Quick info – LTO versus hard drives for archival

I wrote this up in reply to someone on the Facebook Post Chat group and thought I’d like to have it archived over here too. I will update it with more info a links soon:

Some comparisons and real world data for reference: LTO6 will run you about $1500-$3500 for the drive. $30-$60 per tape. Each tape can store 2.5TB. It’ll write at about 160/MB per second. We regularly use LTO5, tapes are about $20 for 1.5TB. On LTO5, we can backup, compare & verify a single 1.5TB volume in about 12-15 hours. Even with the 10-15% speed up to LTO6, I expect you’d see similar or slightly longer times to backup (with the bonus of an extra 1TB of archival). Media files don’t take much advantage of the compression of LTO, so look at the uncompressed numbers for planning. If you enjoy the command line, then you might be able to just use LTFS. If you aren’t a masochist, then you’ll be using Retrospect or Bru to do your backup and restores (make sure you make a plan to backup your backup catalogs!). Your media can be properly stored on a shelf for multiple years and should be readable until LTO7 drives are no longer readily available.

Bare Hard drives run about $50-$100 for 2TB. Transfer times vary depending on system capabilities, you could see times around 10 hours for 2TB of transfer (longer if you do a verify and compare afterwards). Your data can live on the shelf for a number of years but based on my experience I wouldn’t trust it much past 18 months. In my experience, hard drives fail far more regularly than LTO tapes become unreadable.

As with any archival system, you will want to put a procedure in place that allows effective and timely management of the media you want to archive. You have to make time in your schedule for project backups. Our LTO drive is attached to a separate system that is dedicated to that task and we transfer media into that system via a 10GB switch. You may find it works best to have a two-tier system: hard drives for short- or near-term archival and LTO for long-term storage. As always, YMMV.

Avid Studio for iPad – quick take

Super quick take on Avid Studio for iPad:
– much more intuitive than iMovie on iOS.
– it reads ALL media on your iPad. All your music. All you photos. All your videos. And all your iTunes U content (that won’t last, I’m sure – so easy to rip off that content)
-very good set of editing tools – surprising for a version 1. Good Job Avid
-you cannot (as far as I can tell) take a video with married audio and then cut shots into it without stepping on the audio. (i.e.-no master shot with audio and then cutaways). The only way I see to make it work (so far) is to rip the audio off of a movie and then bring it back in as an audio source. This needs to be fixed.

Very impressed with this first effort though. An editor for $5 that can send projects to a professional desktop editing app…wow.

UPDATE: So it only sends projects to the PC-version of Avid Studio. But its a step closer.

Return to the Chair

On Monday, March 14, I will be returning to the editing chair. It marks a change in direction of my career, a return to the path where I’m best suited. For the last 4 years, I’ve been on a detour.

While on that detour, I’ve learned a bunch. I’ve gained knowledge about broadcast video editing, SAN-based editing environments, asset management and business management. I’ve taken two production companies from a few suites up to an insane number of edit suites. I’ve researched, planned and installed two different SAN platforms. I’ve dealt with expanding and contracting budgets. I’ve had to juggle people, rooms, media and schedules. A vendor once told me, as he helped me research SAN options, “with the knowledge you have, Ben, you are in a group of people that number in the hundreds globally.”  I’ve lost the ability to toot my own horn, but I think he’s right – I do know more about this stuff than most other people. So, why walk away?

I don’t think of it as walking away so much as refocusing. While I’ve got this knowledge and this experience that puts me in a small bracket, I’m also aware that a life in management isn’t for me at this time. While I think I’m a pretty good manager, I’m not tough enough. I’m too nice of a guy. A former boss of these past four years told me, “Ben, you need to embrace you Inner Asshole more. Bring him out into the light.” Um, thanks but no thanks, I thought.

See, I believe in a different kind of management style. I’ve always tried to manage like this quote I once saw:

I don’t believe in just ordering people to do things. You have to grab an oar & row with them.

Harold S. Geneen

On my journey through management-land, my philosophy was not compatible with how I was being asked to do my job. I’ll post more on that later…sometime…it’s all just too raw at this moment. In my case, I think I’m too much of an editor’s manager than a manager’s manager.

For now, I’ve got my sights on that chair up there. It’s in Edit 2 at Post Op Media my new (old) home. Here’s how life comes in cycles. 19 years ago I went to work for a post-production house in Arlington, VA. I started at Roland House as the overnight dubber. I was promoted to Assistant Editor and did some highly technical projects that I was suited for. I ended up my time there co-managing the Avid Department. I left after 4 years for an editing position at the PBS Newshour, then the Newshour with Jim Lehrer. After another 15 year journey of freelance editing, owning my own production company and making a go of being a Director of Post Production, I’m returning to the chair. I’m returning to Edit 2. You see, Post Op Media is located in the exact same building as Roland House.

19 years out and back. Now, on to the future!


It. Is. The. Truth.

I have been on the receiving end of these kinds of conversations for many years and it astounds me that things just don’t really change. What’s worse is when you find yourself switching roles (becoming the client of a former client) and woe to you if you try and turn the tables a little – as if “it’s OK for me to do this to you, but how dare you try and pull that shit on me?”