NAS Video Editing via Ethernet

Hello, I am wondering if (with correct amount of “gear”) can I edit video with my my MBP (2021 M1 Pro with 10C CPU, 16C GPU 8TB HD) over about 60 feet of Cat6 Ethernet. I hope to put the NAS (Synology)in a “data room” down the hall. I also plan to get a Mac Studio (or the like) to use in another room (closer to the data room) house currently wired with Ethernet). Thanks for any input

I don’t know why this wouldn’t work. You wouldn’t be the first person to edit with footage off a NAS. I use Resolve when I need to edit video, and it can store projects on remote storage from the word go and let you run a whole project that way. So I think you’re fine.

When I bought my Synology, getting a version with 10GB support was extremely expensive. I don’t know if that’s changed at all (I don’t keep up with Synology), but that’s my only word of warning. Even if you’re operating at 1GB/s, that should be ok. (Again, you wouldn’t be the first with that setup.)

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From what I have read/seen, to do it well, you will want a 10GbE connection for video editing. You will also probably want NVMe drives for a cache, and decent amount of memory. It will work on less, but if you are dealing with large files, it might bottleneck.

On a Synology, that is going to be very expensive.

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What I have done in the past is editing photos in Lightroom that had been sitting on my Synology NAS via 1 Gb Ethernet. It did work. But I have to admit that I have changed that setup. These days my library is sitting on an external SSD that is connected to my Mac. It is synced to my NAS using ChronoSync, but I am not editing files located on the NAS. The editing experience is noticeably faster. That is just with photos.

@Roz, you do mention that you plan to put the NAS in a data room down the hall (60 feet Cat6 Ethernet). This makes me think that you may already have your video stored on the NAS. If so the 60 feet will not make anything worse. That cable length should be fine.

My two cents: if you already own everything you are talking about just give it a try with what you have at your disposal. It will work (with potential limitations depending on the video file size, the resolution, the codec), maybe a bit slow in the tooth. If it proves to be too slow, a 10 Gb ethernet will work for sure, but it is expensive to upgrade everything to 10 GbE (Mac, NAS, Switch, maybe cabling). If you are the only one with the need to edit those video files, a local SSD that is being backed up to the NAS may be a cheaper option with even more performance.

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Really depends on a lot of specifics, but here is what I have done.

I don’t have a NAS (that’s another story), but I have several Macs networked on wired Ethernet.

Standard 1 Gbit, no special high speed NICs, no multi-lane aggregation, basic managed Ethernet switches, no special switching fabrics (no fancy ASICs).

Have attached portable USB-C SSD drive to one Mac (originally Sandisk, but due to the s*storm with them, I have switched to 2TB and 4TB Crucial brand SSD’s. I assume Samsung T’s would work just as well).

I remotely edit video fine. Using Adobe Premiere Pro on one Mac, across the network to the other Mac with the external SSD attached and shared.

Editing 4K videos, from 5 minutes to 45 minutes in length.

Performance is fine for what I do.

I have not bothered to tweak settings (yet) in Premiere Pro to optimize location of disk cache, etc.

The only thing special to my setup which contributes to the performance, even locally, is that the first pass on all footage does some extensive effects processing so I output a mezzanine file (editors call it a stringout) using Apple ProRes 422 codec.

Original footage is typically H.264 or H.265, which will also edit ok, but using ProRes 422 allows me to edit at full resolution with good performance.

One could also ingest all footage and use a proxy workflow, but I haven’t found the need to do that. (With a proxy workflow, you could edit over a modem link just fine :slight_smile: )

I do have multiple layers, but not going crazy with 8 or 10 layers of 4K video - that would challenge any system.

I edit in both directions - either Mac can be the disk server or the edit bay. One is a 2015 iMac 27" Retina and the other other is a Mac Studio M1 Max.

(Why - well, one is in my home office and one is in the family room/kitchen area - sometimes I work on the much slower iMac because I don’t want to move to my office.)

TL;DR - A NAS would make this setup work even faster (‘on steroids’) but I haven’t found a compelling reason to increase the complexity of my own setup with a NAS.

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When we say NAS, I assume we are talking about hard drives on a system that likely has a much slower CPU and less memory than even an older Mac, so I am not sure your workflow is a good comparison. It’s probably a great way to do it, but a real NAS most likely has more limited specs.

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I totally disagree. NAS appliances are optimized for high performance disk serving across a network.

RAID arrays, common in every NAS (including 2-drive RAID mirroring) dramatically improves raw disk read/write speeds and optimized network adapters, including bonding or aggregation can give faster speeds than most ‘ordinary’ computers acting as makeshift file sharing systems.

I gave my example as a DIY ‘worst case’. Using any modern NAS, I would expect performance be much better - but at the cost of a dedicated NAS box, multiple drives, and admin tasks.

I also am currently using personal-sized, single-user designed portable SSD drives. They are not designed for the rigors of NAS/file server duty.

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Thank you Snelly, Yes 10 GB for sure.

Yes, very expensive I think so carefully weighing the options. I heard an expression “buy once and cry once” or something like that. Cheers RunningBoris

SpivR your setup sounds very close to what I will be doing…in terms of switching Macs. Thanks tons.

RunningBoris I have to tread carefully and spend more money than I should. Thanks.

I understand that a higher number of smaller drives may be faster and possibly less expensive. But, I have to dig deeper into specs etc. Appreciate the inputs totally.

@Christian All good info … I’m looking to purchase a NAS and it’s a bit of a learning curve. Thanks

I do my primary video editing with the project on the external SSD drive. So I always have the option of simply unplugging the drive, grabbing my laptop, and heading anywhere, in the house or away, and readily continue editing.

I do make backups and check point my progress so the “pick up and go” option isn’t risking losing recent changes or edits.

I found this setup where I can edit locally on the primary machine, edit across the network from another machine in my home, or grab the portable drive and edit anywhere to be much more flexible that a NAS or “big drive” primary setup.

Depends on your needs, I don’t need a huge library of previous projects or media (audio, video, etc.) always available online and the typical editing project fits into 2 to 4tb of disk space and then gets archived/unloaded to other storage.

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