The Dark Side of DROBO


IMPORTANT NOTE: This post was updated on Wednesday; November 4, 2009 with new information regarding resizing partitions on the Drobo using iPartition.

As brought to my attention by reader Bradley Davidson (thanks Bradley), iPartition does not actually support the method that I mentioned, and neither does drobo directly.

In my testing, I performed the resizing operation on a newly formatted drive that didn’t have any data (since I had just lost all of my data that was on the drobo). If you try to resize a partition as outlined in this post, you WILL LOSE YOUR DATA. So don’t try it. In theory it was a great idea, but apparently this too will cause problems.

You can find more information on the iPartition website, as well as from Drobo. Like we’ve pointed out many times, we’re also learning here at SuiteTake so thanks for the feedback.

Before I start, let me just say that I am a Drobo fan. I have 2 of them (an original USB and a newer FW version) and plan to purchase more Drobo’s in the not too distant future. Overall I’ve had a great experience with the units and when I needed assistance their tech support was very helpful.

All of that being said, there is a dirty little secret that they don’t warn you about and if you’re not careful you can have your Drobo crash beyond recovery, which is what happened to me this past week. I lost nearly 4 TB of files and there was nothing I could do to get them back. If you own a Drobo, this is a must read.

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Live Previews with Zaxwerks ProAnimator

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Zaxwerks ProAnimator plug-in for After Effects is a great tool for creating 3D object animations right inside After Effects. We use it all the time for text and logo animations, animated background elements, and  various other elements.

Recently a project came across my desk that called for an intricate and precise animation of an airplane flying across a globe. The graphic was supposed to be your typical red line that traces itself across a globe hopping from country to country. A job for ProAnimator? Yes. Was there a catch? Yes.

The problem I faced even before I started was that as far as I knew there was no way to preview custom layer maps in the ProAnimator interface. I was going to have to create the globe and then animate its rotation precisely to the points that the “airplane” was supposed to travel to at the precise times. By default ProAnimator displays a generic place-holder image on your objects when you apply layer maps to them, you can’t preview the actual layer map within ProAnimator. This would obviously make for a lot of tedious trial and error when trying to precisely rotate the globe to specific countries.

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Stay Organized From Start To Finish And Save Yourself (from yourself) Part 1 of 2

While it’s not the most sexy topic, in my opinion it’s one of the most important if you want to be a true video professional. That topic is organization. From the moment you launch FCP to the time you output the final file or DVD, there are things you can do at every turn that will make you faster, more organized and keep you from being the enemy of any editor that has to pick up your project.

In a nutshell, the main focus of this post is to keep your project and media organized in a way that allows any editor to pickup your project and have a pretty good sense of what’s going on. By following these steps you’ll also be more efficient, save yourself time and be more likely to avoid costly mistakes

This is part 1 of 2 parts and I’ll focus on pre-editing organization and proper setup of your edit system and project. Part 2 will cover editing media management, proper use of timeline tracks and exporting/final output and long term archival.

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Windows and Macs: Can’t We Just Get Along…?

My life is a lot like West Side Story. Even if you take away my constant dancing and occasional problem solving knife fights, it’s still pretty much West Side Story. Well, actually, I’ve never assaulted a police officer or had any reason to mess with the Sharks, but I did briefly date a Puerto Rican woman in college. I’m getting off topic, hold on, my original thought about West Side Story was that I use a PC at home, and Macs at work. And it tears my life apart! I’m in a constant struggle to maintain some sort of peace between the people I know, because I’m always in a state of betraying the other. My friends are all 100% Windows users, I don’t have a single Mac using friend. But at work I see the power of the Mac, something they do not see. To my friends, whenever I talk about Macs I’m pretty sure they just envision the uber-simple 1993 Macintosh computers that we used to play Oregon Trail II on in elementary school and think that Apple products are for the “slower” folks. And at work when I mention my Windows machine, I’m pretty sure everyone just imagines some horrible flurry of files scattered everywhere in all dark corners of the hard drive, a virus-ridden plague of a device that can only be turned off each night with a blue screen of death. The truth is, I use both, and when I look at them, all I see is a couple of computers…

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