8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 27, 2013 5:34 PM by parker612
Greg speck Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Getting used to FCPX and want help learning how to store my Canon D60 Video files on either my internal Mac book pro or on an external hard drive while editing projects?   Do the files need to be transcoded on the computer drive or can that happen on an external HD?

 

Thanks,

 

Greg


Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • 1. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (14,255 points)

    Well, there are several ways.

     

    I'll just tell you what I do.

     

    I use a card reader and copy the entire card to one of a couple dedicated media drive. Another drive contains projects and events. When I create the new event and import, I copy the original files to the event and create optimized media. If I find that I would be better off using proxies, I do that transcode after import.

     

    Things work pretty smoothly.

     

    Russ

  • 2. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    Arvid Tomayko-Peters1 Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)

    Well, in my opinion, it all comes down to speed. There are a lot of editors that swear that working with footage on your system drive will do all sorts of horrible things, cause crashes, etc. Really its a bunch a malarkey. The most it will do is slow you down when your system needs access to the drive. Bandwidth is bandwidth is bandwidth - its all the same. If working with video on your system drive caused crashes, so would doing thousands of other things and we would all have dumped apple long ago for Microsoft or linux.

     

    Here's what I tend to get for sustained read speed on various drives (ie reading a few large files like video files):

    • USB 2.0: 25 - 30 MB/sec. Drive RPM doesn't matter much since USB is limiting factor, unless you're running a system.
    • Firewire 400: 28 - 34 MB/sec.  Drive RPM doesn't matter much since FW is limiting factor
    • Firewire 800: 55 - 60 MB/sec.  Drive RPM doesn't matter much since FW is limiting factor
    • internal drive on SATA II or III connection, or USB 3.0 external drive:
      •     7200 RPM: ~100 MB/sec
      •     5400 RPM (most laptop drives): probably ~70-80 MB/sec
    • SSD: 250-500 MB/sec if installed internally or over USB 3. USB 2 or firewire connection for an SSD is a waste of SSD speed *except* that they have fantasticly fast random access for reading many small files, so I got a really fast launching system in an experiment installing a system on an SSD and connecting it via FW 800 - but that's not relevant here

     

    so - to make a short story long - do whatever works for you. avoid using USB 2.0 or firewire 400 drives if you're editing HD - you can't play transcoded ProRes 1080p footage from them reliably. And once you have more than one clip overlapping, like at cross dissolves, you're sunk. You're internal drive is likely much faster, even with the overhead of the system using it too.

     

    Blackmagic Disk Speed Test on the app store is a good HD speed tester. Ignore all the video specific stuff at the bottom - its mostly for uncompressed video, which I doubt you're working with.

     

    Since i have a recent macbook pro (late 2011) and my edits are usually not more dense than 3 layers of video at a time (mostly concert video rather than narrative film), I actually almost never transcode, or even render - and this is for 1080p HD video - because FCP X is so good at playing the imported original h.264 files. I store my media I'm working with on my internal laptop drive (which i upgraded to a 7200 RPM) or a FW 800 7200 RPM external drive.

     

    h.264 files from the camera are much smaller than transcoded ProRes files, so they will play back from USB 2 or firewire 400 drives, but I would only do it in a pinch.

     

    enjoy your editing.

  • 3. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    BenB Level 5 Level 5 (7,825 points)

    Actually, all the live video and audio data streaming required for video editing can eat up bandwidth very quickly.  Putting your events and projects on a dedicated, fast enough dirve will in fact help your system peform better over time.  FW800, USB 3.0, interior SATA, eSATA, or Thunderbolt are the only acceptable connections for vidoe editing.

     

    I'm sorry, but I have to clarify that stating the bandwidth issue is malarky is very irrisponsable and shows a lack of technical knowledge and experience.  I've been in this game for two decades, and am a retired IT engineer.  I've seen it first hand.  You'll eventually need a secondary drive for your events and projects.

  • 4. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    Arvid Tomayko-Peters1 Level 1 Level 1 (50 points)

    I'm sorry, but I have to clarify that stating the bandwidth issue is malarky is very irrisponsable and shows a lack of technical knowledge and experience.

    I figured i'd get in trouble with that . I didn't mean that bandwidth was malarkey - i meant actualy that bandwidth is King and whether or not the video is on the system drive is not super relevant, except when it starts limiting your video reading bandwidth. By all means you will need a fast external drive - or to even distribute your media across several drives - if:

    1. your edits are very dense and you therefore have too much data to read from a drive at once
    2. you just have too much data to fit on the drive.

     

    I also agree that i certainly have seen things speed up on projects if one distributes video and/or audio files over several drives.

     

    But I just think for most of the people who would ask this sort of question on the FCP X forum, its probably overkill for most of their projects. Also for many people who are just starting out (and might have a USB 2 or FW external hard drive) their internal drive is probably their fastest drive, even with the system on it. Except now that USB 3 is here I guess that is changing!

     

    I'm on a macbook pro and I often use my system drive for editing because its just the fastest drive i have -Thunderbolt drives are still pretty expensive and my machine came out just before apple went for USB 3. FW800 works, and I use a couple of those sometimes, but still not quite as fast as a 7200 RPM drive on an internal SATA port.

     

    cheers.

  • 5. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    BenB Level 5 Level 5 (7,825 points)

    I do some very serious, heavy work on my rMBP, I use a bus powered Elgato SSD T'bolt drive.  Not huge, but I can easily work with a single project in the field.   Super fast, handles native REDCODE RAW very well (not as well as my Mac Pro), but yeah, not cheap.  USB 3.0 is the way to go.  Just verify!  I've had many students and clients get USB 3.0 drives, when their Macs don't support it.

  • 6. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    parker612 Level 4 Level 4 (1,195 points)

    Actually, USB 3.0 is not the best option when editing. It is fast, I don't disagree with that, but USB 3.0 specializes in sending bursts of data, pausing, bursting, pausing. It's not good for continuous streaming, which is what you need for editing video. FW was built for continuous streaming, which is why it dominated the video editing market. So USB 3.0 is not the best option for video editing. FireWire 800 is a good choice or eSATA or Thunderbolt.

     

    I agree with BenB, you need a separate media drive for your media and projects. I'm currently majoring in Film/Video Editing and I have been told countless times the importance of media management and how to achieve the best performance as our projects get more and more intensive (amount of material, file sizes, length of project etc.).

  • 7. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    BenB Level 5 Level 5 (7,825 points)

    USB 3.0, in our studio's testing, actually outperformes FW800, marginally.  Yes, it is a burst protocol, but it is fast enough to match, if not edge out FW800.  I'd not edit native REDCODE RAW or ARRI QuickTime on it.  Nor would I use it for a feature length film or documentary (of any length).  But if you're doing what you'd do with a FW800 drive (which itself is marginal for HD video work), it seems to be performing just fine in the real world.  But FW800 doesn't really beat it out in any significant way.  Just FYI.

     

    Thunderbolt is the way to go, followed by (e)SATA.

  • 8. Re: Should I use an external hard drive to store the files while editing and how should I do this?
    parker612 Level 4 Level 4 (1,195 points)

    You wouldn't edit REDCODE RAW on FW800 or on a USB 3 drive? Wouldn't you want the continuous speed of FW800, Thunderbolt or eSATA over the burst rate of USB 3?