The Data Storage Puzzle: How Technology is Headed Towards a Solution

In terms of image capturing devices, today we have access to a wide variety of systems available at a wide variety of prices. Even at the “low end” of the spectrum of technology and price we are able to find surprisingly good gadgets. Considerably, capturing images – be they stills or video – is no longer an issue. However, key considerations that many overlook are post-production aspects, like storage and distribution. How do you plan to manage those new giant files? Where are you going to keep them? How are you going to share them? And, who is paying for all that jazz?

Lately, we’ve had great success working with external monitor/recorders like Convergent Design’s Odyssey 7Q, AJA Ki Pro Quad 4K, and to a lesser degree, the Atomos Ninja 2. Being able to record in 4K, 2K, and HD ProRes formats directly from the camera’s sensor (and effectively bypassing the camera’s compression) is a major benefit. Keep in mind that these recorders require internal solid state drives, which typically hover around $1,000 for 512GB. From a financial standpoint this makes them just a temporary (not a permanent) storage solution.

When it comes to video editing an important decision is selecting a hard drive, as it will significantly impact your system’s performance. For a number of reasons (to be discussed in an upcoming article) solid state drives’ SDs can generally read and/or write twice as fast as hard disk drives. Even if the other pieces of the puzzle like video cards and RAM are adequate, slow hard drives become a major bottleneck for real time performance.

With current interfaces like Thunderbolt 2, and others like USB 3.1 that are literally around the corner. It will be interesting to see how manufacturers respond and what type of solutions they offer us.

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Remember, ALL drives, regardless of their price, brand, interface, or age will eventually fail and die. It is not a matter of IF but WHEN and a backup strategy should be in place regardless of which device you chose for your workflow.

What’s your backup plan? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section below. Let’s start a conversation about how to solve this puzzle?


Eduardo Angel is an independent Technology Consultant, Educator, and Visual Storyteller based in Brooklyn, NY. He currently teaches at The School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography, and mentors the photography program at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

He is a co-founder of the idea production company The Digital Distillery, author of popular filmmaking courses on, and regularly shares his thoughts on technology, photography, and cinema on his website

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