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Old November 18th, 2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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external hard drives

Why is it bad to use external hard drives for capture?

If you have to do it, does it matter if it's USB or firewire?

I capture HDV with cineform.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 02:35 PM   #2
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I'll take a stab at this, as a PPro/Cineform user. If it was just capture to .m2t (without Cineform), a USB or Firewire connection MAY be OK. DV or HDV2 is 25mega BITS per second, or 3.1 megabits per second, sustained. However, with Cineform engaged, a second, background set of threads runs that reads each clip back into the machine and reencodes with the Cineform codec to a file thats about 3 times bigger. The risk is that the latter process so conjests the I/O components that it causes dropouts on the camera leg of the capture or on the recording leg.

For your next external disc, consider an eSATA setup. This uses the drive at native SATA speeds. If you have a spare SATA port on your motherboard, the shielded cable is included with your eSATA enclosure. There are cardbus and ExpressCards for eSATA on notebooks. I use an eSATA on my desktop editing machine for archive storage. I occasionally travel with that drive and use an ExpressCard on my notebook to deal with it. The only wrinkle is that my notebook is Vista and desktop is XP, and with my hardware and drivers, it is best to initialize the drive first on the notebook under Vista.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #3
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Don is right when he says SATA is the way to go.

I have externalised the SATA ports on my desktop PC and use SATA drives in enclosures to capture HDV using Cineform HDLink. I plug the same drives into my laptop using a Cardbus SATA card and capture HDV with Adobe OnLocation when I'm recording a stage show. When I get home I just plug the drives back into the desktop PC and start editing (both machines are running XP)

I've never used external USB or firewire drives for capture and I'm sure that they're OK, but I would not have the same level of confidence as with SATA - you just know it has the bandwidth to handle HDV, even when converting to Cineform during capture on the same drive.
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Old November 27th, 2007, 03:17 PM   #4
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Native SATA connections will have much better performance than bridging thru USB or firewire. Lower latency and higher transfer rate, especially on newer drives. USB and Firewire are both fast enough for realtime DV/HDV, but SATA offers much more than realtime performance (for transfers and exports)
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Old December 8th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McCarthy View Post
Native SATA connections will have much better performance than bridging thru USB or firewire. Lower latency and higher transfer rate, especially on newer drives. USB and Firewire are both fast enough for realtime DV/HDV, but SATA offers much more than realtime performance (for transfers and exports)
So will a ESATA drive be as fast as one in installed in the tower?

Joe
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Old December 11th, 2007, 11:47 AM   #6
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A SATA drive is as fast as an internal one. I use a FirmTek 2-bay enclosure (http://www.firmtek.com ) and I found it vastly superior to the LaCie drives that I used before ( two out of four failed ). The new 5-bay model with port replication is coming out soon but even with the two-bay, the advantage of hot swapping is great. If you work in the field you can simply buy additional drives, an 80GB drive is pretty cheap nowaday, and start a new acquisition project without the need to archive your previous work. The hot swap can also be used as a quick and convenient way to archive HD projects.
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