At CES, I walk the acres of exhibit floors looking at all the new technology. There isn’t a great deal that applies to my job as a video editor, but certainly, displays and various capture devices do. Also, as someone who has been involved in the tech industry for most of my life, I relish the opportunity to learn where technology is going.
As I view the exhibits, in the back of my mind I try to envision how the technology I see might apply to my suite. But since most of the exhibits are geared to consumers, that brings up the whole issue of using consumer gear in my world.
When I talked about the fact that HDMI was never designed to be used in a professional production environment, it made me think about gear I use that some wouldn’t call professional. (I’ll skip the argument on what’s professional and what’s not. I can leave that for the endless comment sections produced when Final Cut Pro X was introduced.)
Of course, I use HDMI, usually to show my clients edits on a consumer TV in the endless quest to answer the question, “Is it going to look like that at home?” Is HDMI my preference? No, but there aren’t any sets that have BNC connectors.
Do I really care? Am I being a BNC snob? Not at all. I’m fine using consumer gear to get the job done. But, at the same time, I keep in mind that I’m using something that might not have the same performance as professional gear.
So, as I was walking the show floor, I came across Hyundai Technology. And no, there were no cars there. Although its origins came from the same company, Hyundai Technology creates various consumer devices. The one that caught my eye was an external SSD.
Small and portable, with models from 250 GB to 2 TB, the read and write speed was specified at 450 MB/s and 400 MB/s respectively. It’s packaged with both USB-A and USB-C cables. This was a device that I could use when I needed to transfer files!
I often have clients in my suite who want to give me source material. The usual method of handing me a USB stick becomes problematic because files are getting larger and larger and most (not all) USB sticks are slow. So we wait to transfer files from their computer to the stick and then from the stick to my edit array. It certainly doesn’t take hours, but it can definitely dash the momentum during a session.
Another thought I had when I was learning about the SSD is that while it’s small, it’s large enough that it won’t get lost. And by “lost” I mean that it won’t be accidentally taken by the client. It won’t be in a pile of USB sticks or get mixed in with any client sticks.
The Hyundai SSD will be another piece of gear marketed to consumers that can have a place in my workflow. It might not compare in some performance aspects with another “professional” SSD: it might not be screaming fast or survive being dropped from a two-story building or being run over by a dump truck, but that’s fine. I’ll take that into account in how I use it.
That’s the tradeoff of using consumer gear in a professional environment —emphasis on “trade.” It’s like the trade-off between a warehouse-style store and a full-service store. The warehouse store might not look as nice and it might take you longer to find someone to help you, but you pay less at check-out.
As long as you remember where you’re shopping, you shouldn’t be disappointed that it might take you longer to find what you need. Likewise, as long as you remember what your gear was originally designed for, you shouldn’t be disappointed in its performance.
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