Samsung: End-to-end excellence

Posted on Apr 23, 2021

It takes a special kind of portable drive to service a complete production single-handedly, but as filmmaker Neil Horsman discovered, the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch has got exactly what it takes

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“I operate freelance when required, but I launched my umbrella company ten years ago, so that’s how I often operate on a lot of productions,” explains Neil Horsman. “My background is in live television production, spending many of my early years in studios. As a company, we cover everything, from corporate and commercial videos, to social media content and documentary work. The storytelling side of filmmaking is what I love the most.”

On a recent commission for a public body, Horsman eagerly welcomed the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch as a new addition to his – and his team’s – kit bag.

“We’ve been producing content for a number of South East England’s historic high streets,” he says. “For this part of the project, we had a team of three on location, shooting across three cameras: a cinema camera for primary use, a drone for aerial footage and a mirrorless body for B-roll. The portable drive impressed us all throughout the entire shoot, as well as post-production.”

The portable drive vastly enhanced workflow on set, enabling swift playback to review shots

Fast transfer

There are few things worse than undue delays on location. When enduring technical issues, teams can merely sit and wait, with precious shooting time flying by. That’s because every link in the cinematographer’s figurative kit chain is an essential one. And, in Horsman’s experience, the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch proved a very strong link.

“Shooting in 4K across three cameras, the volume of data builds up quickly. We were capturing about 300GB per location, so handling that quickly was imperative.”

For the team, swiftly storing that amount of footage on to a portable drive was vital for two reasons. First, it provided a secure backup, but it also meant the footage could be reviewed. The varied media used in the cameras was transferred simply on to the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch via a card reader.

“The backups were a necessity, but the on-set playback was particularly useful with the drone footage,” Horsman explains. “You can see a live feed of the footage as you’re shooting it, but it’s easy to miss details on a small display. Viewing them on a laptop provides reassurance that you’ve got the right shots.”

The portable drive’s performance left Horsman in no doubt that it made workflow more efficient. “Playback was perfectly smooth, even using a standard laptop. Being an external device, the team members could do this across multiple machines, too. We did what we needed to do, then continued on with the project,” he enthuses.

With USB 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity and internal PCIe NVMe technology, the portable drive achieves read and write speeds of up to 1000 and 1050MB/s, respectively. That’s reliable speed.”

Horsman also highlights the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch’s physical attributes. “Its durability is reassuring, because on run-and-gun shoots, jumping in and out of the car from location to location, kit gets thrown around or dropped. Knowing a portable drive can withstand that without corrupting, instils that confidence you want in kit.”

Size also proved a crucial factor. “It’s tiny and doesn’t require external power, so you can slip the drive into your pocket, or a small slot in your camera bag. On those busier shoots, the less you have to carry, the better.”

Making the grade

Post-production is often seen as an entirely distinct part of the creative process. However, applying this portable drive’s power, moving from shoot to post, doesn’t have to mean different kit.

“Following those shoot days, we’ve been editing off the portable drive. It performs outstandingly as a scratch disk,” says Horsman. “There’s no perceivable difference to the internal drive of my highly featured PC, but having that power in a portable package gives it a real edge. Plus, there’s no buffering, even in demanding moments, such as colour grading.

“Taking it through an entire production has highlighted the portable device’s strengths. Ordinarily, we’d work with hard drives in the field, moving the data for a second time on to our PCs, before editing. That’s one less step to consider with the portable drive, and it’s a big one. Transferring 2TB of data could mean a three-hour wait using our previous drives, but with the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch it was immediate.”

Another unique feature is its fingerprint scanner, based around secure AES 256-bit encryption. This proved a winner in Horsman’s eyes.

“We’ve never used a storage device with tech like that,” he explains. “Usually, you either need additional software to protect files, or you have to accept that anyone could access them. For larger shoots with more crew members, or where sensitive information is shared, restricting access to myself, the producer, the data wrangler and an optional fourth member in such a convenient way is really useful.”

Overall, Horsman was mightily impressed with the enabling portable drive.

“I didn’t find a single negative issue with the Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch. The portable drive handled everything we could throw at it – without even breaking a sweat.”

Visit the Samsung website for more information.

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