How To Format A Hard Drive For Video Editing

By Kevin Graham

When it comes to video editing, the most efficient place to store your footage, graphics, and project file is on an external hard drive.

This allows you to easily move, manage, and backup your projects. It also keeps your computer’s internal drive clear for apps, programs, and your OS.

External drives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most of them will need to be formatted for use.

So how do you do this, and how should you format your drive?

On both Mac and Windows machines, the formatting process is simple.

You can format any drive with the Disk Utility app on a Mac,

and you can use the Windows Explorer function on a Windows computer.

However, when formatting a drive, you will be prompted to choose the formatting type.

Here are the best options for video editing:


exFAT is the most well-rounded format out there, primarily because it can be read by both Mac and Windows computers.

Many cameras also default to exFAT when formatting their cards.

The only downside to exFAT is that it is a bit more susceptible to corruption if a drive is not ejected safely. But as long as you follow the proper unmounting procedure, exFAT is a reliable and versatile format.


Also known as Mac OS Extended, HFS+ is a Mac-only format.

hard drive

It is stable, reliable, and supports journaling, which essentially means that your files are more durable, and can be recovered and restored more easily in the event of a drive failure.


This is the most common Windows-only format. It supports file permissions for security, journaling, and a few other data-protection features.

The right format for your drive will depend on what operating system you’re using, and whether or not you’ll be transferring between different computers.

But no matter what your situation is, one of these three formats will get the job done.

Kevin is the Music Director and Lead Composer at Filmpac.

FILMPAC Filmpac is a premium stock footage + music membership library.