December 19, 2014 at 12:19PM

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Storage Solution for Video Editing?

Dear No Film School Community,
we are a small Webvideo Production company (www.reframevideos.com) and we would like to professionalize our storage solution. I'm not a pro so please be forgiving if my questions are a little stupid.

Our budget is 1000-1500 Euro.
As far as I understand we should go for a Raid 5 for security and for thuderbolt for speed and upgradeability.

What are our options? OWC seems to be a good budget option. Other manufacturers that showed up in my research are Drobo, G-Technology and Pegasus (seems to be expensive). Any other good option I overlooked?

Things I do not understand:
Whats hardware vs. software Raid? Drobo says there software RAID is the shit but other sources say that I def should go for a hardware RAID.

What about NAS capabilities? It would be great to have the possibilty to access data from all computers in our local network or even from other locations. Do RAID systems like OWC offer these capabilities?

How about Software to manage our data? I would like to have a software that e.g. after a project is one year old asks me what to do with the data. Are there managment software solutions to handle my footage?

Is RAID really the direction to go? Till now we are safing our footage twice on different drives, a RAID would mean that if the RAID is power-grilled, stolen or burned down, everything is lost. Or is it a good solution to safe especially important footage to another external drive and store that at a different location? For that a good software would be handy as well.

Can you point me to articles that explain storage issues for video editing?

Puuh, any help would be so much appreciated, I'm a little lost on this issue.

Thank you so much!
Simon

4 Comments

There is a NAS solution (like a server) and storage about 600 dollars (8 TB)

January 22, 2015 at 2:05PM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7566

Do you want to just store, as in - backup data? Or work from a drive?
What is your workflow? (Multiple editors, seperate online editing/grading)
Ask yourself these questions and you will be closer to an answer.

One example: A simple but effective setup would be a NAS that you fill with hard drives that you format in a RAID (raid5 like you said is good for recovery reasons). That should be within your price range.
Get one like Synology and you can even use it as an FTP server and manage it via an app.
When you have footage in proper proxy-formats on it, you can even edit off of it over the network, if it is fast enough. Make sure you have a Gigabit-Network (your switch could be a bottle neck).
Backup footage on other slower/cheaper drives and put those in a safe that protects against humidity and magnetism and is preferably fireproof.

February 11, 2015 at 1:35PM

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Philip Drobar
Video Editor
280

I second using a NAS or DAS (direct attached storage) striped RAID 5, but you have to keep a few things in mind. First, RAID 5 and a NAS or DAS are only "safe" and "backup" within the unit - if a single drive fails, you will be fine, but if the unit itself fails, you still lose all your data - and even buying another exact unit and putting the drives inside does not always work. The best and safest way to keep your precious video data safe is to have your primary storage on RAID 5, have a working drive (single or NAS / DAS) with a second complete set of data, and then a third storage solution with a complete set of data, preferably off site (in case of theft, fire or disaster) either in another set of drives or in a cloud service, or similar service. Cloud services sound great until you realize that they are painfully slow for large video files. It is a great solution for long term "cold storage" and emergency backup however.

So to recap:
1. Put your primary working files on a NAS or DAS RAID system.
2. Put your primary backup files on a NAS or DAS RAID system or a series of single hard drives (I actually prefer single hard drives in this role) on site. Store them in a humidity and temperature controlled area and spin them up (power them up) every three to five months to check the disks.
3. Have an offsite storage solution (cloud services are becoming fairly competitive these days) where you can push your longer term storage. I prefer automatic backup of everything I put on my main drives, but that's up to you. In the event of a disaster, it may take hours or even days depending on how much data you have to move, but you won't lose everything - and it puts the burden of making sure that your data "in the cloud" is safe on someone else's IT plate. Often times, these services are back-boned with servers and trays of drives that would cost you or I upwards of $25,000. It's nice to have both the expense and the technical burdens covered by someone else.

Finally, have a strong media policy in place. Unless everything you create has a shelf life of "forever", why pay for the long-term storage or have it clogging up your local drives? Choose a "shelf life" for your projects, your media and your programs, and when they get beyond that age, delete them. I have a two year client storage policy. Anything that needs to be stored longer gets marked specially and given a longer shelf life. In my case clients pay for that extended shelf life, and in 24 years, I only have had two who wanted longer than ten years.

One final thought, adopt a naming process that bakes in the metadata. I am part of a group that is working on such an initiative (Independent Directors, Producers and Artists or iDPA). Sadly, even within Adobe products, metadata often does not carry over from program to program. Transfer from Adobe to Apple or AVID or others and often times even less metadata reliably translates between production houses. The iDPA's goal (amongst other things) is to provide an open and universal naming convention that "bakes in" the most needed metadata into the file name. Adopting this as part of your workflow not only makes you compatible with other producers and subcontractors, but makes tracking all those projects and files much easier as you go through their life cycle.

March 13, 2016 at 10:53PM

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H Robert Petersen
Producer, Director, Cinematographer
86

Thank you Robert for the very comprehensive response...that is exactly the kind of information I too was seeking!

June 17, 2018 at 11:36PM

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