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Old February 17th, 2012, 07:18 AM   #16
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Lacie drives are as reliable as any other, in my experience. Ultimately the failure is with the disc drive itself -- and Lacie doesn't make those. The big manufacturers of drives do a pretty good job, but there is no perfect drive -- over the years I've had failures with Seagate, Western Digital, Hitachi, Maxtor ...

Back everything up. On a Mac, it is easy enough to use Timemachine to back up your entire drive, in the background, seamlessly. Trust me, it will be the wisest $200 you've ever spent.

On my system I back up everything, and a I double back-up my production projects. When the project is done, I pull the drive that is the project-only back-up and stick it on a shelf in case I need it a year later. Meanwhile the Timemachine back-up offers another level of security ...

HDD today are cheap. Cheap, cheap, cheap. Ten years ago I'd never heard of a Terabyte, now I own half a dozen drives that size or larger ... thirty years ago I bought my first hard drive -- it was a whopping 10 megabyte drive (do the math!) and cost me $5,000 dollars. So buy the Lacie, and buy a back-up, and get to work!

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 18th, 2012, 05:31 AM   #17
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Thanks Geof, your answer made me more restful and I think I'll opt for the Lacie.
But my problem is not backup. I already use timemachine and has worked excellently. I'm looking for a drive with firewire becouse i wanted to know if t is possible to download videos directly to the drive and do the edit directly from there. That would alowed me to do the edit in the studio and if I needed to seed up some work I could just take the drive home and finish it on another computer.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 08:08 AM   #18
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

I have used external drives for edits for years -- Firewire works just fine, USB works in some cases.

The data rate for any compressed codec is typically under 50Mb/s -- the transfer rate for Firewire 400 is, well, 400Mb/s. Even highly compressed AVCHD files easily fit under that data rate -- the demands on your system using AVCHD are for the computing power required to decompress, and that is not a function of HDD speed.

If you were to attempt to use larger data rate files -- and I would encourage you to, working with ProRes is a great way to go if you're editing on a Mac -- you'd come closer to maxing out the drive speed, especially if you have multiple data streams. So for instance, if you were working with ProRes LT (my advice in most instances) you'd be working with a file with a data rate of 100Mb/s. Three of those on the timeline playing simultaneously and you've reached the limit for Firewire 400, assuming a little room for safety. But connect using FW800 and you can easily double that number of streams ...

USB is more problematic, not because the indicated data rates won't add up, but because USB as a protocol is not designed to resist any interruption or conflict in the same way as Firewire -- other devices may interfere with a USB transfer, and USB will 'solve' the issue by speeding up or using a buffer but that won't work with video which requires a constant playback.

eSata is fast, but until you're working with multiple streams of 4K files -- you'll get by just fine with FW800. Note that current iMacs are 'future proofed' through the Thunderbolt connection, which will allow for faster than Firewire when the time comes.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 18th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #19
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

The 400 and 800 of Firewire are for marketing. Those are theoretical speeds. Actual data rates vary based on the implementation of the Firewire buss of the CPU. To capture from Camera to HDD, you need enough ACTUAL bandwidth to handle two streams simultaneously. So it matters what video format is going to be transferred and what the actual buss implementation performance is.

You will notice a difference editing off of an eSata vs FW800 for even the simplest of timelines. Scrubbing around and rendering are examples. eSata will be snappier.

You need to know the type of PCI card your MacPro accepts before buying an eSata card. There's two that come to mind PCI-X and PCI-express. I prefer to buy both card and enclosure from the same manufacturer to keep the finger pointing down.

All that said, FW400 is dead. If memory serves, on Macs with both 400 and 800, as soon as you hook up a FW400 device, the 800 drops to 400 compatibility mode. So there you go. Hook up your camera to the FW400 port and your capture is going to run at FW400 speeds even if you have a FW800 HDD. However, when you disconnect the camera, your editing should run at FW800. But I could be wrong. YMMV
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:08 AM   #20
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Not sure why you'd think the actual transfer rate would be other than the designed one -- there are plenty of tests out there demonstrating the rates are as advertised.

Neither does it matter what the file format is that is being transferred -- bits is bits.

And the contention that eSata would feel snappier is vague enough to be tough to argue -- a better comment might offer an explanation, for instance if it was incapable of two-way communication at the same instant (like USB) ... but Firewire is.

It is true that some devices implement a Firewire control chip that will dumb the speed down to 400Mb/s as soon as a single device of that speed is plugged in to the chain. To the best of my knowledge, no current Firewire chip operates with that limit -- but the answer is device specific.

The external drive I use offers my choice of eSata, FW400, FW800 and USB -- in operation I see no difference between eSata and FW800. FW400 offers limits as outlined in my previous post. USB sometimes performs as well as FW400, and sometimes falls short -- it depends what other USB devices are doing.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:33 AM   #21
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Thaks guys for your replies, been helping a lot, not just in clearing my doubts regarding the problem I posted here, but to also knowing how things work.
No AVCHD files. Work with canon XHA1s and JVC GYHD200, so HD, but all the edit is done in Prores.
But I'm considering in starting to use DSLR. Any problems with that?
Got a macbook pro (midlle 2009) 2.53GHz intel core 2duo, FW800, and an nvidia geforce 9400m. Also have a mac pro (midlle 2008) 2x 2.8 GHz Quad core intel xenon, FW400 (it says up to 800 mbs speed???), and an ATI radeon 2600 hd, the original hard drive with 300gb with the OS and all software, and two hard drives with 1tb each as raid0.
Both machines are working with final cut pro version 6.0.6.
Got an Imac also with 3.06 GHz intel core 2duo, FW400, and an nvidia geforce 8800 gs, but final cut is not instaled. It's used mainly for photo and album edit, with photoshop and other stuff.
All macs are working with mac OSX version 10.5.8.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #22
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Stay with ProRes and all will be fine. Note that ProResLT is fine for all the sources you describe. I occasionally use an ancient Macbook Air when travelling to do a rough edit -- it is 'workable' despite a 4500 rpm HDD and the earliest Core2Duo implementation.

Biggest gain you'll get is to add more RAM -- max out, you won't be disappointed.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 18th, 2012, 11:35 AM   #23
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Thanks Geoff
Will do that. But can you explain what's the big difference with the LT.
About the ram, what would be the minimum recommended?
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Old February 18th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #24
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by R Geoff Baker View Post
And the contention that eSata would feel snappier is vague enough to be tough to argue B
No argument needed. It's fact. I have both. There's no question. I can tell the difference when editing off different drives.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #25
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

if you are going the DSLR route, a 800 FW card reader is a huge bonus. i have a Lexar that works great.
note that funny business occurs if a camera like the XHA1 is connected through the hard drive when capturing, if memory serves correct.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #26
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

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Originally Posted by Nuno Ferreira View Post
Thanks Geoff
Will do that. But can you explain what's the big difference with the LT.
About the ram, what would be the minimum recommended?
There is no disadvantage to using ProRes over ProResLT beyond the fact that the data rate is higher for the former, and so the file sizes larger and the data transfer demands greater. Point is, LT is smaller but plenty good enough for all but a few source formats.

Max out whatever your system can handle -- or you can afford. 8GB is a max for most of the older MBP, you can go with 16GB on the newer iMacs -- more RAM will definitely deliver a 'snappier' performance.

Cheers,
GB
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Old February 19th, 2012, 07:53 AM   #27
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Re: FCP and external firewire hard drive

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Originally Posted by Les Wilson View Post
No argument needed. It's fact.
LOL!

Cheers,
GB
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