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Forums Storage & Archiving On-location hard drives for footage offload recommendations?

  • On-location hard drives for footage offload recommendations?

  • Per Scaffidi

    August 10, 2022 at 5:49 pm

    Looking to upgrade our drives that we use for on-location footage offload. Does anyone have any recommendations for fast and stable drives? Usually we use less than 2TB per shoot, and offloading in a hotel room so power is not an issue. Our gear:

    -Shotput Pro on a MacBook Pro

    -Red mini mag reader with USB-C

  • Jon Hensen

    August 10, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    What drives are you currently using?

    I feel like on location drives can be lumped into to two categories, fast shuttle-type SSDs and then RAID storage for some built in redundancy that a DIT would be transcoding dailies off of.

    For the SSDs, people like the Samsung T7s and the Sandisk Extreme Pros, BUT they will throttle after continued use – something like after 20 minutes or transfer time you will start to see a dip in performance. So I would use these for off load only and not for transcoding.

    For the RAIDs I would spec a TB3 OWC Thunderbay RAID 5 – the amount of storage this could buy you may be overkill, but RAID 5 is pretty standard for some added safety in the field. If you wanted to get their RAID 0 or RAID 1 models, you could go with the Mercury Elite lineup of drives, I would just make sure you had a master and a backup!

  • Per Scaffidi

    August 11, 2022 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks for the info. Currently using two older 7200rpm Lacie drives which have been *good enough*. I do a master and backup as I prefer having two separate drives in case of damage since we’re traveling and working in remote locations.

    Depending on the next project, I may go with your suggestion of the 2TB Sandisk Extreme Pro SSDs or 4TB Mercury elite Pro dual Raid hubs. Advertised throughput is 1000 Mb/s vs 550 Mb/s. However we do transcode from the field drives so I may lean towards the raid even though it’s half the speed. May have to do a real-world test — any thoughts?

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    August 12, 2022 at 6:01 am

    For Redmag offloads I’ve used 2.5″ SSDs in 2.5″ USB 3 enclosures. These provide up to 500+ MB/sec write speeds and they do not throttle even after 30+ mins of continuous write. Just get the right SSD. Crucial MX500, Samsung 850, WD Blue are all fine.

    For Alexa LF/35 shoots, 2.5″ SSDs may not keep up if the shoot is over 2 hrs per day. Then you need NVMe SSDs which are notorious for thermal throttling depending on model.

    But 2.5″ SSDs are fine for quick (Redmag) offload as well as transcoding to dailies off the SSD.

    But for long term storage you need to get a spinning drive and/or a RAID. The new 16TB and higher drives are very fast and can write at 250 MB/sec till the half way mark.

    4-bay Thunderbolt 3 RAIDs from Sandisk (previously G-Tech), LaCie, Promise are fast too. 400-600 MB/sec write. Some OWC RAID models are software RAIDs, which in my experience are fine, but some say they are unreliable.

    The new 8-bay RAIDs from Symply are amazingly fast, and small with a great hard case included.

    Offload from Red card to 2.5″ SSD, and simultaneously to RAID is very fast, and I’ve used Hedge write them at like speeds.

    For even longer term storage, after all deliverables are made, consider LTO backup so you can recycle the RAIDs for another job.

  • Neil Sadwelkar

    August 12, 2022 at 6:04 am

    One more thing. If you’re using an M1 Mac with MacOS 12 Monterey, make sure the RAID you’re considering has M1 drivers. There are a couple of RAIDs models that either don’t work with M1 systems, or work with very slow write performance.

    I think you may find a discussion own this on this forum some months ago.

  • Per Scaffidi

    August 12, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Great — thanks for the SSD the info. We do have LTO for long term storage, and a Raid for our edit bay.

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