High Definition Video Editing

High Definition Video comes in many formats: Sony XDCAM and Apple ProRes are two of the more well known codecs for recording and editing HD footage. Video footage is a critical asset and requires protection. With modern video cameras shooting directly to a digital format, tapes are often not an ideal storage and archival format. The fast pace of business dictates that footage is available quickly when required for editing. Drobo offers a wide range of products which support videographers to have a successful business and manage large amounts of video data effectively.

A good setup involves many specific workflows and technical devices, and there are many issues that need to be considered:

Uploading Raw Footage
Equipment failure (camera, storage cards, field equipment, etc)
Accidental damage/loss (erasure, dropped equipment, theft, etc)
Editing and Mastering
Equipment failure (computer, storage devices, power outage)
Accidental damage/loss (erasure, destructive editing, theft, etc)
Archival and Backup (incl. retrieval)
Equipment failure (tape drives, storage enclosures)
Media failure (tapes, hard drives, damaged optical film, etc)
Accidental damage/loss (unable to find media, accidental disposal, etc)

In many cases, these problems can be solved simply by investing in the correct technology and procedure. For example, a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) will reduce the risk of a power outage causing a serious problem. Ensuring that adequate security (both in practice and in policy) is in place at all times will ensure that theft is a minor issue. Training and competent field technicians will ensure that equipment is used correctly.

However, for a videography studio that already has these issues under control, the shift to High Definition presents its own set of issues with regards to data storage and archival.

What is High Defintion?

High Definition specifically means high resolution and is in contrast to Standard Definition. High resolution simply means that there are more horizontal and vertical lines and this increases the detail in the image. Due to this increase in detail, it takes a larger storage and processing capacity to work with High Definition formats, and this presents new challenges:

What dictates the speed of storage?

A storage device should be part of an overall policy which clearly explains the needs and requirements of those using the storage device. In an editing suite, this is often measured by the number of video streams of a particular codec that can be played at once. On the field, it might be more important to support a wide variety of connectivity (USB2.0, FW400, FW800). In the case where multiple people are working on the same footage, the way in which this data is shared may be important. In other situations, it might simply be a general requirement that a certain operation is completed within a certain timeframe (i.e. finding a clip in the archive shouldn't take more than an hour). These requirements ultimately dictate the storage device and how it is implemented, and thus its speed.

The following table describes some basic bit rate requirements for videography:

Codec Typical Data Rates
Sony XDCAM18Mbit/s - 280Mbit/s
Apple ProRes63Mbit/s - 220Mbit/s
REDCODE RAW224Mbit/s - 336Mbit/s
Panasonic P2 AVC-Intra50Mbit/s - 100Mbit/s

This can be matched with connectivity options:

Connection Theoretical Maximum Data Rates
FireWire 800800Mbit/s
iSCSI (Gbit Ethernet)1000Mbit/s
eSATA 2.03000Mbit/s

And for those who are interested in the speed of the drives:

Device Theoretical Data Rates
Typical SATA hard drive800Mbit/s
Typical RAID configuration (for speed)1000Mbit/s

The actual maximum speed is the lowest speed of any of the individual physical components. This includes the host computer, the connectivity between the computer and the storage device, and the storage device itself.

It is often hard to put absolute values on these physical characteristics as they can change depending on many things: the capacity available or the amount of memory free in the computer, for example.

How does the Drobo fit into all of this?

There are a number of Drobo devices which are ideal for videography and editing studios:

Device Ideal For
Drobo STransferring Data (i.e. offsite backup), Field Work, Individual Workstation, Data Archival
Drobo FSEasy Shared Storage in the Studio
DroboProIndividual Workstation, Data Archival, Centralised Storage (attached to server)

For more examples of how Drobo is helping video producers and editors, visit the Data Robotics Video Editing/Production page.

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