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Thread: Backing up video to external HDD

  1. #1

    Default Backing up video to external HDD

    Nobody’s mentioned backing up files lately. How many people routinely backup video to an external drive?

    I’ve been meaning to get a caddied Maxtor HDD just for this purpose. At one time, I’d always backup everything to another PC, but with house upheaval, it became inconvenient.

    My supplier says these external drives usually have USB connections, not firewire. Will this matter? Bearing in mind that “capture” is the same as “transfer” could copying to another drive have any undesirable effect?

    Can anyone enlighten me? Anyone with bad experiences?

  2. #2


    No, you won't lose any quality whatsoever. When we say "capture" in video editing, it's a bit of a misnomer. Capture or "transfer" from the DV cam to the PC is lossless (but remember the DV codec itself is actually lossy compressed - you'll notice a deteriation of quality after subsquent encodes. The problem with capture through USB (not USB2*) is the bandwidth requirement - the data provided from the cam is transferred at a constant speed. If the cable can't supply the data at this speed, you get dropped data - manifested as dropped frames and jerky playback. Equally, slow drives can't sustain the high data rate and they drop frames.

    This isn't a problem on subsquent transfer between drives. The data can happily be transfered at any rate as there's no minimum rate. That is the video isn't being played - think of it as the video being played back slowly!

    So transfer on capture HAS to be realtime, transfer after capture doesn't have to be real time. Go ahead an back up your data!

    *USB2 can maintain a higher transfer bandwidth that USB1.1, but isn't ideally suited to multimedia as this must be shared.

  3. #3


    I thought so, Marc. Backing up through my network never gave trouble, so I'm glad that one's cleared up.

    Thanks a lot, as always. Never thought of looking up the FAQs on this - is there an item on it?

  4. #4


    Not explicitly. I think about incorporating it.

  5. #5


    I know that certain models of LaCie external drives have firewire and USB2. Some actually have firewire800 on as well.

  6. #6


    Kind of had my heart set on a Maxtor, they're doing 250Gb caddied drives for £100-ish....last I heard.

    Yeah Mike, I knew there were some with 1394. Must check prices & availability.

    A friend lost a whole data drive a while back - very sad sight, terrible to see a man cry.

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