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Old August 15th, 2009, 01:58 AM   #1
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Computer store guy said Firewire and USB 2 are not fast enough for HD video editing

Hi, sorry if this was brought up before, I've been away.

I was at a computer store today looking at harddrives. The computer store guy asked me what it's for, I told him to put into an external enclosure for editing.

Then he goes on to say that to edit true HD, that USB 2 and firewire are not fast enough, that I'll need a SATA or eSATA drive.

I was thinking of using an external drive to do my editing off. But is he right? Something tells me that he's not, I recall firewire to be 50mb/s or something and it exceeds the the cable throughput of HD video.

But hey, I can't remember. Can someone quickly clear this up?

I'm shooting AVCHD (17 or 24 MB quality) on a Canon HF200, external drives are either USB 2 or firewire.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #2
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He's right. You can get it to work, but it won't be fun. Adobe recommends against it.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:12 AM   #3
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I ran into the same problem on my dual core. I got a PCI eSata card (cheap) and a 1 TB LaCie drive for all the video files. Works fine. From what I've read the big slow down is in the processor. I've heard the guys running the new i7 quad cores do pretty well.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:04 AM   #4
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so don't bother trying to do it off firewire is what you guys are saying? Do it on my internal drive?
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:11 AM   #5
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The singular case of 'my drive' is worrisome. For HD editing you need at least three physical 7200 RPM SATA or eSATA drives. USB2 and FW400/800 are good for backups, that is all.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:38 AM   #6
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Oops, to clarify in my case, I will be editing the AVCHD video in Cineform Neo Scene (intermediate) and it seems to work fine.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 04:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Ng View Post
Oops, to clarify in my case, I will be editing the AVCHD video in Cineform Neo Scene (intermediate) and it seems to work fine.
All the more reason that 3 disks is a minimum. AVCHD is taxing on any system, Neoscene may lessen the CPU load, but it will increase the burden on your disks.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 05:31 AM   #8
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Most of the replies to this question are a bit too broad for my tastes.

The equation is pretty simple - number of streams times bitrate of codec being edited = continual read/write bandwidth required. The maths you can do yourself by just looking up the numbers for your individual case, there isn't a catch all answer.

You don't need to RAID disks to edit HD if you have a low bitrate codec. YOU WILL need fast CPU generally, and there CAN be a bottle neck in serving the CPU once you are doing multiple effects/grading on an external drive, which makes rendering slower, but doesn't make HD editing impossible.

Firewire 800 drives or e-SATA are preferable, raid arrays are useful once you are working with lots of streams at less compressed codecs. But HDV for example, is exactly the same bitrate as DV, so drive speed only really becomes a hurdle when rendering, not on playback/editing, and even then CPU is often the bigger bottle neck.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 09:37 AM   #9
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For best results you want to have dedivated video storage. we recommend a raid configuration.

G-Tech G-raid is an exernal raid- that connects via USB2, Firewire 400/800 and eSata

Check out our Video storage FAQ for lots more info on the subject

Videoguys Blog - Videoguys NLE Video Storage FAQ

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Old August 15th, 2009, 10:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
Most of the replies to this question are a bit too broad for my tastes.

The equation is pretty simple - number of streams times bitrate of codec being edited = continual read/write bandwidth required. The maths you can do yourself by just looking up the numbers for your individual case, there isn't a catch all answer.
Agreed, if you also take into consideration the bandwidth required for OS, programs, house keeping, pagefile, other services running, etc.

It is far too simple to say a video stream uses 3.6 MB and I have 5 streams, so the equation is 5 x 3.6 = 18 MB, thus a USB disk is sufficient. You disregard all the other tasks that need be performed by the OS, the editor, other programs in the background, the pagefile, etc. You also conveniently forget about fill rates, defragmentation, bus congestion and the like that all have serious impact on effective throughput.

The base line is: NO USB or FIREWIRE or GREEN DISKS for editing. EOS (End of story).
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Old August 16th, 2009, 04:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
Agreed, if you also take into consideration the bandwidth required for OS, programs, house keeping, pagefile, other services running, etc.

It is far too simple to say a video stream uses 3.6 MB and I have 5 streams, so the equation is 5 x 3.6 = 18 MB, thus a USB disk is sufficient. You disregard all the other tasks that need be performed by the OS, the editor, other programs in the background, the pagefile, etc. You also conveniently forget about fill rates, defragmentation, bus congestion and the like that all have serious impact on effective throughput.

The base line is: NO USB or FIREWIRE or GREEN DISKS for editing. EOS (End of story).
Harm, how do you then explain the many times I have successfully used firewire 400 drives for editing HDV footage?

Also - I'd never recommend USB disks for editing ever. Firewire I have used with success, but USB 2.0 as a standard was not designed with editing in mind.

Note - I'm running Final Cut generally (on an older iMac at times, it's one of our side machines compared to our main editing machines which are quad or eight cores, so I'll admit it's something we go to when there are no other) PC options may have more constraints because of the architecture.

It's not ideal - but there if someone is working to budget constraints, or even simple physical space constraints because of travelling and people have to make do then such drives can and do work.

If you are building a system, then I think the answer is optimize your system. The cost of e-SATA and a Raid config is not all that high and is well worth the inclusion if your setup can handle it.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 05:27 AM   #12
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I like to keep my ingested files stored on an external hard drive, and Ive found that to ingest using USB 2.0 WILL cause corrupted files and frame drops. Going to an external disc via firewire and all is well with the world.

But

As I give the client the raw files on hard drive, Ive found there to be a great scarcity of firewire enabled drives. So I usually ingest to an internal drive, then copy to the external.

Editing from the external drive poses no problem.

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Old August 16th, 2009, 05:32 AM   #13
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Graig,

As a very rough rule of thumb you will get these average transfer rates with different disks, but be aware that there are a lot of factors influencing this:

USB2: 18-22 MB/s
FW400: 30-35 MB/s
FW800: 50-60 MB/s
(e)SATA: 80-100 MB/s

These are very rough figures and are also dependent on the number of USB devices attached, the fill rate of the disk, etcetera. As you can see FW400 is almost twice as fast as USB2, so that may explain why you got by.

Why would anybody choose for 3.5" 7200 disks with a USB2 or FW interface, when there is no (significant) price difference with an eSATA interface?
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Old August 16th, 2009, 06:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
Why would anybody choose for 3.5" 7200 disks with a USB2 or FW interface, when there is no (significant) price difference with an eSATA interface?
If their machine had no way of getting an eSATA connection (such as an iMac. ;) )

To be fair, when I buy enclosures, I make sure they have e-sata aswell... It's just not all the machines they are being used on have e-sata as an option so they also have firewire AND usb (in case the go to clients with no firewire - which does happen still.)

I am sure the original poster gets the message - eSATA is good, a raid is better, firewire will do in a pinch in the right setup with the right codec, USB won't
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Old August 16th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #15
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Nuts, I edit with a Dell Inspiron 1520. Now eSata connection port on it. I think Firewire should be fine.
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