Keeping Up with the Flow

Posted on Oct 17, 2018 by Julian Mitchell

DOP Tim Sutton is looking to adopt the new wave of full-frame sensor cinema cameras but increased data rates need reliable solid state drives like Samsung’s Portable SSD T5

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Throughout these articles we have highlighted the huge advantages that the Samsung Portable SSD T5 brings to the pro video world, however there is one advantage that is repeated again and again: time. Time is money and freeing it up relieves stress and moves the weakest link in the chain to a different area. The transfer speeds of these drives enable massive changes in the way productions work and dropping them in to production chains rewrites work practices.

The world of high-end cinematography is about to change with the introduction of full-frame sensors with Raw workflows. Both will increase data amounts. Consequently DOP Tim Sutton sees data transfer as a problem: “My cameras’ sensors are getting bigger, my camera cards are getting bigger, the data rates we create on set can become unwieldy and that happens quickly.

“I had heard about the advantages of the Samsung Portable SSD T5,” continues Tim. “The speed of transfer is the obvious headline but buying drives from the brand also fills you full of confidence. I also love the form factor, how lightweight and portable they are. I see a Raw workflow being considered more and more – especially when the Samsung Portable SSD T5 removes a barrier to the unlimited flow of data.

“The insurance policy aspect of using Samsung SSDs is a big part of the appeal for me. Apart from the obvious freedom a Raw workflow gives the image, often one of the main barriers to a Raw workflow is the sheer quantity of data and the time it would take to wrangle it – but an SSD workflow at affordable prices and capacities from 250GB to 2TB makes it viable.”

Tim is adopting the new wave of full-frame sensor high-end cinema cameras which have much faster and higher data read-outs – meaning seriously large quantities of data. “Having a terabyte of Samsung SSD available, even for a quick dump of the cameras’ proxies, is a refreshing way of working. Being able to call up, edit with, transfer a copy of without time really being a consideration anymore is how it should be.

“Unfortunately when you have inefficient media ultimately someone has to transfer it and when you’re talking about 4K video this can be gigabytes of data. Normally production will turn up and bring cards or drives and you do a transfer at the end of the day,” explains Tim. “I mentioned to them that buying Samsung Portable SSD T5 units of around 1TB would be a great solution and once the media is copied on to it you have a massively reliable solid state device that has huge transfer speeds.

“A full 128GB CFAST media transferred in under four minutes using the 1TB Samsung Portable drive; on a USB drive it might take 30 minutes and if using old USB2 links in the chain you’re looking at up to an hour or more to wait for the transfer. Add in multiple cameras and multiple cards and it doesn’t take a genius to see a huge potential bottleneck there. SSDs are probably cheaper and more reliable than some of the people and the hours they need to put in on set.

“Then if you’re shooting multiple cameras and 4K video, all of a sudden you’re looking at transfer times that will mean someone is working through the night to achieve the transfer and then you have to start afresh in the morning when the cards need to go back in the cameras,” continues Tim. “The whole point of having less time to transfer media is that you can do it all in one go and there is less scope for mistakes. You won’t be tempted to leave it and then come back to it with all the dangers inherent in that.”

Hooked on Samsung SSDs
This way the Samsung Portable SSD T5 can save a production money, which always pleases producers. “If you buy a 1TB spinning disc drive cheaply online it may turn out to be a false economy when there’s a solid state drive with the Samsung name on it. There’s no doubt that spinning disks can fail and who is authorised to take that risk?” asks Tim.

Hooked on these Samsung SSDs, he says it’s all about embracing the best technology. “Using reliable technology ultimately takes my time away from thinking about data transfer times and I can worry more about the day job as in the art the craft, the light and the emotion.

“Working on feature length documentaries with directors, shooting 4K material for very long takes often with multiple cameras and using the very latest technology – solid state feels right.”

For Tim, encapsulating the benefits
of the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is simple. “It’s a great brand, it’s a reliable and fast portable drive, it makes my life a lot easier and it’s a very cool gadget. When someone shows you a Samsung Portable SSD T5 you want one.”


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