The two biggest nuisances of designing and working on the road or at the tech table are transportability and redundancy—in short, storage. As the whole world seemingly moves in one fell swoop to high definition technologies, the file sizes and disk capacities are going to fall into greater and greater disparity. When you are working with HD video, it is so easy to fill up you laptop hard drive. Mini USB externals containing 2.5” drives are slick and low-profile, but their normal 5400rpm is not even close to fast enough to spin HD video at working speed. Full size drive enclosures and externals hold a lot more, but they are so bulky and unwieldy to lug around.
My favorite solution to this working storage problem is the portable RAID array. Most are even bulkier than the external drives, but you only need one. On the bright side, there are plenty of portable RAIDs that can double as network attached storage (NAS) drives, which are becoming more and more useful with the proliferation of gigabit Ethernet.
In terms of transportability of working storage, my fondest hope is that someone will soon come out with a portable RAID with a sufficiently speedy connection that utilizes Samsung’s brand new slim-profile 1.8” micro hard drives.Redundancy, of course, is another problem entirely. Everyone feels safer with work backed up onto non-magnetic storage media, but how many DVDs did it take to back up your last show? Hope is on the horizon as the Blu-Ray and HD DVD burners drop down below $1,000. Pioneer’s BDR-101A Blu-ray drive can be found for around $800 (plus enclosure if you want to use it on the road).