Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mobile USB Hard Drives Aid in HD Video Storage

The ongoing shift to high-definition (HD) video content, from standard-definition (SD), has gained new momentum as the price of low-end HD camcorders continues to decline. The market development from HD video resolution professional-grade to advanced prosumer and then to mainstream consumer devices has been swift.

There are several HD Video formats, which are used for video capture and for online video streaming applications. One thing that all HD formats seem to have in common, they create significantly larger file sizes than the prior SD formats. As you capture more video in HD or acquire stock video for your multimedia projects, you'll quickly discover the need for more hard drive capacity.

As an example, it takes about 13GB of memory to store one hour of standard definition (DV) video and 40GB to store an hour of high definition (HD) video. File sizes can vary depending on the video codec and bit rate options. Also, whether you store and edit in native (uncompressed) formats or choose to transcode your video, those choices can impact the resulting file size.

That said, one of the many benefits of digital video, when compared to traditional film, is the relatively economical storage options. During the production phase of a project it is common for videographers to shoot multiple versions of a given scene, knowing that they can discard unused video in the post-production editing phase.

Video Storage Options, When Mobile

When on location, flash memory storage is now becoming the preferred capture method for new cameras -- replacing the prior method, using magnetic tape. Transferring, or downloading, digital video files from a camcorder's flash media to a notebook PC's hard drive is common practice.

In addition to the built-in PC hard drive, another very useful storage option is the portable external hard drive -- in particular, those utilizing the USB 2.0 interface standard.

USB buss-powered external hard drives are preferable for mobile applications because they don't require a separate power supply; they're powered via the single USB cable. Purpose-built portable drives are very small, light and power-efficient devices that can range in data storage capacity from 250GB up to 1TB -- with the popular 500GB models now priced at about $100.

Ultra-Portable Storage - the Must-Have Tool

I've been using two ultra-portable drives for my own video applications. I highly recommend them, even if you already own an desktop external hard drive, I suggest that you consider the benefits of these sleek new ultra-portable models.

The FreeAgent Go from Seagate comes bundled with automatic back-up software and is pre-formatted for Windows PCs. My device also included a copy of muvee Reveal software, providing a convenient, all-in-one solution for creating, saving and sharing videos. This device has a standard 5-year limited warranty.

The G-Drive Mobile USB from G-Technology is a slightly larger drive that's pre-formatted for Apple MacBooks. The drive can also be initialized and formatted for Windows PC use. This storage device has a rugged aluminum case -- and yet it weighs less than 9 ounces. It's backed by a standard 3-year limited warranty.

Portable external hard disk drives have become a must-have tool for the economical real-time and archival mass storage of HD video content and various other multimedia file types.