Category Archives: ODA and Archive

Sony’s Optical Disc Archive. My Story Starts Here!

2016-02-18-11.46.41-e1455801081615 Sony's Optical Disc Archive. My Story Starts Here!
Sony ODS-D77U Optical Disc Archive drive.

So a new but extremely important toy has arrived in the shape of a Sony ODS-D77U optical disc archive drive.  Until now I have been using pairs of hard drives to backup my data and video clips. This is not an ideal solution, but it is cheap and easy. I’ve been following the development of ODA (Optical Disc Archive) since it’s inception. As it uses the same optical discs as the XDCAM optical disc cameras I know this to be an extremely secure and robust way to store footage having both dish-washed optical discs and performed other tests on their reliability (click here to see the original dish-washer test and the “challenge Alister” clip).

The drive comes with Sonys Media Browser software utility that allows you to easily select which files to copy to the disc cartridges either manually or through the use of watch folders (anything you place in the watch folders is archived to the ODA drive). As this happens Media Browser builds a compact searchable data base of what is stored on your archive cartridges complete with thumbnails and proxy files. The database resides on your computer so you can search your entire archive quickly whenever you want. When you find the files you want to retrieve it tells you which cartridge they are on, you pop the cartridge in the drive and then the files can be pulled off more or less instantly using Content Manager or your normal file browser. It’s all very simple and very easy, you can even play 4K content directly from the discs.

As the cartridges behave much like hard drives you have near instant access to files and don’t have to wait to de-compress them or shuttle through a load of tape to get to the desired files. And unlike tape you don’t need to be to fussy about how you store the disc packs. They should be largely immune to the effects of damp and temperature. They are designed to last at least 50 years.

There are two types of cartridge: Write once (the cheapest) that can only be written to once (you don’t have to use the entire disc at once) and writable.  A 600GB write once disc cartridge costs approx $75USD so not much more than a high quality hard drive, but certainly a lot, lot safer and more robust. You can currently get cartridges up to 1.5TB write once and 1.2TB rewritable with larger capacities planned for the future.

The next step for me will be to setup a server for Sony’s new Media Navigator software that will help me better manage the many, many hours of media I own and I’ll be writing a diary on how ODA and Media Navigator fits into my workflow as I get the system up and running so watch this space. In addition I have opened a dedicated ODA/Navigator forum in the XDCAM-User forum.

For more information on ODA click here.

Sony Europe are currently running a promotion for ODA that includes a discounted price for the drive unit as well as 24 month 0% finance. Click here for details of this offer.

Sony’s Professional Hard Drives.

SSD Sony's Professional Hard Drives.
Sony 256GB SSD.

Hard drives are boring! But they are now a very important part of life in the world of TV production. I get through dozens and dozens of hard drives every year and as the drives I am using may hold footage that can never be replaced it’s important that they are as reliable as possible. For a while now I have been using a number of Sony hard drives and SSD’s. These drives are built for portable video applications and my drives have been all over the world from hot, humid Asia to the bitter cold of Arctic Norway. They have never let me down. Each drive comes in a nice case that resembles a video cassette case so that you can stack them neatly on a shelf. No more tatty, crumpling cardboard boxes. In addition the outer case protects the drive in transit, plus each case contains a USB3 lead and a firewire 800 cable, so you don’t need to search around for the cables.

The drives themselves are built in to a tough but very lightweight enclosure with soft rubber bumpers at each end. There are little notches and bumps in the bumpers that interlock if you stack the drives one on top of another, say on the desk of your edit suite. Not only do the rubber bumpers protect the drives from knocks and bumps, but they also incorporate flaps that cover the USB3 and Firewire 800 sockets. The drives meet the MIL-STD-810G standard and when the connector covers are closed are dust proof to IP5X and splash proof to IP4X. The HDD is built to withstand being dropped from 2m and the SSD from 2.3m. I have to say that my 256GB SSD has been dropped a few times now and is still going strong.

Sony are so confident of the quality of their drives that they offer a 3 year warranty and  after almost a year on the market, I have been told that so far not one single drive has had to be replaced!

USB3 is backwards compatible with USB2, so if you don’t have USB3 you can just treat the drive as a USB2 drive. If you are a Mac user with an older Mac then you are well catered for with a pair of Firewire 800 ports on the rear of each drive.

The 256GB SSD is extremely fast and this drive has become my go-to drive for on the road use as I can easily edit 4K material stored on this drive and it appears to be really tough. I often ship my SSD along with my hold baggage when I’m flying, it’s been bashed about on snow scooters and used to edit from while bouncing down dirt track roads. I use the 500GB and 1TB Hard drives for general purpose storage and HD editing.

For more information take a look at the Sony web site: