Data Rates and Storage Devices

The data rate of the video you capture depends on the format of the source video and the codec you use for capture. If you are capturing low data rate video, chances are you can use more inexpensive storage devices. If you need to capture extremely high data rate video, you may need a faster hard disk. Here are some examples of data rates for common capture formats:

Typical data rate
OfflineRT (using Photo JPEG)
Varies between 300 and 500 KB/sec.
25:1 Motion JPEG (M-JPEG)
1 MB/sec.
DV (25)
HDV (1080i)
3.6 MB/sec.
7.2 MB/sec.
DVCPRO HD (1080i60)
DVCPRO HD (720p60)
14.4 MB/sec.
DVCPRO HD (720p24)
5.8 MB/sec.
2:1 Motion JPEG (M-JPEG)
12 MB/sec.
Uncompressed SD video
24 MB/sec.
Uncompressed 8-bit
1080 29.97i HD video
124 MB/sec.
Uncompressed 10-bit
1080 29.97i HD video
166 MB/sec.

Whatever disk drive technology you decide to use, your storage disk’s sustained transfer speed must be fast enough to keep up with the data rate. Depending on the data rate of the video you’re capturing, a single drive may or may not be enough.

For example, if you plan to capture uncompressed SD video at 24 megabytes per second (MB/sec.), it’s unlikely that a single hard disk will be able to record the data fast enough. Even if you somehow successfully get the data on disk, Final Cut Pro may drop frames during playback or output.

If your hard disk or its connection to your computer does not support the data rate of your video format, you need to consider three factors:

Note: Removable media drives such as Jaz, Zip, and CD-RW drives are not suitable for video capture and playback because of their low data transfer rates.