Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, September 03, 2002
# 10:26:00 AM:

How big a hard disk do you need for digital video?

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Ever since I wrote an article about bare-bones digital video production a few months back, people have been asking me questions about the topic. One thing that's handy to know is how much disk space digital video takes up.

[UPDATE September 9, 2002: There's now a little program to do these calculations for you.]

Apple Computer provides a nice reference to answer that question, including this good summary:

To determine the amount of digital video you can save on your computer's hard disk:
  1. Divide the hard disk capacity by 3.68 MB, which is the amount of space required to save a single second of digital video.
  2. Divide that result by 60 to convert from seconds to minutes.
For example, a 60 GB hard disk can hold about 271 minutes of NTSC digital video. (60 000 MB 3.68 MB = 16 304.35 seconds 60 = 271.73 minutes.)

This is talking about raw DV Stream video, the kind that comes out of a digital video camera. Things change when you convert to QuickTime or another video format. Still, it helps you figure out whether you have enough space for any given chunk of video, and lets you know that a single cheap 60-minute DV tape from the electronics store actually holds about as much information as a 13 GB hard disk.

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