01-14-2010, 06:29 PM
Best drives you could use:
Firewire (since you have a macbook) 400 capable external chassis (if you can get an external case that supports FW400, FW800, eSata and USB that would be most convenient to provide you some room in terms of if you upgrade, like if you were to get a current MBP, it would have FW800)
The actual drive itself within the chassis should be 7200RPMs, capacity - bigger the better (if you work with HD footage, you'll find that you need a lot of space). You will find yourself a bit at the low end of speed for the firewire for HD work (ie: there will probably be times where you'll need to render a lot especially if you're using multiple video layers) but it should work.
Obviously there are other options that can get very expensive (ie: specialized raid arrays that offer iSCSI that you would use your gigabit ethernet to connect to the drive array, but you wouldn't want to also be hooked into a network with other traffic on the ethernet port - so in this example, if you wanted internet access and use an iSCSI array, you'd want the array be the only thing on a network switch with your Macbook, and connect to the internet via WIFI) - but for home/starter use, just stick with a firewire drive.
Can you do it on USB only? yes, it is possible - some people would disagree with me, but I've edited footage with a USB2.0 only connection - it's not near as enjoyable to edit video though as you spend a lot of time with the system rendering - especially if you are using multiple video tracks. But saying it's possible doesn't mean it's the best way - ie: use firewire not USB if possible.
Also note, you're using FCE, which is good, because its native editing formats aren't as bandwidth intensive as FCPs files (comparing AIC used in iMovie and FCE to ProRES 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 used in FCP6/7) - if you were using the current FCP with ProRES 4:4:4 I don't know if FW400, even with rendering, could handle it at all (I don't know the bandwidth needed for the current version of ProRES, the one in the FCP6 was already a BW hog (seeing playback numbers in quicktime show 151 mbps). The AIC codec in Final Cut Express, when set to 1080 at least, runs at ~58mbps, roughly 1/3 of the bandwidth requirements of ProRES.