News for November 2006

Special offer on Digital Intermediates book…

Until December 10th, Focal Press is offering a 20% discount for books ordered on their website.
The list of books on offer include “Fine Cuts: The Art of European Film Editing”, “Sound for Digital Video”, and of course, “Digital Intermediates for Film & Video”.
Now there’s a stocking filler if ever I heard one…
Get them now http://www.focalpress.com

Posted: November 23rd, 2006
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Still on the theme of disks…

There are some details on Russian video manufacturer CTT’s website of a flash disk (the “Mediator HD Flash DVR”) with 330MB/s write speed (enough to record uncompressed HD, if the blurb is to be believed). This could well prove to be a welcome substitute to Grass Valley’s somewhat unfavourably priced Venom FlashPaks.

HD Flash DVR is able to record uncompressed HD 1920х1080 30p YUV 4:2:2 video stream up to 15 minutes long.

There are three interface options

* HD/SD SDI – support video industry standards for uncomressed video streams, from PAL/NTSC up to 1080/30p;
* LVDS – wide-used high speed differential interface for easy integration into third systems
* Optical Channel – 1, 2 and 4Gb/sec for long distance or computer industry applications

CTT Mediator HD Flash Disk

More information…

Finally, the Facilis Terrablock… is a SAN with a twist: the twist being that connected systems think it’s a local disk rather than a remote disk.

Facilis Terrablock
I can’t really do it justice, so I suggest you check out Studio Daily… for a decent in-depth article.

Posted: November 16th, 2006
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Don’t buy Lacie…

I’ve bought lots of external storage over the last few years. Some of it meant for long-term storage, but most of the time it serves a relatively cheap way to get data from one place to another: buy a 100GB disk, throw some files on it, post it, forget about it. Much of the time I’ve bought Lacie drives because they are readily available, and fairly inexpensive.

However, I came to rely on them for something important recently. As usual, I made two copies of the data on two new disks, and hand-carried them to where they needed to go. Much to my disappointment, both disks failed. One (a 250GB firewire model) failed completely, the second (a USB 500GB one) just wouldn’t mount. Okay, so these things happen from time to time. Right now, I have seven lacie disks in front of me, 3 of which don’t work, but I’ve had the others for a long time, including a small one I’ve kept with my laptop for several years and has (so far) never let me down.

Reliable disks are an oxymoron, and I’d never want to depend on an external drive not to fail. No, the real problem with Lacie seems to be that when things go wrong with their equipment, they don’t want to know. The retailer I bought them from has a return to manufacturer policy- if you bought the disks 3 months ago, you’ve got to contact Lacie directly. Lacie’s UK website boasts a fax number, a sales email address, and (if you can navigate the confusing web page hierarchy) a web contact form to their support team. And apparently no-one who responds to any of them.

So the moral of this story is, I won’t be buying from Lacie any more, and I urge people to do the same. As for alternatives, I hear good things about G-Tech… drives (and their tech support), but for real peace of mind, buy a regular hard disk and a separate enclosure. At least that way, your data is accessible.

Posted: November 16th, 2006
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