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Chapter 2. Getting Set Up > Storage & Scratch Disks

Storage & Scratch Disks

A sixty-second video clip digitized in DV mode is 200 MB in size, and an uncompressed minute of video can eat a gigabyte of disk space. If you are making a five-minute videotape, you will soon run out of room on your hard drive. It’s best to consider purchasing a large-capacity drive. I remember when I first started working on Adobe Premiere 4.2 and “large capacity” was nine gigabytes. Now, nine gigabytes is considered small. You can now buy large-capacity external drives and create a disk array—a series of drives that the computer reads as a single source of information. Chances are, all you need for your project is a more modestly-sized disk of 30-80 GB that is either FireWire, IDE, or SCSI Ultra Fast/Wide. Although SCSI Ultra Fast/Wide drives are very fast, they are really a requirement only for uncompressed video used by the high-end video cards. IDE and FireWire drives work fine for the data rates DV needs.

DV needs 3.5 MB/sec for video, plus another 170 KB/sec for two tracks of audio (48 kHz). So, with a few more audio tracks, the drive needs to sustain about 5 MB/sec, which is nothing these days. Even the cheapest IDE drives can handle this; however, do yourself a favor and get a 7200 rpm drive. Although 5400 rpm drives work, they have slower seek times and lower data rates than 7200 rpm drives. In the end, 5400 rpm drives choke (drop video frames and audio) well before a 7200 rpm drive does. Most IDE drives can sustain anywhere from 25 MB/sec to close to 35 MB/sec, with peaks hitting 50 MB/sec—incredibly fast compared to SCSI drives of only a few years vintage that cost a lot more for less storage.


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