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Old January 11th, 2005, 10:52 PM   #1
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External Drive Choices?

I edit on a Mac, so I obviously need a way to get video capture files from a PC. Please tell me what's the best choice for speed, simplicity, etc. Firewire, SCSI, S-ATA Raid, Gigabit Network, any other solutions? Does anyone know how these all compare? I didn't think you could plug a PC formatted hard drive directly into a Mac.

I just purchased Ultra and DV Rack. I have a Sony VAIO desktop, and I'm on the market for a laptop. I can't wait to get everything going!
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Old January 12th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #2
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Hi Alex,

The simplest way I have found to get video media stored on a PC, is to plug my Highfly 40 Gig. pocket firewire hard drive into the PCs firewire jack, copy the files onto it, and then transfer them onto my G4. My pocket Firewire HDD is recognized by both PCs and Macs under OSX.

I'm sure that this is not the most efficient way to go, as far as data transfer speeds are concerned. But I think that it's the simplest and most direct. It takes me around a quarter the length of "real time" media to transfer to disc in this way, i.e.. 2 hours footage takes a half hour to transfer. USB2, and the New Firewire standard is faster than what I use at the moment. And I have never really timed it, so my transfer time estimate is very rough.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #3
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I think you can also use a MAC formatted firewire drive with a PC computer if you have Macdrive installed and a firewire port on your PC.

I used to do that awhile ago, but recently I've switched to using all PC equipment.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 10:36 AM   #4
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I can transfer files pretty quickly between PC and Mac via Gigabit filesharing, but only from internal storage drives. If I use external drives (firewire or UW SCSI-2) the speed is limited by the type of connection.

For instance, if I do a field capture with DVRack direct to firewire drive connected to a PC laptop, then I need to be able to get the files into a Mac back in the studio. I guess firewire or USB are the only ways to go. I was just wondering which is the fastest type of external drive to use.

btw Daniel Kohl, I saw your XL1 Frankenstein pics. You are insane!
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Old January 12th, 2005, 11:05 AM   #5
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Thanks. I see a drive by LaCie that's got all three types of interface, Firewire 400/800 and USB-2. And a special on MacDrive from the same company.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 03:28 PM   #6
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I heard that striped (RAID 0) external S-ATA drives will be the fastest. I heard you can buy those somewhere...I wish I remember where though.

I also don't know how the cross compatability is with these drives. I just heard that they're the fastest externals for consumer use.
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Old January 26th, 2005, 09:22 AM   #7
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Fat 32 format drive for xfer from PC to MAc

If you format your firewire drive FAT32 then you can use it on either a Mac or a PC. It's slower (I don't think you can use it to play your media in a sequence).

To format a drive FAT32:
1. in your MAC (USING os10.3 OR ABOVE) go to your 'disc utitility'.
2. Go to the 'ERASE' tab next to 'FIRST AID'
3. Where it says 'VOLUME FORMAT' select 'MS-DOS FILE SYSTEM'
4. This will erase everything on your disk and format it FAT32
5. It will now show up in either a MAC or a PC.
6. I think it has an 80GB limit, but not sure.
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Old January 28th, 2005, 11:08 AM   #8
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No, FAT32 has a 2 GB limit, which translates to about 18 minutes of DV.

If you have to use FAT32, keep in mind that DV Rack will stop at that 18 minute mark. To get around this limitation, you can always hit the RECORD button again while recording a clip. This will finish the first clip, and start the second clip, with no lost frames between the two.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 09:16 AM   #9
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My experience with the FAT32 formatted HDD is that a 1.95GB segment contains 9 min. 13 sec. of DV Pal footage.

I also failed to mention that my Highfly pocket Firewire HDD is formatted with Mac OS Extended (aka HFS+(?)).

This disk mounts to a Windows machine, and to my OSX and my OS9 Mac machines. I don't know why this is not a better choice for multi-platform HDDs.

The only explination for this, is if the FAT32 format is compatible with even more platforms than just Windows and Mac.
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Old January 31st, 2005, 03:58 AM   #10
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I don't think a mac os extendend partition *should* mount in
Windows out of the box. This is the first time I've heard of that.
Are you sure you didn't install some Mac filesystem drivers into
Windows at some point? (or perhaps some program installed
those for some reason)
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Old January 31st, 2005, 04:35 AM   #11
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Maybe,

Unfortunately, I can't test it because I don't have a Windows machine at my disposal at the moment.

This was my experience in an ad-hock situation, a while ago, working for a local television station. The station was working with computers of both platforms, so it is possible that there was software installed on the Windows machine that made this connectivity possible.

... I don't think that my memory of the occasion is good enough for me to have made the comment, I did. I'm actually not even 100% sure anymore, that the laptop I transfered files to, was a Windows machine.

Thanks for clearing that up Rob. Sorry for the confusion.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 08:27 PM   #12
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The fastest interface that I know of right now is Fiber Optic. Get your self a XServe Raid 2.3TB + fiber optic card and you'll be in business. Price tagged around $8000 for both.

http://store.apple.com

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Old February 21st, 2005, 11:33 AM   #13
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A couple of clarifications:

FAT32 typically has a 4GB limit, not a 2GB limit. My mistake. I got the time limit (~18 min) right, but the capacity wrong. A FAT32 drive will only record DV clips that are roughly 18 minutes in size.

Mac formatted (HFS and HFS+) drives will not be read by a PC natively. You will need to install a reader.

MacDrive is something to look at - the makers of MacDrive told me it was designed with 1394 drives in mind, and it's been tested for DV capture. We have not independently tested it with DV Rack yet, but on paper, it appears to be a good solution for Mac users. Once it's installed, Mac-formatted drives are read and written to just like PC-formatted drives. The HFS+ format has a maximum file size of multiple terabytes.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 02:08 PM   #14
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Thanks for the info Karl.

If this is true about FAT32, I wonder why a manufacturer would set the file limit to 1.95 GB when 4 GB are possible.?

It also occurred to me that it is possible for me to format my FW HDD as MS DOS, which is recognizable by Mac OSX. I have no idea what format MS DOS is, or what kind of file size limit it may have. But that would also be a variation that could help Mac users deal with Windows based capture programs like DV Rack.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 02:43 PM   #15
 
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FAT, or FAT16, is the original MS-DOS disk format scheme. It eventually evolved into FAT32. The 2 Gig limit of FAT32 evolved because at the time of its design, there were no hard drives that exceeded that size. I forget what FAT is limited to, but, I beleive it's miniscule compared to FAT32.
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