Necessary Items Every Film Production Student is Required to Have

Welcome to the Film Program at the UCF School of Visual Arts & Design! Here is a list of crucial items you will be expected to have in order to successfully operate in our production environment:


1TB (or Larger) External Hard Disk Drive

Each production student is required to have a external/portable hard drive to store, amongst other things, their media and project files. The UCF Film provides many editing workstations for students to use in both the lab and in stand-a-lone editing suites. Students should save all of their data on to their portable hard drives and not on to the internal disks of any of these workstations. This is done for two reasons:

  1. The security of your precious data, it’s better in your hands than left on any high traffic workstation;
  2. To prevent the over saturation of data on the hard drives of each workstation.

Each UCF Film editing workstation comes equipped with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt interfaces to communicate with your hard drive.

UCF Film does not require a particular hard drive model, manufacture, or vendor, but we do strongly recommend that students buy a hard drive that meets our minimum specifications  to ensure that their equipment works properly with HD video editing workstations. Make sure they rotate at least 7,200 rpm; have at least a USB 3.0 interface; and have adequate reviews regarding cooling, bit rate, seek time, and overall durability. A drive with just a USB 2.0 interface can not support the proper playback and editing of most high definition and 2K video. Check out our External Hard Drive Storage 101 Guide to learn more about the technology and language of hard drives. Here are some suggested models for you to purchase:

Basic Storagegdrive_ev_raw

For a base level, high performance external hard drive designed for professional video editing we recommend the G-Drive ev RaW USB 3.0 HDD w/ Rugged Bumper from G-Technology. These 7,200rpm drives are a great value, have high performance, are extremely reliable, and work well when editing compressed 1920×1080 high definition and 2K video. To protect against file corruption, theft, or fire (accidents); make sure you use a cheap secondary back up drive for storing your source materials. Use Dropbox to store regular backups of your NLE project files and XMLs. See below.

Cheap Secondary Backup

It is strongly recommend that you keep and maintain a full backup of your data on a completely separate external hard drive, even if you are using a RAID array for protection against sudden mechanical drive failure. This back up should be stored in a different location than your primary editing drive. This is the only way to protect your data from theft, accident (such as a fire or drop impact damage), or a dreaded file system corruption. This drive does not have to be a high performance 7,200 rpm drive, as you will not be editing video directing from it. Get something cheap. We recommend using 1TB My Passport Ultra 5,400 rpm drives from Western Digital. Fill them up with your original footage, toss ’em in the closet and forget about them until you need to recover.

Redundant Storage

graid-studioWhen working on an extensive project, such as a feature film, the high capacity and the protection of your data against mechanical failure are of the utmost importance. RAID 5 is our preference for arrays that contain a high quantity of disks (like an array of 8), but many of the affordable RAID drive arrays on the market are using 4 disk configurations and they have an increased Unrecoverable Read Error (URE) percentage when high capacity drives are used. Proper 8 disk RAID 5 arrays are too expensive for the majority of the projects students undertake while in the program. When working on high demand projects, such as 4K media, we recommend the 6TB G-RAID Studio from G-Technology for the safe keeping of your precious project data using RAID 1 mirroring. RAID 1 protects your day-to-day activities from mechanical failure of the drive by writing duplicating data across two separate drives. This can be a real time saver if you’ve been very productive since the last time you backed your data, but it DOES NOT protect you against file corruption, theft, or fire (accidents) as the redundant disk are in the same housing and file corruption is automatically duplicated.  You will still need to use a secondary backup drive for protecting your data from those types of incidents.

There are many external hard drive manufactures that are just as good as the ones listed above, such as LaCie, Buffalo, Promise, and Seagate. Check out the UCF Technology Product Center, online, or a local neighborhood retailer for hard drive models that are suited for professional video editing.


USB Flash Drive (16GB or Larger)

Another essential tool each student should have in their arsenal is a USB Flash Drive. These are great for quick and reliable storage of all sorts of documents and data. We live in a digital age and these handy drives are a quick way to transport data to and fro. USB 2.0 flash drives are slow, but they are cheap enough to consider disposable. USB 3.0 flash drives are great for quickly moving files around, but cost a bit more. Choose which option best servers your needs.

Many professors now collect media assignments by setting up a portable hard drive as a “dumping” station at the start of class. Students can also use their flash drives (along with media streamers installed in dedicated Film Program classrooms) to easily playback high definition versions of their films for faculty and peer review.

We recommend the Cruzer Blade or the Ultra line from SanDisk. It’s cheap, durable and is available in a wide range of capacities and colors to chosen from (key identifying features when everyone around has one too).

There are many USB flash drives just as good as the ones listed above, such as Kingston, PNY, or Verbatim.  USB flash drives can be purchased at the UCF Technology Product Center, online, or at a local neighborhood retailer.



Dropbox Account (2GB or Larger)

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. Dropbox also makes it super easy to share with others. Even if you accidentally spill a latte on your laptop, have no fear! You can relax knowing that Dropbox always has you covered, and none of your stuff will ever be lost.

Dropbox works hard to make sure that all your files are the same no matter where you’re working from. This means that you can start working on a computer at school, and finish from your home computer. Never email yourself a file again! Download Dropbox for your phone to simplify your life even more. Dropbox lets you work from any computer or phone with the confidence that you’ll always have everything you need.

Dropbox makes sharing easy. Invite your friends and classmates to any folder in your Dropbox, and it’ll be as if you saved that folder straight to their computers. You can send people links to specific files in your Dropbox too. This makes Dropbox perfect for team projects.

Even if your computer has a meltdown, your stuff is always safe in Dropbox and can be restored in a snap. Dropbox is like a time machine that lets you undo mistakes and even undelete files you accidentally trash. Your Dropbox is always ready for action from the Dropbox website too!

Sign Up for a Free Dropbox Account


Knights E-Mail Account

The University of Central Florida has partnered with Microsoft to bring you the latest in e-mail and online communication. Knights E-Mail is powered by Microsoft’s Windows Live system, which includes e-mail, office apps, shared calendars, security, mobile functionality, and more.

Microsoft Office Live Workspace  comes with this account and is your online place to save, access, and share documents and files. Use it to group related information for work, school, or personal projects.

This is a must have account for UCF students. All official university, college, and school business with you will be sent to this e-mail account only. Sure, the idea of checking another account seems daunting, but really, all you need to do is sign up and setup the account to forward your messages to your favorite personal e-mail service to ensure you don’t miss anything important.

Sign Up for a Free Knights E-Mail Account