Solid Backup for Solo Filmmakers

Whether you’re talking about a 90-minute video or a single still image, everything worth keeping needs to get backed up. Of course, size does matter, and video — especially extremely high-definition and high frame rate video — changes the storage workflow, including backup considerations. That old USB drive can no longer cope.

If you’re a solo video pro, you know the situation. The question is how to handle your backup processes so that your work keeps flowing with both top speed and efficiency.

 

Backup at Capture

Without a DIT, your challenge is to get camera media ingested, backed up, and reformatted for reuse as quickly and reliably as possible. When one minute of ProRes UHD (3840 x 2160) footage captured by your camera chews through 5.3GB (or even 1GB with a more efficient codec) of space, it’s easy to see how terabytes of storage rack up and the ingestion cycle slows down. If you’re shooting at high frame rates, the situation grows even more demanding.

Some videographers place their backup (if they make one) on the same storage solution as their working drive — a USB drive partitioned into two volumes — then copy data between volumes in case working files become corrupted. However, this doesn’t protect against mechanical drive failure, theft, or loss.

While backup drives don’t need to be super-fast, the sooner data can be safely duplicated, the sooner camera media can be wiped and reused. For this reason, Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 solutions are preferred over USB for ingestion in busy production environments as well as for reviewing 4K content on-site. Many professionals keep their primary and backup capture drives physically separated as added protection.

 

Backup for Editing

While capture drives tend to be right-sized for individual jobs, “work” solutions are larger and able to store many jobs with all edited iterations. Established solo filmmakers with bigger budgets may have “live work” and “work backup” drives for long-term raw footage copies, key edits, and/or final project files. While the work backup solution tends to be the biggest disk-based product, the live work drive will usually be the fastest.

Note that while RAID 1 (mirrored drives) and RAID 5 offer data redundancy, this is not a true backup. Even though it’s easy to skip backing up and trust to the protection of, say, RAID 5 covering a live work four-drive array, you may still be vulnerable to drive loss and/or enclosure malfunction.

 

Plan for Expansion

Growth-minded solo filmmakers should know to build backup into various stages of their workflow, and invest in products and brands, such as G-Technology, that provide reliability and flexibility. For example, assuming that the solution has enough capacity, work backup products can also serve double duty as archival solutions — a solid cost-savings strategy for solos.

Conversely, the all-too-common fill-and-flip pattern of using low-capacity USB drives for both capture and editing won’t provide the bandwidth needed for high data rate, multi-stream editing nor enough capacity for growth. G-Technology, a premiere brand for storage throughout the creative professional community, offers backup and storage for every budget range. Investigate the options, buy wisely, and sleep well at night knowing that your data is stored on a reliable device.

G‐Technology external hard drives serve as an element of an overall backup strategy. It is recommended that users keep two or more copies of their most important files backed up or stored on separate devices or online services.  G-Technology is a registered trademark of HGST, Inc. and its affiliates in the U.S. and/or other countries. ©2016  G-Technology, a Western Digital Corporation brand. All rights reserved.