August 4, 2015 at 4:53PM

You voted '-1'.

Editing 4k: Thunderbolt vs USB 3.0?

I am currently still using Canon DSLR's and have been editing off the small external 1tb My Passport drives from Western Digital. I will soon be upgrading cameras, so I was wondering which external drives to get if I will be editing ProRes 4k that comes from a Shogun/A7s combo or compressed 4k from an a7rII or even a gh4.
Are thunderbolt drives a requirement? RAID is out of the question for me, too pricey.


Funny that no one has replied to this yet. If you are looking to edit the 4k h.264 coming off the GH4 or the xavcs from the a7rII you should be fine editing off a single external spinning drive over usb 3.0. Thunderbolt is only going to be useful if you are running a raid array as a single spinning drive is not going to even come close to saturating usb 3.0 or thunderbolt. You would be spending extra money for thunderbolt for essentially nothing. If you are looking at editing 4k prores coming off the shogun that is probably going to start pushing the upper limits of what a spinning drive can handle as far as real time playback through an NLE. I know that I have 60fps prores files on a fairly fast (as far as spinning drives go) spinning external and I can't playback real time. 24fps seems to play ok with some dropped frames here and there. You can forget about the prores 4444 stuff that I have :)

What is your price range exactly?

August 18, 2015 at 7:50PM


Jamie, thanks for the very useful comment. I'm also looking to get into editing XAVC-QFHD 4K at 60mbps from the Sony X70. I'm looking at portable Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 drives, and my question is, will a 5400rpm drive handle that? Or will a 7200rpm be necessary? I'll be editing short documentaries, so no graphics intensive, multi-track stuff. I'd like to stay around $200. Thanks so much!

Jeremy Braverman

March 22, 2016 at 8:59AM

I'd use Thunderbolt. Make sure you understand the post workflow with what you choose. Check this out: How a Post Production Supervisor Can Save Your Butt! -

December 15, 2015 at 9:20AM

Alex Ferrari
Director / Producer

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