Selecting storage for video editing

Selecting storage for video editing

When it comes time to edit your video, the hard drives you use are going to have a huge impact on the performance of your system. No matter how much RAM you have or how powerful a video card, you won’t get real-time performance if your drives are a bottleneck.

Important factors

There are three factors when choosing a disk for video editing:

  • Speed: The speed of drive is the most important factor in determining what media you can play off it. Drives like internal laptop drives or bus-powered USB drives are generally not fast enough to edit  HD video.
  • Capacity: When you start to edit HD video, you’ll quickly use up disk space. For example, each minute of video shot on a Canon 5D Mark II is about 320MB. In order to get the storage you need, you may invest in multiple drives or drives that are striped together for a performance RAID.
  • Redundancy: To avoid losing their video footage, most video creators choose to back up to two or more drives or to use additional methods like Blu-ray Disc. Look at redundant drives (such as RAIDs)

Drive technology

Be sure to consider your options when looking at hard drives.

  • Internal drive solutions: Many computers support multiple drive slots. Consider placing a fast SATA drive internally into your computer as a performance disk. Keep it only as a scratch disk and avoid installing application or system files on it.
  • External and portable drive solutions: Several different drives are available once you’ve maximized your internal storage. You’ll find both single- and multiple-drive solutions. Look for units offering connections like FireWire, USB3, or eSATA.
  • Networked RAIDs: Several professional drives allow multiple users to connect simultaneously. These solutions are important if you work in a multiple editor environment and need to share projects or assets.
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About the author

I'm a visual storyteller exploring the fusion of photography and video. I'm also a husband and father.

View all articles by Richard Harrington

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