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Canon XF Series HD Camcorders
Canon XF305, XF205 and XF105 (with SDI), Canon XF300, XF200 and XF100 (without SDI).

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Old September 14th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #1
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External Hard drives - the best solution

Now that I'm using the XF300, I'm very wary of the space that footage takes up.
I'd like to keep my raw footage just in case I need to refer to it and am thinking about dumping it to a separate external hard drive after I convert it in FCP. It'll just stay there with all the other raw footage that I decide to keep.

is that wise? I want to know what most folks are using.
Milton Raposo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2010, 01:10 PM   #2
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Hi Milton

I'm not an owner of an XF300 but have an XH-A1. I have just finished a private project which was to capture all my DV and HDV tapes to hard drives. The main reason is to have a backup of all my tapes. A second reason is to capture the tapes while my XH-A1 and HV20 cameras still are working. The day they brake I have all tapes captured already, so I don't have to get a used camcorder to be able to read the tapes. A third reason is to be able to get captured material fast without have to scan through a bunch of tapes. The last reason is to be able to have multiple copies of my material. I now have tapes, one hard disk at home and another copy of the disk stored at another location. In case of a disk crash, a fire or if someone brakes in to the house and steel my computers/hard drives I have another copy to recover from.

With a tapeless camcorder as the XF30x models you must consider the storage as a part of the camcorder. My strategy would be to have at least two drives, one at home/office and one on another location, and perhaps a third drive as there are no archived tapes as DV/HDV has. A hard drive will crash eventually so at least one backup drive is a must have.

A strategy might be to copy the material from one disk to another empty disk at least once per year to make sure that the files are readable. If not, save the readable files to another disk, recover the unreadable files from one of the copy drives.

Consider an E-SATA or USB3.0 external hard disk if your computer have such connectors and supports it. They are much faster than USB2.0. A copy between two of my USB2.0 drives is about 0,5-1GB/min which might sound fast but as the XF300 will produce about 28GB per hour, a large project can take some time to copy. You can calculate the time to copy 1TB (1000GB/1GB per minute=1000minutes is about 17 hours!)

Hard drives are cheap now! There are also now solid state disks, but my opinion is that they are more suited for fast system drives as they are smaller, much more expensive/GB and I have no idea about long time storage on such drive.

Good luck!


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Old September 14th, 2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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just flipping through the forums and i really need to express this to you. whatever drive you pick, do your research and see how close the nearest company repair facility is. i own two g drives and recently my 2TB has not wanted to power on. i am in canada and to fix it i had to spend 55 dollars to sent it to the states. where as lacie is serviced a half hour from my house. needless to say i am buying a lacie drive after this experience. its a good thing i am not working on a job or it would be on hold for a long time til the drive comes back. so from my experience ensure good warranty and customer service, last thing you want is to need your drive fixed quickly and to find out it will take over a month if not longer.

i will also stress the importance of backing up your files, mine were not and am hoping they are still there. some drives had to disks and can do an automatic backup from one disk to the other. or, what i will do is use my good fast drive for editing and a cheaper slower one only for backup (as Bo stated). Lacie makes bigger drives that actually have removable drive trays in the back, very convenient. if one crashes, you can still run the other or get a new one and the drive is fine.

i just had an awful learning experience this week so thought id share. live and learn.
Daniel Caruso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2010, 10:06 PM   #4
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Unfortunately Hard drives are not ideal backup solutions when dealing with footage that is 'critical'. Only use hard disks if you can survive the loss. Otherwise you'll need to keep arrays of disks with copies (double and maybe triple spread over many facilities). There are backup companies specializing in tapes just for backup. They are expensive and more futureproof than hard disks. Or you can use D5s or HDCAM SRs, etc.

However, if you absolutely MUST go for a hard disk, I recommend the Transcend Military grade solid state hard disks for backup. Don't bother with spinning hard disks.
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Old September 14th, 2010, 11:43 PM   #5
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I would recommend using a bare disk drive in a dock for backup rather than paying for the whole enclosure & power supply for each disk. E-SATA. Invest in the dock & then you just need to buy bare drives as required Newer Technology, Inc. Processor Upgrades
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Old September 15th, 2010, 08:37 AM   #6
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Regarding USB 3.0, unless your motherboard supports it natively, I would strongly recommend against USB 3. I have had extensive experience trying to get it to work, and for many advanced computer people it is unreliable. The drives appear and disappear unpredictably, and my Edius NLE program refuses to write to a USB 3 drive even when it is mounted correctly. Read the forums if you are interested, but its probably best to use USB 2.0 or e-SATA for now unless you have native motherboard support for something else.
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Old September 16th, 2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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A esata doc is $80, 1.5 TB drives are $70. There's really nothing complicated or expensive about managing large critical files anymore. If making multiple backups use more than one brand of drive.
Send a drive in for repair? My time plus shipping is worth more than $70.
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Old September 17th, 2010, 12:40 PM   #8
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nigel, you are god to me right now! thanks so much for the link. ever since my crash (takes one big lesson to realize the need to back up), i have been trying to figure out how to back up large hd files and photos. this is such a great solution without going for a big multi tray RAID 0 setup. a shop down here sells them as well so i will pick one up when my drive comes back. i can get a 2TB drive here from a computer shop for 100cdn, which really opens up a huge avenue for having backups of backups.
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