear, AVCHD is a very CPU demanding codec and transcoding it to Prores will probably make the editing a smoother experience for you. MPEG Streamclip, which is a free program, will do this for you and/or compressor. And/or, within log and transfer window in FCP 7. i have FCP X so i can't confirm this. But, it sounds about right.

    good luck. and let me know if you have any other questions.
  10. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    Thanks so much! Just out of curiosity, can you log and transfer in FCP X just like FCP 7?
  11. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    If you need to even ask if X can do something that 7 did, the answer is probably "no".
  12. namethisfile macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2008
  13. MacPoulet thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    That was a good read and the link to ClipWrap was interesting too. Though I could always just use FCP 6 to transcode to Prores and let the computer run overnight.

    Doesn't look like Lightworks will be ready for Mac anytime soon. FCP X is the same cost as the Academic version of Avid and Adobe's offering Creative Cloud for $20/month. Decisions decisions...

    X is the only one I haven't worked with yet. Will try the demo and see how it runs.

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