Hard Drive Woe

To keep within the low budget during the production of Raiding the Lost Ark, I purchased a £100, 500GB Western Digital hard disk.  Whilst it was only USB , it worked with my Macbook (not pro) and the upscaled 720p footage rather well. It was quick enough, portable and travelled the world with me through to the films release in February 2012.

I had enough room to begin Inside Jaws on the same drive, so after making a backup on a Lacie Big Disk Extreme (1TB) along with all my previously filmumentary work, I got to editing!

All was fine until about a month ago when I dropped the Western Digital drive on the kitchen floor.  I immediately plugged it back in and all seemed fine until a couple of days later when the beachball of doom appeared whilst I was editing in FCP.  Immediately I knew that I’d lost a few days work.

The annoying thing is that I don’t keep a log, so I’m not sure what all that work was. Little things occur to me here and there as I am editing. There was no way of retracing my steps.  After some moaning about HDDs on Twitter, I started editing from the big Lacie Extreme backup drive.  A few hours in, during a render of the final project, I was getting paranoid now, the power supply blew and the drive sounded broken! I was right to be paranoid. The god of hard disks had struck again.

I quickly ordered a new power supply from eBay. These projects are all about keeping up momentum and motivation. It seemed the cheapest way to potentially resurrect the project.  After a week or so the power supply came back to life and so the editing recommenced. Only a matter of hours in the drive sounded like it was copying files whilst I was doing nothing. In fact it sounded like that busy sound you get when empting the trash. Finder promptly crashed and the HDD wouldn’t mount.

I had made a second (just in case) back up on and older and apparently less robust drive enclosure. The only problem was there were some media files missing from this previous backup.  So I’ve spent today re-importing media from DVDs, CD and online, desperately trying to match it so that it can be reconnected in the FCP timeline.

I am back up to speed but it’s another day “wasted”.  Thanks to a kind donation, I’ve ordered a new Lacie Rugid and I’ve copied all the project and media files to my iMac system disk. When will this faffing with drives end?!

About filmumentaries 158 Articles
Creator of the Filmumentary (TM) format.


  1. Sorry to hear that! I’m a film editor, I have been editing since 1998. I started on a Moviola (call me a romantic but it was the best way to edit in my opinion) all the way up to Lightworks wich is the system I’m using right now. And my piece of advice is ALWAYS have a backup, I don’t even touch the material if I don’t have a backup. The feeling of loosing everything is a terrible thing not just for the loss of work but for ones own self-stem and stress. If you want my advice, I have used in my career just 2 brands of disks, Lacie and G-Raid. I have had one problem with one Lacie disk but have never had any problems with the G-Raid and believe me I have had more than 80 hard disk drives throughout my career. Also, try to use firewire, its better for video, run away from USB. I love your work and I’m expecting the Jaws one! they give me a lot of inspiration and insight and for that I will always be on debt to you. So don’t hesitate to ask for help to me if you want. Anyway, have a great editing and as the editing say goes: Let your floor have all the bad bits.

    • Hi Pedro,

      Many thats for your kind words of advice. I would love to be able to invest in a RAID. The two of the three discs that failed on me were Lacie. But I have a little Lacie Rugid on the way to travel with me this year. I know USB is slow but I didn’t have a macbook with Firewire before, I do now though!
      Thanks again. J

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