December 22, 2016 at 1:50PM

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Will Raid 0 speed up my workflow?

Hi everyone, I'm currently editing on a laptop, it's not great but I can't afford to upgrade yet. So far everything is saved and edited on the laptop's internal hdd.

I'm going to film some interviews and I'm looking to purchase either a Atomos Ninja Blade or a Blackmagic Video Assist so I can break the 20 minute limit on my DSLR and get some nice dnxhd to edit in. Currently the thing that's going to swing my decision between the two is whether or not investing in HDDs is going to speed up my workflow. I could buy one or two and stick them in a caddy when they're not in the atomos. I heard a Raid 0 array will speed things up but is it really going to make much of a difference?

18 Comments

What laptop are you using ? What processor ? What video GPU ? How much RAM does it have ? What video editor are you using ? What DSLR are you shooting with ?

December 22, 2016 at 1:57PM, Edited December 22, 1:58PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31952

Hi Guy, I'm going to be shooting with a Nikon D5300 in 1080p. I'm using a HP Envy... Something with 12gigs of ram, Intel I7-5500U 2.40ghz and an Nvidia GeForce 840M. I'm going to start trying to use DaVinci Resolve to edit, I'm more familiar with Premiere Pro but I tried upgrading to CC and it was so buggy it was unusable, so I'm going to try and make the switch.

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 8:29AM

Perfectly usable to me. Your instance might be corrupt or it could be some driver corruption too.

Clark McCauley

December 23, 2016 at 11:26PM

You need to consider 2 things,
1 - The bandwidth of your computer.
2 - your budget
Actually the main reason to use RAID-0 is to speed up the disk write and read speed.
For example, If your hard drive is 5400rpm and connected on a SATA-3 interface theoretically it has 6Gbps bandwidth, but in actual it will be performing at around 100Mbps, for if you have an expensive laptop. For cheaper laptops it may be 50-60Mbps bandwidth. So, what a RAID-0 solution does, is combine another write / read head in case of 2 hard disks. So, let's suppose your laptop is getting 100Mbps throughput, with RAID0 in 2 disks, you will get around 200Mbps bandwidth and so on. This does speed up the editing performance.
The most hideous issue is, Laptops have either 1 or in very rare case more than 1 storage interfaces. In modern mobile workstation laptops you may find mSATA or M.2 interfaces. But, the storage solutions are very expansive for these interfaces.
For my case, I am using a Dell Precision m4600 Laptop, with following configurations.
2nd gen quad core Core i7 + 16GB RAM + 2GB NVidia graphics.
Primary Storage for OS: 80GB mSata SSD
Primary HDD: 1TB 7200RPM WD black SATA-3
Optical disk Drive replaced with Hard disk caddy: 1TB 7200RPM WD black SATA-3
RAID-0 is configured on 2 identical 1TB hard drives gives a total 2TB storage (1.8TB in actual) {Dell precision m4600 has support for upto SATA-2. SATA-3 drives are backward compatible}.
If I need, I had a LaCie 2TB thunderbolt + USB3 RAID-0 portable drive. but again with USB3 you can only achieve upto 150Mbps. This drive best works (upto 450Mbps) with MacBook Pro, as they all contain thunderbolt interfaces.
I can even edit UHD upto 250Mbps with this setup.
Thanks to Creator Allah S. W. T.
:-)
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The easiest part is you can edit in proxy with new Premiere Pro CC 2017, without any additional setup.
You don't need to upgrade your hardware setup for proxy editing, until you had sufficient storage. High disk bandwidth is a luxury in video editing, which you can avail when you have sufficient budget.

December 23, 2016 at 2:45AM, Edited December 23, 2:55AM

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Muhammad Anil Babur
Film Producer/Director/Editor
185

Thank you Muhammad. I'm going to have to sit down and do some more harddrive homework...

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 8:48AM

Just switching to DNxHD capture will speed up your render times a great deal. H.264 is incredibly compact but processor-intensive, so that's your main bottleneck right now, not HDD speed. A good way to work is dump your source DNxHD SSD to the HDD on the computer and render to DNxHD a different SSD. That way, you have some redundancy as well as a faster work-flow. If you ever decide to go uncompressed, you would definitely want a RAID, but you also definitely wouldn't want to be using a laptop. You can get a much faster, more powerful, more customizable system for less money in a desktop system.

H.264/MPEG-2
low-bandwidth, high processing

DNxHD/ProRes HQ
medium-bandwidth, medium processing

Uncompressed
high-bandwidth, low processing.

Of course, with the heavy grading people do nowadays, pretty much all rendering is processor-intensive, but not as bad as working with H.264.

December 23, 2016 at 7:23AM, Edited December 23, 7:41AM

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Thanks Stephen, that really clears things up. I'm probably going to stick to DNxHD for the time being so maybe I'll just see about getting a separate SSD.

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 8:43AM

Is your laptop running from a SSD drive ?

I mainly work from an i7 desktop machine, but I also use an older HP Pavilion G7 laptop with an i5 3210M CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon 7600M GPU when I'm on location.

Replacing the original 750GB hard-drive with a 1TB SSD made a huge performance difference, where this laptop feels like it's 10x faster ( it boots to the desktop in 8 seconds ) but in reality it is probably 4x faster when editing video. I'm using Sony Vegas Pro 14 to edit with, which is not the fastest editor around but it's my favorite to work with.

If you're not running from an SSD drive right now, then that is the first thing I would do to speed up your laptop.

December 23, 2016 at 10:11AM, Edited December 23, 10:15AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31952

That is really interesting. I checked and my laptop's not running from an SSD drive. Do you think maybe if I purchased an SSD drive and used it externally to edit on I'd get the same benefit?

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 10:12PM

I've just been googling and apparently with some of these HP laptops there's space for two HDDs, and cloning them is apparently pretty easy, so I might be able to make this work. Thanks!

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 10:48PM

I would get an SSD for sure. Cloning won't speed you up at all and that's RAID 1. RAID 0 is what you won't for speed (but not redundancy) as it will stripe the data.

Clark McCauley

December 23, 2016 at 11:28PM

Sorry, I just meant the easy cloning of my existing hdd would make it easier to install a SSD for my C: drive.

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 11:44PM

When I was starting my career, I had a desktop Pentium 4 3GHz processor + 2GBRAM + 500GB HDD + NVidia Quadro FX1300 (128MB Graphics) on windows xp 32bit. I had edited 20+, 1080p projects and a lot of SDs, with this setup, all came from Sony 1080 dv tapes (Forgot the model, I think it was z100). Honestly, low resources must not limit you from achieving your goals. I learned about proxy editing at that time, and it worked i.e. downsizing your footage for editing and replacing with originals for final output (visit this link and find numerous resources for proxy workflow https://www.google.com.pk/search?q=proxy+editing+basics+in+premiere+pro&...). Although it took a lot of my time to finish these projects, but It taught me well. :-)
For handling 4k raw footage from Blackmagic URSA you need patience and proxy workflow. Cheers!

December 23, 2016 at 1:04PM, Edited December 23, 1:06PM

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Muhammad Anil Babur
Film Producer/Director/Editor
185

Thank you so much that's exactly the kind of attitude I'm trying to have.

Philip Hawken

December 23, 2016 at 10:13PM

>>>Do you think maybe if I purchased an SSD drive and used it externally to edit on I'd get the same benefit?

Most of the new SSD drives read and write at more than 500 MB/sec, so changing to an SSD drive makes a huge difference.

My HP laptop used to take about 90 seconds to boot to the desktop, now it's 8 seconds because of the 1TB SSD drive.

>>>some of these HP laptops there's space for two HDDs, and cloning them is apparently pretty easy

If you you can remove the optical drive in your laptop, on eBay you can find hard-drive docks that allow you to fit a second 2.5 inch drive where the optical drive used to be, so you could fit a second SSD drive into this space.

>>>I just meant the easy cloning of my existing hdd would make it easier to install a SSD for my C: drive.

I used the Acronis True Image to clone my original drive on to the new SSD drive. It's really easy if you have a second computer to work from.

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/resource-center/resource/cloning-software/

December 24, 2016 at 10:20AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31952

Thanks Guy. After Christmas I'll be buying an SSD and seeing how that improves things. Thanks for the help!

Philip Hawken

December 24, 2016 at 7:49PM

You can find the 2nd drive dock on eBay if you search for "HDD Caddy" along with the brand of laptop you own.

Guy McLoughlin

December 24, 2016 at 8:02PM

How much of a difference SSD will make depends on a lot of conditions. A couple of days ago, I was remastered a live show from 2001 that was recorded on MiniDV. I needed a fair amount of processing to bring it into 2016 but with SSD, i7 and recent but middle of the line AMD GPU, it rendered in about real time (80 minutes) to a Logarith intermediary (80-90mbps). The thing is, my SSD is fast enough to simultaneously read and write full uncompressed HD video faster than real time (as is the buss), but the moment processing is added, it bogs down the system. A similar HD project (6x as many pixels to process) would have taken over eight hours to render!

In the late 90s, I was working with uncompressed 4:2:2 standard def (166mbps) on a Pentium II in real time. A couple of years later, I switched to MiniDV and a PIII. Those projects rendered much faster than real time using a single IDE HDD, though making DVDs was grotesque. However, that was when we shot the video to look as natural as possible, dumped it to HDD and did cuts, maybe a fade here and there plus some titles and printed to tape. Notice how Mr. Babur here started with a much more advanced system than me. The CODECs on his system were 25mbps just like my MiniDV system, but working with HD MPEG-2 meant he couldn't work in real time without proxies (the final edit was much slower than real time).

Now, if you are editing DNxHD in the same way (no processing on most shots) with an editor that can export without recompression, you could render at about 2x real time with a single, conventional laptop HDD. Today, however, it seems like if you aren't using at least 3x plugins at a time, you're doing something wrong, you know, "because it's art". That changes everything, not because of the drive speed but because of the processing power required.

It's STILL a good idea to have an SSD on your computer because you can copy the source SSD to your computer much faster, but it probably won't speed up editing if you plan to do a lot of processing (or rendering to AVCHD etc.)

December 26, 2016 at 9:15AM, Edited December 26, 9:30AM

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