It’s fun (for me) to talk about cameras, lenses and all the gear that gets the job done. There is one thing that often gets overlooked and that is hard drives. Backing up footage and keeping it ‘safe’ is one of the most important parts of video production. A great story, sharp image and clean audio is obviously needed, but if you lose your footage then that all means nothing.
For most of our projects, we don’t need to worry about backing up on set. We have enough media for a day of filming and we will back up when we get back to the office. I learned a little trick from Shane Hurlbut to be sure everyone knows what cards have been shot on. In a card case, I flip over the card. If the back is facing up it means it hasn’t been backed up yet. Simple and effective.
When we do back up on set we have two portable G-Tech drives. We will even give each hard drive to a different person for a little added security. When we get back to the office or hotel we will then copy the media on to a 2TB G-Tech hard drive, aka our edit drive. We continue this process until we are back in the office. Once in the office we back up the captured media (only) on a magical device named Drobo. Once footage is on the edit drive and Drobo, it is then deleted off the portable drives.
Drobo is a self backing up enclosure that has 4 slots for 4 hard drives. If one of those 4 hard drives fail, the other three can recover the lost information. Only source media goes on this to not only save space, but to reduce any chance of failure. What’s great about having the source media on another back up system is that if anything happens when transferring footage, you can easily copy and paste it from the Drobo.
To further ensure all our footage is safe, we never fill up drives. When the Drobo gets passed 80% we get a new one. We like to keep about 100GBs on our edit drives as well. Once the edit drive is full, we then Drobo that, label with blue tape and store away.
To better understand what I talked about above, here’s a graphic I made that outlines the back up process.