Storage drives may not be the most exciting, sexy elements in the creative process, but they’re quickly becoming more and more crucial as the end of videotape draws ever so closer with productions essentially now capturing data.
“Storage is the medium now,” says Rob Kobrin, Chief Technology Officer at Integrated Media Technologies, Inc., whose core business is storage and file-based workflows. As evidence, you only have to look at a new system such as Cinedeck, the direct-to-disk, cinema-grade HD/2K video recorder that attaches directly to the camera. According to Kobrin, the system will be used to shoot a new high-profile TV series direct to hard drive. “Systems like Cinedeck and AJA Ki Pro are the future, because people are now shooting direct to disk,” he reports. “Videotape is rapidly disappearing in production and in post.”
HDVideoPro takes a good look at some of the various storage solutions out there.
Portability is the name of the game, and there are many options. G-Technology offers the G-Drive mini, which weighs less than nine ounces and is perfect for storing MP3 files, digital photos and videos. And WiebeTech has its own ToughTech mini series in two flavors with FireWire and USB or eSATA connections. Billed as “perfect for business travel and creative professionals,” the iStoragePro Pocket drive is, as its name suggests, a lightweight, pocket-sized and eminently portable high-speed external hard drive, bus-powered (no power adapter required), with a storage capacity of up to 500 GB at 5400-7200 rpm. With a flexible high-speed interface (USB/FireWire 400/800), it’s Mac OSX- and Windows-compatible, and it comes in a rugged aluminum enclosure.
Seagate offers a number of external drives such as GoFlex drives, which work on PCs and Macs, FreeAgent desktop and portable drives, which are ideal for storing photos and music files, and Seagate Replica drives, designed for single or multiple PC backup jobs. Seagate also offers its BlackArmor and Expansion drives. Western Digital makes a wide array of external and portable drives, including its My Passport models such as Essential, Essential SE and Elite (in some great metallic colors). All offer automatic backup, and the Essential and Essential SE offer both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces. The company also offers portable storage models for Mac, such as My Passport Studio and My Passport SE for Mac, and desktop storage solutions such as My Book 3.0, which has a USB 3.0 interface for the fastest transfer rates out there for external hard drives. The My Passport AV has 320 GB capacity and offers video storage and playback direct from the drive. Unibrain Inc. offers its ubCore 1394a-1394b FireWire 800 drivers, v.5.70; and Iomega, LaCie, Lexar and Moshi all offer drives.
Designed for PCs, USB is everywhere now—smartphones, PDAs, game consoles—and 3.0 offers not only speed, but also backward-compatibility to the old snail-paced 2.0. LaCie, a leading manufacturer of storage devices for PC, Mac and Linux systems, has always prided itself on combining cutting-edge technology with great design and quickly marketing such innovations as the first USB/FireWire board, FireWire 800 hard drive and USB bus-covered hard drive over the past decade. The company recently introduced the world’s first RAID storage solution to incorporate the new USB 3.0 technology—the LaCie 2big USB 3.0. With a sleek design by acclaimed Scottish designer Neil Poulton, it was developed for professionals who require high capacity and fast transfer speeds, and the LaCie 2big USB 3.0 offers the highest performances ever achieved in a USB 3.0 external storage solution—up to 205 MB/s, setting a new standard in the market. The LaCie 2big USB 3.0 is available in up to a 4 TB capacity, allowing users to store and transfer large files without waiting. As for its lightning-fast speed, you can transfer a 50 GB Blu-ray disk in less than five minutes, which is six times faster than USB 2.0. The 2big USB 3.0 is backward-compatible with USB 2.0, making it dependable for transfers with any workstation, and includes two 7200-rpm hot-swappable hard disks and features three RAID modes for performance and security. The “Fast” mode (RAID 0) offers the full speed and capacity of the 2big USB 3.0, and the “Safe” mode (RAID 1), full data protection against disk failure. A JBOD mode is available for users willing to mount the two disks separately for scheduled backups using the included LaCie Backup software for Mac or PC.