Videoguys NLE Video Storage FAQ

One of the most confusing things about digital video editing is the storage requirement.

In this article the Videoguys Techs will help you better understand just what kind of storage you’ll need for your video productions. Mac or PC based video editors face the same storage challenges and questions, and we’ve got the straight forward answers you need!

Top 5 Storage Rules
You have a lot of choices for drives to store your digital video files. A stand-alone SATA hard drive is fast enough for editing Standard Definition (SD) footage using DV or MPEG2 compression. But, if you’re working with uncompressed SD footage or HD footage, we recommend more robust storage solutions. Before we get into our FAQ, we’d like to review Videoguys’ Five Rules of Video Storage:

1) You can never have too much storage.

DV compressed video requires 13GB per hour of footage (ProRes 422 requires 66GB/hour). While this may not seem like a big deal to you today, it sure was not so many years ago. Back in 1998 a 9GB SCSI drive would cost you over $1500!! And if you wanted to create great looking video, you had no choice but to invest that kind of money. Today’s SATA drives are faster, more reliable and most importantly offer far greater capacities at a fraction of the cost. You can find 1TB drives (1,000 GB) for under $100 online.

2) It’s the throughput baby!

Seek times and peak transfer rates mean nothing for video production. All we care about is sustained throughput. We don’t care about the highest specs of the drive. We only care about the minimum. If the sustained data rate of the drive dips below the required transfer rate for our video, the result is jerky playback, messed up audio and dropped frames. Given today’s technology, there is no excuse for this. When in doubt, get better storage then you think you will need.

RPMs are a good indicator of a drives over-all performance. For video work we recommend drives rated 7200 RPM or faster. We have found that many 5400 RPM drives do not have the sustained throughput required for NLE work.

3) A single drive will get slower as it fills with data.

A hard drive is a spinning disk. Back when we all had turntables and records, this was very easy to explain. If you placed a penny on the outer edge of the record, it would travel a much greater distance in a single rotation then a penny placed near the label on the inside of the LP. More distance over the same period of time equals greater speed. Using this analogy today just gets me a strange look by most people. But the reality is still the same: A single drive will get slower as it fills with data. Even with todays SATA technology we have seen that once a drive reaches 75% of capacity, the sustained data rate starts to drop off considerably.

Follow this link for the full guide at


Join the Videoguys as we answer your most frequently asked questions. Our trained technicians will discuss the most popular video editing and production equipment available today.

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