If you have ever done video, you know just how much hard disk space it can take up. Even small projects can consume significant amounts of space. If you are looking to edit your business’s video content, you’ll need to be conscious of your hardware in order to maximize the impact of your effort.
We’re going to take a moment to talk about different forms of storage and what they mean for your project. First of all, if you can keep your files on your computer’s internal drive, it will be faster then most of the other options because of the high-speed internal connection. For a spinning hard disk, the higher the rpm the better, but the best option is often an internal solid state drive. The ability to read and write quickly will make a big difference in editing. Ultimately, you have to keep your footage somewhere. If you’re making a commitment to producing video content, external storage is a commitment worth making.
For PC’s, if you have to run off of an external hard drive, the simple solution is a USB 3.0 Connection. The USB connection isn’t great. You’ll notice noticeably slower speeds in your editing suite. The big positive to USB 3.0 hard drives is that they are inexpensive. You can get several terabytes of storage for less then $200. While faster storage options are available for the PC, they are significantly more complicated and would require careful integration with existing systems.
USB drives may be inexpensive, but will end up being limited by the speed of their connection. If you using a Mac, you have a big advantage when it comes to storage options: Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt connection is significantly faster than USB 3.0, but any hard drive you are looking at is going to be a roughly $100 more than their USB counterparts.
This is where things get tricky.
A Thunderbolt drive with a standard hard drive won’t see a significant increase in speed. While you’ll have increased bandwidth between your storage device and your computer, the speed is limited by how quickly a traditional hard drive physically spins.
There are two main options for increasing the speed of your thunderbolt storage, RAID and solid state drives.
RAID drives are a series of hard drives tied together to increase the amount, speed, or reliability of the storage. When using the RAID-0 configuration, rather then writing your data to one disk, the raid drive stripes your information across all of the drives, taking advantage of the read and write speed of all of the drives simultaneously. This allows it to make better use of the thunderbolt connection. While this can be much faster, it is also riskier, because a failure in any one of the drives will cause you to lose your data, so a backup strategy is important. Other RAID configurations can store data redundantly, reducing the chance of losing information. RAID-1 mirrors the data to a second drive. It provides protection against a drive failure, but no more speed or storage space than a single drive. The RAID-5 configuration combines multiple drives with some redundant data storage. It will be slower and safer than RAID-0, but still faster and safer than a single drive solution.
Solid State Drives
Solid state drives are another major option. It’s hard to find large sizes and they are significantly more expensive, but the speeds from a solid state drive and thunderbolt connection will get you the most speed possible and when it comes to post-production. Solid state drives in a RAID configuration provide the ultimate in performance, and cost.
There are many high quality disk manufacturers, the best advice to offer is to do your research. At Skillman Video Group we use a variety of drives from different brands. There certainly will be some stories of people who’ve had defective products from any manufacturer, but if you’re buying a big brand and treat it well, you’ll be making a good investment.