[Gear In Review Podcast] GIR7 – Portable Hard Drives

Hosted by Reed Smith, Bobby Rettew, & Mark Berry

Welcome to Gear In Review. Learn more about how we’ll be bringing reviews, recommendations and insights around the many gadgets, gizmos, and widgets used everyday to capture and tell stories inside hospitals.

In the last episode we explored drones; in this episode we are reviewing portable hard drives. We will review how we choose a portable hard drive for images, video, and editing functionality along with how to make the best choice for your needs. Whether you are a healthcare communicator, content creator, photographer, or videographer; this podcast will help you make a choice the next time you have to pick one for your workflows. Once again, Mark Berry will be joining us for this episode. He is Gray Digital Group’s resident video director and producer who lives in the world of portable hard drives.

Here are links to portable hard drives we discuss:

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Reed: Hey everybody, this is Reed Smith.

Chris: And this is Chris Boyer.

Reed: And we are cohosts on a show called Touchpoint, which is a podcast that’s dedicated to the discussions on digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies, not only for just hospitals, but health systems and physician practices.

Chris: In every episode, we’ll dive deep into a variety of topics on digital tools, solutions, strategies, and other things that are impacting the healthcare industry today.

Reed: And while you listen to this show, we would certainly love you to check out.

Chris: All you have to do a swing on over to touchpoint.health for more information and also some of the other shows that are featured on the Touchpoint media network.

Reed Smith: Welcome back to Year in Review. I’m Reed Smith, joined as always by Bobby Rettew.

Bobby Rettew: What’s up?

Reed Smith: And for the second week in a row, [Mark Barry 00:00:55].

Mark Berry: Hello. Hey, you’re making a big time appearance, man.

Reed Smith: Yeah. I may just excuse myself and y’all can handle it from here. So, we’re going to talk about hard drives today. We have lots of hard drives because we create lots of content, especially you guys, probably more so than me. Most of my stuff is web based at this point just because of what I do, but y’all are creating a lot of video, a lot of photography, a lot of assets, a lot of files if you will, that are very large,

Reed Smith: Right? So, we’re going to talk about hard drives because I think people are purchasing these, and there’s a couple things here. To clarify, we are not talking about hard drives that are inside of your laptop or desktop, or what have you. We’re talking about external hard drives in … Probably more specifically, those that are portable. There are some. I’m looking at one sitting on Bobby’s desk right now that technically is portable, but it’s probably not meant to be portable. I mean, it’s sitting there and-

Bobby Rettew: It’s probably eight inches by three inches tall. It’s pretty solid.

Reed Smith: Yeah, it’s the size of a brick.

Bobby Rettew: Yup.

Reed Smith: Like an actual brick.

Mark Berry: Like a true brick.

Reed Smith: Yeah. While you can carry that around, I guess, there’s nothing holding it down. It’s not really meant to be super portable.

Mark Berry: No.

Reed Smith: So, a couple of things … I have one that I carry around, and it’s … really no size-wise what to compare it to, to be perfectly honest, but it’s-

Bobby Rettew: It’s probably the size … I would say it’s probably the size of two iPhones stacked together.

Reed Smith: Yeah, I mean width-wise, it’s the size of your phone but it’s a little wider. Yeah, that’s fair. It plugs into my Mac Book. I think from a portable hard drive standpoint we have a couple of things … It’s what do you need it to connect to? Who’s going to be using it? What do you want to use it for?

Bobby Rettew: Yup.

Reed Smith: I don’t know. My laptop has four external ports that are all USB-C, so I’ve got to find an external hard drive that connects to USB-C.

Bobby Rettew: From a business standpoint, this is one of the biggest expenses that we deal with. From an operational standpoint, we deal with hard drive space. When we moved from actually capturing content on film and tape and moved to hard drive storage, that was a [inaudible 00:03:25] shift. So, we’re constantly having conversations. What hard drive is the best? What storage system is the best for what we do?

Bobby Rettew: I kind of look at it in a couple categories. Number one, store your documents. I use Dropbox for it. That’s a great place to store my documents and back that stuff up, and I have that constantly backing up to an external hard drive. Then, we have media storage and there’s storage versus usage. Do I just want to store pictures so that when I’m done, I can go pull it back out and go find it again? Not to actively edit, but to just store it, put it away to let it sit somewhere.

Reed Smith: That’s a good point because I do have an external hard drive, now that I think about it, sitting on my desk at home. I use a laptop and I have an external display, or what you, but I have … most everything that I have is in Dropbox, and I have it as a redundancy to this hard drive. I probably should have a third one that’s off site somewhere, but I don’t.

Bobby Rettew: We’ve actually started looking at another piece of technology that we could talk about another time is, Dropbox versus their competitors. You know, for document backup.

Reed Smith: Yeah, Cloud storage.

Bobby Rettew: Cloud storage and other options. This here is more for media management, for real-time media management. So, what we look at it is … One is are we storing just to set it somewhere to back it up? Or Two, are we actively using the hard drive to edit HD video content or 4k video content or photography that the images start at about 30megs a piece.

Reed Smith: I think that’s a good litmus test. It’s interesting because when I think about hard drives specifically, I don’t want a lot of that living on my computer because I’m probably not going to access it very often. That’s me, right? Now, you guys are a little bit different because you’re creating video content, and things like that. You’re accessing files continually.

Reed Smith: So, why does somebody want an external hard drive? I mean, there’s the obvious answer. They’ve run out of storage on their laptop or desktop, but what’s the point of external media storage?

Bobby Rettew: I think one point that I can think of, and then I’ll toss it to Mark because I think he probably has some good thoughts, is I look at my laptop … is that, if I drop it and it blows up, that I’ve still got everything backed up all the time. So, I never keep definite files on my laptop that, if something happens to it, I can’t access them somewhere else. I’m always backing up stuff to Dropbox.

Bobby Rettew: My media never stays on my laptop. It is always … When I capture something with a camera, I transfer it off the card, I create a folder in an external hard drive, and I organize that media and edit it on the hard drive. So, that hard drive is the owner of that media, not my laptop, that external hard drive. From a photography standpoint … When we capture photography, we have a hard drive per year for each year of pictures that is two terabytes per year that we use to back up all photography that we actively use to back up and edit all files. Does that makes sense?
Reed Smith: Yeah. Thoughts?

Mark Berry: Well, you know, I just remembered. I was born in 1988 and growing up, hard drives were everywhere. They were always there and I looked at them from a purely consumer standpoint, which is the opposite of the way I look at them now. Growing up, I remember just … The purpose they served to me as a consumer was number one, like Bobby said, they expanded the space on my laptop or my desktop.

Mark Berry: Second, they provided a really good way to backup songs or photos, or whatever it is I might want to back up. In a redundant way, that was much more secure than just having them live on my desktop. From a processional standpoint, it gets a little murkier because, especially … You know, Bobby brought up 4k. 4k poses a really simple problem, but has a very complex solution. With 4k, the problem’s simple. The files were huge.

Bobby Rettew: So, let’s talk about how … One media file could be close to 100 gigs.

Mark Berry: Right, one broll shot which would typically be like 11 gigabytes for us, maybe.

Bobby Rettew: Maybe.

Mark Berry: Which is a big, big old shot.

Bobby Rettew: Right. A small one, now … easily 100 gigs.

Reed Smith: Holy cow … I mean, I’m working with Google Box. (laughter)

Bobby Rettew: We’re working in terabytes.

Reed Smith: What’s a gigabyte, again?

Bobby Rettew: So when we talk to a client, we ask the question, “HD or 4k?” If it’s 4k, we got to go, for that project, buy two external hard drives. One to edit off of and one to make it redundant. We’re looking at drives as a way to work and make it redundant and store from a media standpoint.

Reed Smith: So, to some degree, it depends on who’s listening to this, right?

Mark Berry: Yup.

Reed Smith: Of what they plan to do with this. The other option is, is you’re a marketing professional. You’re offloading drone footage, for example, to a production company or your agency, or whoever it may be. You’re offloading this onto a physical medium, if you will, and you’re physically mailing this or handing it to somebody else to then take and do with. So, it’s … We say this off the air, but it’s kind of true. It’s like a really big thumb drive.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah. We actually have external drives that are roughly either one terabyte or 500 gigs that are meant just to ship content to clients or to other production companies. They’re merely to dump something over, send it knowing that we may or may not get it back, and hope that we receive it back to it.

Reed Smith: So, why do that versus Cloud storage and sharing a link, and all that kind of stuff, and they download it from there, an FTP site or something?

Bobby Rettew: Project for us … Number one, is the file size. It takes a long time to upload that. In a hospital, your IT group will probably go nuts if you use the internet to upload 250 gigs worth of content through their connection. You know? Then, have to expect that to happen quickly. So, putting it on a hard drive is more expedient, and you can track if they get that hard drive or not. You know, you’ve FedEx it, you can see if they received it, and then you can reach back out to them and have them say, “Hey, what do you think about it?” And then have them return it. It’s kind of a tracking mechanism.

Reed Smith: I think that’s fair. I think, in other cases, we’re talking about external media, external hard drives, and holding this stuff. What are we looking for? So, when I’m going out to purchase one … Number one, I’m looking at, well how is it physically connect to the device that I have? Again, I’ve got a new Mac Book. It only has USB-C. I’ve got to hook into USB-C. We haven’t really gotten into the spinning versus non-spinning pieces.

Reed Smith: Historically, you could feel or hear or both this disk start spinning in there, right? A nice SSD or solid state drives. Are those better because there’s less moving parts? What I am looking for when buying these devices?

Mark Berry: I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but you have to identify what you’re trying to do and then back track it to the product. I mean, are you editing video? Then you probably need a good spinning drive that can work fast and communicate well with video editing software.

Reed Smith: What’s fast?

Mark Berry: Quite simply, if you try to make an edit in a video, does it make the edit right away, or does it lag for four seconds? [crosstalk 00:12:15] check the edit. That’s fast in terms of-

Reed Smith: What am I looking for? Is that a certain type of a spec of the hard drive? Is it-

Bobby Rettew: Typically, we’re looking at [crosstalk 00:12:27]. Yeah, so we’re looking at throughput for video editing, minimum 75 RPMs on a spinning hard drive. The SSD is going to be so much more fast, but it’s going to be five to 10 times more expensive for that capacity. So, if you want a two terabyte drive that can handle video editing, it’s going to be … let’s say it’s a couple hundred dollars.

Bobby Rettew: You could probably multiply that by three to five for an SSD. So, it’s going to be a lot more expensive, and that spinning driver that [inaudible 00:13:02] has RPMs is going to be less expensive and more user-friendly for the average person. It’s going to fulfill what they need to do.

Mark Berry: Once again, it depends on the objective you are trying to achieve. If you’re just backing up your Google docs, a solid state one terabyte drive would be way more than you’ll ever need.

Reed Smith: That makes sense. As I think about this, you got thumb drives now that are like 64 gigs, you know, kind of a deal … go on your keyring.

Mark Berry: That would be way more than you’d ever need.

Reed Smith: Right. That would be plenty for backing up documents and, probably, a fair amount of pictures quite honestly. So, you’ve got these thumb drives that are like 64 gigs, 128 gigs, I mean it’s insane. The cost of memory has come way down. You could get a one or even two terabyte mobile drive, solid state, for 100 bucks maybe less, I don’t know … depending on the brand.

Reed Smith: When I look at mobile versus something that’s the size of a brick that’s sitting on your desk, Bobby, and stuff like that. Am I giving up something based on the form factor, or is it all pretty much the same, it’s just form factor and how much storage it has?

Bobby Rettew: I think if it’s a take away for the hospital director of marketing. They’re going to look for something … If it’s documents and pictures and some video, you’ll want something portable and small. I would basically buy … I would use something per year. I would say, “Hey. For 2018 this is the hard drive I’m going to put all my 2018 stuff on, and organize it accordingly.” Then, when you get to 2019, put that on the shelf and get you a 2019 drive. That allows you to organize stuff based on year, based on your budget cycle, based on initiates and campaigns.

Bobby Rettew: For the people that need something big, it’s more or less going to be bigger media professionals like your video producers and your photographers. They’re going to want something a lot larger that has more speed, more functionality to hook into different types of computers. The big one that we have is a big G-Tech drive, and it has a Thunderbolt USB 3. It’s Thunderbolt 3, and then also has FireWire built into it. So, I can plug into a bunch of different types of computers based on my need. It’s more flexible for that media professional.

Mark Berry: I just want to say, Bobby brought up a really good point that we haven’t touched on yet, is that external hard drives really offer a really good record keeping utility that a lot of onboard hard drives and Cloud storage doesn’t offer, depending on what you’re trying to do.

Reed Smith: That makes a lot of sense. I think there’s that … Was it three, two, one adage where you have it in three different … Was it three different types of medium, and then two different locations with one being off site, or something like that.

Reed Smith: So, I think that makes a lot of sense because the hardest part about all of this is, usually, the things that you’re capturing are really hard to go back and replace. We don’t mean the exterior picture of the hospital necessarily, because you don’t want to update that anyway. It’s interviews you’ve done, patient testimonials, things like that, that it’s like, “Well, it’s really hard to go back and capture that moment.” So, having good medias that you can back this stuff up on, places you can store it, things like that are going to be important.

Mark Berry: Not just having it, but being able to retrieve it quickly [crosstalk 00:16:49] some of the hard drives offer.

Bobby Rettew: One thing we’ll do in the show notes is to put some of the different drives and sizes that we’re using. Maybe you might help to classify it a little bit. This will be good for this type of professional versus this type of professional. What I do say is, one of the biggest things that I tell everybody, including my wife at home is, “Whatever media we have let’s always back it up.” I always have a back up for the back up.

Bobby Rettew: I have my drive that I use in my satchel, and then I have a duplicate of it somewhere else all the time, because my kids videos and pictures are on there and those are important. I treat my work the same way.

Reed Smith: Yeah. Well, if it’s important it’s on Facebook, right?

Bobby Rettew: Yeah, pretty much.

Reed Smith: All right. Well, all good stuff and we’ll probably do additional episodes on specific types of hard drives and things like that coming down the pipe, but good place to start, good things to think about. Mark, thanks for hanging out for a little bit, and Bobby. From Reed Smith, Bobby, and Mark, we will see you next week. Thanks.

Bobby Rettew: Later.

Reed Smith: This show is made possible in part by the Social Health Institute. Through research and partnerships with healthcare organizations around the country, the Social Health Institute explores new and innovate ways for hospitals, healthcare organizations to develop and enhance their social media and digital marketing strategy. To learn more a bout the Social Health institute, visit them online at SocialHealthInstitute.com. That’s SocialHealthInsittute.com.

Reed Smith: This has been a Touchpoint media production. To learn more about this show and others like it, please visit us online at Touchpoint.health.

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