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.

Read moreThe Dark Side of DROBO

SuiteTake Changes, And The Future

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While posts have been a bit hit or miss lately due to our heavy work load, that doesn’t mean that we’re not getting some work done under the hood! I wanted to do a quick post to let you know some of the not so obvious changes we’ve made.

Videos
Because of the increasing demand on our server, videos are now hosted by Blip.tv. One of the new advantages is that you can now more easily play the video within the post, or watch it full screen. All video is also available in multiple formats so you can also download clips to your computer.

Read moreSuiteTake Changes, And The Future

The Top-Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Final Cut Pro…Ten Years Ago.

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I’ve been an editor for a while now at several different shops. Through those days and places I have mostly been self taught until I ended up here with SuiteTake. At SuiteTake training and skill development is not just encouraged, it’s part of our daily responsibilities. Therefor, in the recent past my learning curve has increased dramatically.

The Top Ten things I wish I knew:

10. Shift and option dragging

9. Quick Ken Burns effect

8. QuickTime vs Quicktime Conversion.

7. The Black and code button.

6. Option 1,2,3 for transition alignment

5. Esc, tab, spacebar to navigate windows

4. Apply normalization to audio in FCP

3. Disable dropped frames warning.

2. Disable rendering with caps lock.

1. Map your keyboard.

The SuiteTake Take?

If you’re an experienced editor you probably know most of these already, however, if you’re just starting out like me so many years ago you’ll be putting yourself ahead of the game by learning these tricks now and not 10 years from now.

The following video tutorial demonstrates a list of 10 efficiencies and workflows with Final Cut Pro that I wish I had known from the start. If I had these often simple tricks in my pocket from day 1 I would have saved myself countless hours and heaps of frustration.

The Emergency Boot Drive, Your New Best Friend


Several times a year I find myself on the road editing on-location with clients. These travel jobs are usually a convention, corporate conference or incentive trip. The locations can be as close as Chicago (20 miles away) or as far as Thailand and Hong Kong. I have a travel system that’s in cases and ready to go at a moments notice, and each year this part of our business at Edit Creations has grown.

One concern I always have when doing these jobs is having a system go down while being far away from the office. Part of my safety net is having a second laptop with me on every trip. I learned my lesson the hard way when a few years ago one of our editors was doing a job in California and the a AJA IO box stopped working. It was a Saturday so I couldn’t get in touch with tech support at AJA and no amount of google searching helped find a solution. By Monday the job was going to be all over, videos laid off or not. So in that case, after troubleshooting all night on the phone and realizing it was not going to be fixed, with only a 4 hour window I had to shower, head to the office and make a second system from one of our edit bays, stop and Home Depot and buy a hand truck and head to the airport. I made it in time to save the day, but it burned though all of the profits for the job.

While having 2 systems is great security, I always want to have the ability to troubleshoot, test or rebuild a machine with all of the needed software on site, should the need arise. In my worst case scenario that I play back in my head (rehearsing it like a fire drill) I imagine running to a local Apple Store, buying a new machine on the spot and reinstalling everything I need to get the job done.

Up until recently I’ve always brought with me a small selection of DVD’s. Everything from all of the original FCP and Adobe install disks, to Disk Warrior and a system restore disk. While this would obviously work, there is a better way. Why not buy a new, small portable FW drive (or even better, use one of those old drives that you have laying around) and created a multi-partition boot drive that contains everything? Then, not only do you have everything you need in one place, booting and running off of the FW drive will be much faster then working off your DVD drive.

The rest of this post will show you how to create your own emergency boot drive that is the perfect companion to your travel system.

Read moreThe Emergency Boot Drive, Your New Best Friend

Permission to take Permission?

I’m not sure exactly when it all started, but over the last several months I’ve been having permission issues while using OSX. Every so often I’ll go to save a file in a folder I should have access to – and I’m told that I don’t have permission to do so. Normally it’s a local drive, but it happens with network drives as well. I thought maybe it was something specific to Tiger, but recently we updated to OSX Leopard and the problem actually got worse. And when I say “upgrade”, what I mean to say is we rebuilt each system from scratch, formatting a drive and reinstalling all apps from scratch. Our last few upgrades have been OS upgrades using the “Archive and Install” option, but we wanted to really start clean this time.

To make matters worse, I got tot he point last week where I had locked myself out of making any further changes somehow. We have a common folder on a local network server that we use for web approvals. It’s been there for years without having any problems at all. Then all the sudden, I couldn’t copy over my QT movie so that it could be processed with the rest of the files. I did the usual “get info” command, unlocked the pane with an administrator account, but when I tried to change the permissions it would not allow me to. I could click on any of the users or groups and set “Read & Write”, but as soon as I clicked off it it went back to either “Read Only”, or even worse “No Access”.

You might be thinking that I should just run Apple’s “Disk Utility” and choose to “Repair Permissions”. That would be great except that it’s not a boot drive. Disk Utility needs to have an installed version of OSX on whatever drive it’s to repair permissions on. Without a OS it has nothing to use to determine what the correct permissions are.

So an hour has passed now and I’m getting very frustrated, because nothing about this should be hard. So I did what every good editor does when backed into a corner. I did a google search on the problem.

Read morePermission to take Permission?

Talking LTO on the Buzz with Larry Jordan


After a few weeks of email exchanges about backup strategies with the “Ever Handsome” Larry Jordan, he invited me on the Digital Production Buzz to talk about my experience with the Quantum A-Series LTO backup drive. If you don’t normally listen to the show, below is an excerpt of my interview with him. If you would like to become a regular listener, you can subscribe to the show on iTunes. The show airs weekly and you can’t help but learn something new with each new episode. 

Listen to Interview