Best Practice for Workflow [File Locations and External HD Usage] When Editing Video in Shotcut on a Laptop?

Best Practice for Workflow [File Locations and External HD Usage] When Editing Video in Shotcut on a Laptop?

What should my process and set up be for maximizing my laptop’s power, and minimizing ‘wear and tear’ on the internal HD when editing video?

For example, should I be rendering to an external hard drive?

Should I be importing my media files from an external hard drive?

I am aware things like using Proxys to and Scaling, but what are any other steps and processes I should be taking into account with this?

Thanks for any help you can give.


My laptop is an MSI ‘Crosshair’ R6E with these specs:

Windows 11 Home. …

Intel® Core™ i7-12700H 1.7GHz.

15.6" QHD, Anti-Glare Wide View Angle 165Hz 2.5ms DCI-P3 100%

NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 3070 Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6.

16GB (8G*2) DDR4 3200MHz.

1TB NVMe SSD Gen4x4.

Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201(2x2 ax)


The maximum length any project will be (and I can only estimate time at the moment, because the media items will vary) is no longer than 20 mins. in 4K (in some cases), and 1080p (in others).


Audio will be recorded at 48K, and will be IMPORTED, and synced with the video before export - i.e., not recorded with the video

Max. no. of audio tracks - 3 (.WAV)

Max. no. of video sources - 2

I do everything on my SSD for speed. I create a project folder/directory, have all my video, audio and image sources in that folder. I export to that folder. Then when I have finidhed the project I move the folder to disk and back it up. I also do regular backups (ance a day at least) of my SSD project folder as I go along.

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Thanks very much, Elusien.

I presume you are referring to the SSD on your laptop.

If so, do you think that doing everything on the internal SSD places a significant amount of wear-and-tear on your system (as opposed to using an NVMe, which would mean a lot less strain on the computer)?

On my laptop I have an internal SSD and an external SSD. I don’t believe the intyernal one puts any more strain on the system than the external one. However, the SSD does help considerably Shotcut’s performance versus an HDD. I do not use Shotcut 24hrs/day, more like 8 hours/week, so it’s impact on my system is pretty negligible.

Thanks, Elusien.

This is very helpful.

SSD and NVMe are only good for a limited number of write cycles before the cells break down and the drive becomes unreliable. The TBW numbers of modern drives are very high these days. But at the same time, video files are also ridiculously large these days, creating much more write activity than an average user would put on their system.

While raw performance may be a tie between internal and external SSD/NVMe, the write limit would be my bigger concern and my bigger reason to avoid doing video work directly on the internal drive. Let an external drive wear out since it’s easy to replace. A failed internal drive might mean taking the computer apart to replace it and then doing an OS reinstallation. For Windows, that also means hoping your license key will work on the new drive.

Specific things that can protect the internal drive are:

  • Store proxies in the project folder on an external drive.
  • Transfer the contents of camera cards directly to an external drive.
  • Render to the external drive.

If you haven’t seen the Project Management topic already, it will be invaluable to you, especially the section on Absolute vs Relative Filenames.

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Many, many thanks, Austin.

I thought I had heard some of these kinds of concerns before, a couple of years ago, but had not remembered them - but I am glad I had enough sense to post here asking about these kinds of things.

This is very helpful.

I will read the Project Management topic, particularly noting the section on Absolute vs Relative Filenames.

Many thanks.

Any recommendations for good SSD external drives?

Depends on your future plans.

If you think a high-end camera might be in your future, meaning the kind that writes direct to SSD over a USB-C port, then it may be a good investment to get an SSD that has already been approved for use by high-end cameras. Then you could connect your SSD to your future camera without having to buy an extra SSD in the future.

Here are the lists of approved SSD drives for Blackmagic cameras, just as an example:

If you don’t plan to record direct-to-SSD in the future, then you can get pretty much any SSD you want and be fine. The Samsung 8xx and 9xx series NVMe drives placed in a USB-C enclosure are popular. The Samsung T7 drive may also be sufficient for Shotcut’s purposes, even though the T7 sustained write performance isn’t as good as the discontinued T5 drives. But for anything short of RAW video, the T7 would be plenty sufficient.

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Thanks, Austin.

I think that the furthest I am going to go on the camera front is to eventually, if I can afford it, get a full frame, decent DSLR, or a better mirrorless camera, although I realize that kind of technology is not as capable for video as something like the Blackmagic cameras that are specifically made for video.

But, you never know!

Thanks again.

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