The solution for an affordable Scarlet-X backup workflow

January 11th, 2012 icon / message-square
The solution for an affordable Scarlet-X backup workflow

When we had our first 1 day no-budget Scarlet-X shoot two weeks ago (see short and field report here) we bumped into one major problem: Backing up the data on this MacBook Pro via FW800 just took too long (30 minutes for a 64GB card) and we ended up not having a second backup (!).
This is a situation you simply can’t have. If that backup dies the work (and money) that went into that shooting day dies with it.

Read on for the solution to this problem:

Usually people on the big shoots have a DIT cart (see above), a huge computer trolley and personnel for the backups and on set post processing. For someone who’s using the Scarlet-X guerilla style that’s usually not an option. And if you’re coming from a world where you backup a CF card in 5 minutes on your $20 reader, there’s probably also no understanding for much more scale. Note: A Macbook can certainly not replace the power and speed in post processing of a DIT cart machine, but it could join the required backup speed.

The main problem for Macbook owners is that the Macbook (at least this one) doesn’t support eSATA (which the RED cardreader requires for fast throughput).

The good news is that upgrading your FW800 MacBook Pro (with thunderbolt) to a much faster eSATA powerhorse is now possible and costs a fraction of any RED accessory:

B&H currently has the new Sonnet ExpressCard to Thunderbolt adapter in stock. It costs $130

This adapter gives you an Express Card slot. You can then insert a Sonnet ExpressCard to eSATA. The company says any Express card can work but Thunderbolt compatibility has to be enabled by the manufacturer. They can only guarantee that their own cards work.
The fastest Sonnet eSATA card is the Tempo SATA Pro ExpressCard/34 eSATA Controller that runs for $120

If they had those in Europe I’d be onto them like a monkey, but it seems Sonnet is only big in the US. So I can’t test them either. The company claims the card has a throughput of up to 200 MB/sec. If I’m not mistaken eSATA does up to 750 MB/sec, but then again the RED station did about 220 MB/sec in my test.

[UPDATE]: Found it in Europe: amazon link and amazon link 2

Why is it so important? Backup speed will allow you to use less REDmag SSD cards which are very expensive.

On a side note, while the Macbook supports the very nice, reliable and small thunderbolt LaCie Little Big Disks, they’re also very expensive at around $500. The eSata d2 drives will be much more affordable at $200: link

I picked up a similarly interesting product on cnet:

This is a device about the size of a portable external drive that comes with two Thunderbolt ports and two eSATA ports. Users can connect up to two eSATA drives to the hub and it will instantly make them work with a host computer via one Thunderbolt port. With the other port, you can daisy chain other Thunderbolt devices, including other hubs in case you have many eSATA drives. (…)

LaCie’s eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series will be available during the first quarter of 2012 with pricing to be announced then.

AD:
If you need a Scarlet-X in Vienna rent it here: www.scarlet-x.at

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