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Old January 24th, 2012, 07:14 AM   #1
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HDSLR Archiving strategies

What is people’s archiving strategy for video shot on HDSLRs? I’m trying to put a rational system in place & this is what I’ve come up with:

Archive:
• All the original raw h264 clips from the camera & the separate audio recorder. That way if everything else gets lost, or better transcoders come along in the future, I still have all the basic material to go back to.
• The transcoded ProRes clips that are actually used in the final edit. These are larger than the originals & have had the audio track replaced, so although perhaps not essential, it seems good to keep these for convenience sake.
• The final FCP project file.
• The final video saved as QT movie; ie uncompressed, that can be done later as needed.

And three copies of everything in separate locations.

Does that sound about right? Overkill? Or have I missed anything?

Thanks in advance,

Jeremy Nicholl
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Old January 24th, 2012, 10:10 AM   #2
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

Here's what I do.

--I have a 1.5TB USB drive, and after the shoot I copy all my H.264 clips there.

--Then I immediately copy them to a separate firewire drive for editing. When I was using FCP, I transcoded to ProResHQ for that purpose but no need to with Premiere Pro.

So after the files are in two places, I reformat my cards.

As time permits, I take all the files from the USB drive and copy them to Blu-ray and store those safely. Those Blu-rays become like the old original tape.

I think it's best to store the original as what it is, ie., H.264, than the ProRes. What if you move to Avid or some other system where you might not have ProRes. Or in our case, we added another editor and new system with Premiere Pro, since FCP is no longer sold (except for FCPX which doesn't work for us). Without FCP on that system, the ProRes files wouldn't have worked.

For my purposes the Blu-ray storage is good enough. The likelihood of both my drives dying at the same time is not very high, so I feel pretty safe. I think Blu-ray discs, properly stored, will last as long as tape, maybe longer. A burner is under $200 now, and the discs are only a couple of dollars each.

When I travel on a shoot, I take my MacBook Air and a portable USB drive. At night I copy all the footage to the computer and then to the portable drive. Then reformat the cards if necessary. I've never run out of cards on an out of town shoot, but I always copy over and backup the footage anyway.

The weak spot in my system is that sometimes I get behind on making the Blu-rays. As I said, it's unlikely that both drives would fail at the same time...but anything that spins at 7200 rpm day in and day out is subject to failure. In the tape days we didn't have to worry about a tape dying, but with age came dropouts.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

In addition to what was stated, I do images of my dvd's and blu-rays. Couple years down the road you will get a call that the dvd was lost, etc. So I keep a master folder with all those so that I can easily create a new dvd/bluray.
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Old January 24th, 2012, 02:31 PM   #4
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

Good idea.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #5
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

I keep footage on two separate harddrives then pull them offline to store in different location. bare HDDs are cheaper (more expensive after the flood in thailand). Using them with HDD dock works well for me.

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Old January 25th, 2012, 07:13 PM   #6
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

I keep source files on one HDD, high quality H264 renders (15Mbps) of finished projects on another HDD and duplicate the most valuable renders onto SD cards. I also upload all renders less than 5GB to Vimeo so I can view or download from anywhere and serve as a cloud based back up.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 07:14 PM   #7
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

Footage uploaded to Vimeo will be transcoded I believe.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 08:39 PM   #8
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

One thing not mentioned yet, is that it can be very helpful to log/rename your footage before transcoding. That way if you somehow lose or if you choose to delete the ProRes/Cineform/intermediate files then need them later you can simply re-transcode them and point your NLE to the folder, rather than having to rename them and reconnect them one by one.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 09:08 PM   #9
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taky Cheung View Post
Footage uploaded to Vimeo will be transcoded I believe.
Taky,

I just checked and downloaded a file from Vimeo and it returned the same file size as the original and looks identical when viewed on my monitor. Give it a try and see what results you get.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 10:21 PM   #10
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

Roger, oh yes you are right. Vimeo transcoded the video file for online streaming display, but it keeps your original uploaded file. The downloaded file would be the same file as the uploaded one.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 11:12 AM   #11
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

On location, I have a laptop, external eSata 1TB HDD and an eSata G-Raid external drive. Once a card is full (I use 16GB cards) I'll copy that card over to the G-Raid and the 1TB drive and then delete/reformat the card. I usually carry enough cards for two days of shooting, and will usually NOT reformat the card unless necessary on the shoot.

Back at the shop, I'll copy the files from either one of the external drives over to the RAID in my editing box. (It's a simple RAID 0). I also utilize a Drobo FS device for archiving, and copy the original camera files there as well. I'll edit using the files on the internal RAID and have a program called "Goodsync" that will automatically copy over any changes to the Drobo device. If something happens to the RAID, everything I'm working with is there and can easily be copied back again. If I lose anything, it'll only be about 5-10 minutes worth of work.

The 1TB size external drive, with the original camera files is then placed in storage offsite... Just in case. $89.00 approximately is a small price to pay to ensure files are safe. So, after a shoot and edit, I have the files and program files on my networked Drobo device and on a separate external drive off site. The final edited video is burned to multiple data DVDs, as well as copied to the Drobo and the offsite drive.

Finished video DVDs are also made and stored in both locations. It works well for me, keeps me relatively safe in case of fire and will make it easy to take with me in case of another evacuation like Katrina and Gustav.
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Old January 28th, 2012, 09:49 PM   #12
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Re: HDSLR Archiving strategies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Nicholl View Post
Archive:
• All the original raw h264 clips from the camera & the separate audio recorder. That way if everything else gets lost, or better transcoders come along in the future, I still have all the basic material to go back to.
• The transcoded ProRes clips that are actually used in the final edit. These are larger than the originals & have had the audio track replaced, so although perhaps not essential, it seems good to keep these for convenience sake.
• The final FCP project file.
• The final video saved as QT movie; ie uncompressed, that can be done later as needed.
I archive:
- The raw h.264 files
- The "media managed" FCP file with :01 handles on either end of the clip. This gives you just the media that you used (plus :01 on either side), plus a project file
- The final export.

I don't have triple backups, but I do have two (and both in the same location).
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