Blog, business, post production for film and video

Price of storage coming down?

You could always build your own inexpensive drives, but for those of us with no time, buying external hard drives has been relatively expensive. Not anymore: a good quality 1tb drive from Other World Computing (sans Firewire 800) is only $229!

For video, these are probably best for backup only; I like the FireWire 800 connection for working on Final Cut Pro. But I go through 1tb backup drives like crazy. I might pick up a couple of these.

But are we only cooling our heels with cheaper hard drives until the “next big thing” comes? Leon Bailey blogs about a Samsung press release concerning its own line of solid state drives (SSDs) — drives that have no moving parts and look more like computer RAM — that states

that the company expects sales of SSDs “to increase 800 percent between now and 2010”. That would be a huge increase over any timeframe but, unless notebook sales are also going to grow eight-fold over the next 18 months, there will have to be a major decline in the sales of traditional 1.8 and 2.5in hard disks for Samsung’s projection to pan out.

So are the spinning-disc hard drive days numbered? I’m not sure about 2010, but I do know that, historically, any computer equipment in my office that was older than 3 years old was considered archaic (no longer: most of my Mac towers are 3 years old or older). But the allure of faster, solid-state storage will be strong: we won’t have to wait for drives to spin up or power down.

Unfortunately, it’s no guarantee that solid state drives are the answer. Fujitsu is playing down expectations for the new drives compared to current spinning-disc drives, saying

As most rotating hard drives often park and enter a low-power mode in low activity, the actual gain by using solid-state technology is never more than about five percent, according to Fujitsu estimates. Reliability is also an issue, as some flash drives are often limited to roughly 10,000 writes per storage cell before the area becomes unwriteable, leaving drives near the end of their lifespans without the ability to record data.

In a review of a new(er) solid state drive from Silicon Power, Olin Coles states

Value is a relative term, especially when you discuss bleeding edge technology. People ridicule the thought of making the high-dollar purchase of an SSD over a standard hard drive, but then they get into their Hummer’s and Porsche’s and drive to Starbucks for a five-dollar coffee. At the ends of every emerging technology are two sides: one which will buy the technology and one that will not.

Well, I would love to be in the high-dollar group, but I’m not. So I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the price to come down. Until then, I’ll go out and buy a few more OWC drives.

Blog, business, post production for film and video

Testing the waters; discussing data storage for Hearken Creative

As a hyphenated company (graphic design-post production-corporate video), it becomes difficult to know where to start. So, we’ll just jump in wherever I feel like jumping in, and data storage is of high concern to me right now.

So let’s take a run-of-the-mill video project — a simple corporate video. Five minutes running time, which might equal 2-4 hours of tape. I keep all my captures, because that video might/will be useful for future projects. Each hour of SD video capture to Quicktime DV is approximately 13 gigabytes, making captured video top out at 52 gigabytes. I figure I will add another 2 gigs of custom audio, stock audio, stock video (frames, stingers, backgrounds, transitions) before finishing the project. So, a 5-minute corporate video has now turned into 40-60 gigabytes of data. A single-sided DVD holds 4.5 gigabytes; I could spend days archiving a simple 5-minute corporate video (and a dozen DVD discs). What happens when I have a feature, with over 60 hours of capture? Let’s see, 60 x 13 gb = 780 gigabytes. And that’s just capture, nothing else.
For live projects, I can take a 1-terabyte drive for work, and a second 1-terabyte drive for backup. Easy. But when the project is over, where do I put the data? I can’t leave it on the drive, because 1) I need the drive for the next project, and 2) everyone tells me that hard drives are not a viable archiving solution.

Enter the Blu-ray Disc (BD). On a dual-layer disc, I could get up to 50 gigabytes on one disc! And they would last! The problem: only one external BD burner is available for Mac so far: the LaCie d2. I hate LaCie products — I have at least 5 dead LaCie hard drives in my office. And I”m not hearing good things about the customer support on this new one.

So, I’m holding my breath, waiting for more Blu-ray products to come to market so I can start archiving my projects. Until then, I just keep buying more 1-terabyte hard drives…