Since I became a filmmaker around 12 years ago, one of my favourite things about the profession has been playing with all the cool gadgets and toys that go along with making films.
I’ve always been really excited about advancements in filmmaking technology; higher resolution cameras, wireless integration, faster computers with sharper screens and drones that practically fly themselves. One area I’m particularly excited about at the moment is media.
Solid state drives, super-fast SD cards and CFast 2.0 cards are now all part of my daily workflow when making films. The importance of having fast, reliable, drives and cards is greater than ever and can be the difference between the success and failure of a project.
I recently got my hands on a new kit of cards and drives from Austrian company Angelbird Technologies. I’d heard about them around the web and from fellow filmmakers. Considering the affordability of their media and the great things I’d heard about their build quality and stability, I pulled the trigger.
Here’s what’s in my Angelbird Kit:
- 2 x 256GB AV PRO CF cards
- 2 x 128GB AV PRO SD cards
- SSD2GO PKT XT 2TB portable SSD Drive
- SSD2GO PKT 512GB portable SSD Drive (on loan)
- Cfast 2.0 Dual Card Reader
I shoot primarily on a Canon C200 so that means running CFast cards for recording RAW and SD cards for proxy and 8 bit recording.
Since I started using Angelbird cards, I have not had a single dropped frame, corrupt clip or issue with importing data. They have been fast, stable and completely reliable. I can’t say the same for the two other brands of cards I use.
When I’m travelling and wrangling data on location, I need a fast drive with loads of storage space that I can trust to keep all my data secure. I got the SSD2GO PKT XT 2TB for this job and have been stoked with the results. Wrangling the CFast cards via the dual reader (USB-C) and dumping straight to the XT, is CRAZY fast and allows for playback of 4K DCI RAW files with no problem. This means that when paired with my 2018 MacBook Pro, I can start my edits whilst on location, then when I get back to the studio I can plug the XT into my main editing machine and continue the edit without having to transfer the data to my RAID.
Having the ability to work on a project across multiple machines by using the XT as a working drive has been a game changer for me.
The build quality of Angelbird drives, is fantastic. Both the SSD2GO PKT and PKT XT are absolutely tiny, super solid and the recessed USB-C cable connection makes it virtually impossible to disconnect the drive by mistake. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve knocked a drive whilst it’s running and disconnected the cable!
I have noticed that when I push the XT quite hard by editing 4K RAW files it can get very hot but this hasn’t seemed to affect the performance. I’m yet to try this with the SSD2GO PKT but I can only assume it would respond in a similar way. After all, they are tiny drives which doesn’t allow for large heat sink’s to be installed.
One thing I would really like to see from Angelbird is the supply of a protective case with the drives. They provide a multi-card storage case with their CFast cards so I’m surprised there isn’t something for their portable SSD’s, particularly the PKT XT. With an RRP of USD $1149.90, the 2TB PKT XT is a valuable piece of kit so it would be nice to have something to protect it. Plus, they are such beautiful little devices (especially with the custom engraving that Angelbird provide for free!) I don’t want to scratch them up when putting them in my camera case or bag.
All in all, my experience with Angelbird has been completely positive. The cards and drives are super stable, fast, well built, beautiful to look at and are very competitively priced compared to other manufacturers (particularly the CFast cards).
I would definitely recommend Angelbird products to other filmmakers and I see their media being a big part of my workflow for years to come.
You can check out Angelbird’s full range here – angelbird.com