Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Re-format or partition portable/external hard drives

A Media student should invest in a sizeable USB hard drive; portable (no plug required) is better, and 1TB should be the absolute minimum ... but 4TB is much better if you can afford it. Amazon.de 4TB portable HDD search will give you sample prices; you can buy these in electrical stores.

TIP: Despite being USB3 models, portable drives all seem to come with a cheap USB2 cable - order a USB3 cable with your HDD or it will 10x slower than it should be - a real problem if copying large Final Cut libraries!!! (Also buy a protective case - the AmazonBasic range is fine for cables/cases)

You can back up work from Final Cut in a Library ... but not if you leave a hard drive formatted in FAT32, the default Windows file format, as this doesn't recognise files bigger than 4GB, and your Media work can easily exceed 1TB (250 times 4GB). The 'exFAT' file format allows you to use your portable drive for both Windows and Mac work.

A useful guide to the common file systems.

You can find a vodcast guide below the read more line, with a recording of re-formatting a new portable drive.

You SHOULD back up work on school computers - this is YOUR responsibility; if we have an equipment failure in school its down to you to have your own backup. That also means you can work across multiple computers, and can share files with group partners. You should also retain a copy of ALL filmed footage in separate folders (copy SD card folders) as a failsafe. Buying more, larger SD cards is a good way of backing up too.

Windows and Macs use different file systems by default, and these cause problems when you try to work across both types of computer.

There are 2 solutions:
  1. Partition your portable HDD to have both Windows FAT32 and Mac HFS (extended journal OS) sections
  2. Use EXFAT
I've tried both, and eventually I've come to stick to using exFAT. This allows both types of computer to recognise and read from the hard drive but also to write to it. There are multiple alternatives that mean on one or the other computer you can open but not save any files. You absolutely must make sure you safely eject the drive though, or it won't be recognised by the next machine you plug it into. Never pull out the lead when any files from it are still open.

There are lots of guides, including Apple's official help guides - these are google links:

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