Every filmmaker dreads losing footage to a hard drive crash. Some studios are so worried that they don't even format their camera cards, instead keeping all the raw camera cards stored in a vault until after the movie premieres, then formatting them for use on the next production. Data redundancy is important, since a drive is absolutely going to fail, which is what makes the system LaCie has put together with the 6Big and 12Big drives so appealing.

Up to two of the six drives can fail with absolutely no loss of data.

The 6Big and 12Big drives are just that: big. They are housed in a single enclosure with either six or 12 drives inside that can be arrayed a variety of ways, with most filmmakers likely to choose RAID 6. If you've been around a while, you are likely familiar with RAID 0, where drives are striped together for speed, or RAID 1, where they are mirrors of each other (an easy way to remember is that RAID 1 gives you "1" backup, while RAID 0 gives you "0" backup). RAID 6 offers even higher redundancy while keeping up speed. Up to two of the six drives can fail with absolutely no loss of data.

Nofilmschool_lacie_6big-6Credit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

This is a great start, but it gets way better with the five year warranty. Using IronWolf drives, LaCie feels confident enough to warranty not just the enclosure but also the drives inside for five years. To be clear, this doesn't mean you'll never lose data; if you try really hard you can manage to destroy data and that won't be LaCie's fault. What the warranty will do, however, is immediately ship you a replacement drive for the failed one. You keep working, the new drive comes,  and you swap it out and mail the old drive back without losing a day.

Nofilmschool_lacie_6big-2Credit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

Most independent filmmakers haven't had the budget for RAID devices until recently. With the 6Big and 12Big lines, LaCie is pushing into this area in a big way, and with the company's long experience working with filmmakers and creatives it's likely to be a successful product. A workflow that allows for both redundancy and speed—and that guarantees immediate drive replacement if your drive fails so you can just keep working—is an amazing setup.

We also love that it comes with a built in internal power supply, which allows a simple power cable without a power converter to be used to power the device, making life much easier if you move it around. However, if there is a drawback, it's the physical weight of the unit. At 21 pounds, it feels less portable than we'd like. The 6Big is just barely small enough that you might consider taking it to set to download to, but it's just barely heavy enough to be annoying to do so. 

Nofilmschool_lacie_6big-5Credit: Charles Haine for NoFilmSchool

It's a little pricy for a small project, but if you have an upcoming independent feature film or freelance regularly in post, the Big line is worth a look. We did our testing in Thunderbolt 2, since it still is more common as an interface than Thunderbolt 3, and found that we got around 800mb/s in write speed in RAID 6, which is still plenty useful and respectable for an HDD system, even if it's not quite the 1200mb/s advertised.


If you are an up and coming DIT or running a small production company and own a car or a truck, this could make a dynamite on-set download RAID.

Available now from B&H, with the 24TB starting at $2699.

Tech Specs:

  • 24-120TB capacity
  • 128MB cache IronWolf drives
  • 0/1/5/6/10/50/60 RAID modes
  • Kensington Lock Port
  • 12big: 100-240V; 50/60Hz; 400W, 6big: 100-240V; 50/60Hz; 250W power draw
  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 compatible
  • 12big: 161 × 447 × 237 mm | 6.3 × 17.6 × 9.3 in.  6big: 161 × 225 × 237 mm | 6.3 × 8.9 × 9.3 in.
  • 12Big 120TB: 17.6 kg | 38.9 lbs, 6Big 60TB: 9.9 kg | 21.8 lbs