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Old October 6th, 2010, 11:32 PM   #1
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Concern with backup options of XF300

I am an event videographer who recently purchased the XF300. I was using the XH-A1, along with the FS5. I did not realize that the XF300 does not have a firewire port before purchasing, and now I am second guessing my purchase. I love the camera, really think it's an upgrade over the A1. Love that it is Full HD and I can match it with my 7D. BUT - the lack of the firewire port means I cannot use a backup source in addition to the CF cards in the camera.

Does this concern anybody else?

How reliable are the name brand CF cards? No system is flaw proof - but this has be to good with no backup.

Any other backup solutions?

The main concern is that all footage shot is 100% critical. Especially in my line of work, a wedding for example, you cannot do any re-shoots.

I am pretty confident that this camera will do the job - but at the same time, there is nothing like having a backup recording to a different source. The problem is that I feel this camera is at the top of the line, and I'd hate to invest in an inferior camera.

My next choice would be maybe a Sony Z7? Recording to tape and disk.

Any thoughts?
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Old October 7th, 2010, 12:06 AM   #2
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Maybe I'm na´ve, but I feel more confident with a good UDMA 6 Sandisk card in my XF300 (top of the line ones, 32 and 64 GB) than with tape.

I had a miniDV tape get caught in my GL2's mechanism and nearly get ruined (except for being saved by a company on the West Coast after a real scare).

I'm just careful to copy the CONTENTS folder before Logging and capturing footage and always to initialize the card (with the camera) before more filming.

Haven't had a problem. Haven't had an error message.

I think using the best cards is key.
Event Videography, New England
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Old October 7th, 2010, 03:02 AM   #3
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Welcome to the world of tapeless!

It's been a talking point right from the start. There's a big psychological thing going on with the fat that we're deleting our source material - once we've backed it up of course!

BBC 'solution' is RAID hard drive server with an extra backup to LTO data tape.

I did wonder too whether when solid state cards like CF and SD become really cheap whether they'd be more reliable than drives as they have no moving parts, maybe that is the answer, then it would be just like having a load of cards on the shelf instead of tapes.

Does anyone know how reliable/stable CF cards are long term (ie 10 years)?

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Old October 7th, 2010, 06:08 AM   #4
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I agreee 100% with Tim.

If you buy quality cards you''ll be safer than if you were shooting on tape -- plus you'll avoid the hassle of dragging around a firewire device connected to the camera.

I now use Hoodman 16GB cards exclusively and they have been 100% rock solid for me. I only use 16GB cards because I don't want to put too many egges in one basket just in case a card does have a problem. If the card gives you an error in the middle of shooting, you could possibly lose everything on the card. FYI, I already had a 32GB SandDisk Extreme Pro card choke during 60 fps overcranking, so even cards that seem like they would be good enough might not be. Buy the best.

Also, I backup every card to a Nexto 2500 as soon as it comes out of the camera, even if I don't even need to erase the card right away. If peace of mind is important, you might want to think about getting one of those. Accidents do happen and cards can get lost.

But on the bright side, just think of the hundreds of hours you'll save every year by going tapeless!!

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Old October 7th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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Hi Michael,

Congrats on your new XF cam.

I'm also waiting on delivery of an XF300, and I'm coming from a Canon XL2 and hundreds of miniDV tapes. So, this would be my first foray into a tapeless workflow for my personal business (at work I shoot with an XDcam disc-based camera, but never reuse the discs, and just archive them).

I'm a bit apprehensive about the tapeless workflow, and concerned about error messages and footage lost myself. My initial investment, along with the XF cam, are 2 16G Hoodman cards with a Nexto Extreme 500G for backup. I plan on shooting 'til a card gets full, backup to the Nexto, and keep recycling cards that way. But will have to test this out in the field and see if that's a good workflow.

But I certainly kept in mind Doug and Tim's advice of buying the best media I can get.

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Old October 7th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback.

But, I am not concerned about the tapeless workflow - it's that it's only a tapeless workflow. Basically with my A1, or any other camera I use, you have the tape and the FS5 HD connected via firewire. I haven't used the footage from a tape in over a year, just using the footage recorded to my FS5. The problem with the XF300 is that the CF cards are my only option. I cannot connect my FS5 because of the lack of firewire. They do have HDMI recorders but the prices are through the roof. So that's my main concern that the camera can only record to one source, and not two like I had previously set up.
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Old October 7th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #7
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You might be interested in this thread over at the EX1R forum.


I don't know anything about the product, I'm just bringing the thread to your attention.
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Old October 7th, 2010, 01:48 PM   #8
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this topic is one of the concerns I also have had in the back of my mind. Forever I have been capturing directly to my dell laptop via firewire right into Premiere.

I'm going to miss that to some degree... The footage is already there and ready to go (for the ceremony).

I do wish Canon had taken a play from Sonys book, with the 128GB drive attachment for the NX5. Recording to both sources at once would alleviate a lot of concern for wedding videographers.
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Old October 7th, 2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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Mike, I was in the same boat as you about 4 weeks ago, with the same questions. Slightly different situation, I do primarily corporate, but like everybody else, want to insure you get it recorded reliably, every time. Tape was a no brainer for so many reasons, small, cheap, reliable, instant archive, etc. But tapeless - oh my, required a leap of faith. The good news is, I took the leap and don't plan on looking back any time soon.

3 Stories.

Back in July I had to record a panel discussion. At that time I was using an XL2 as my primary camera. For this particular session there were 4 panelists, 4 mics - and me without a mixer. What to do? I pulled out my very reliable backup XL1 and voila - 4 recording tracks. Roll tape - everything cool right? Well, I get back to the studio and the XL1 suffered a head clog - nothing recorded, nada. No warning from the camera, no sign of anything wrong. Granted this was a rare problem, the point being - tape is not perfect.

Fast forward to September. I purchased an XF300, 4 16G San Disk CF's, and the Nexto DI Extreme. I took a day and started recording on the camera and didn't stop for 8 hours straight. I used every setting in the book, hot swapped CF's, transferred via the Nexto, simulated a power loss, you name it. I did not have a single issue with any of it. My confidence is quite high now for tapeless.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday. I purchased a Western Digital 1TB external HDD. The Nexto has a sync feature where you can backup the backup as it were. It will copy it's contents (your video files) to the HDD as an additional safeguard against loss.

My only gripe, and this has nothing to do with reliability, is speed. It takes about 11 to 12 minutes to transfer a full 16 GB CF card to the Nexto, not bad though. Backing up the Nexto, via USB unfortunately, depends on the volume of data. Your mileage may vary.

The long and short is that tapeless is just another way to record video. Will things go wrong? Perhaps. But as long as you formulate and stick to a robust workflow, with appropriate safeguards, you'll be fine. So take the plunge.
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Old October 8th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #10
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I have the same concern as Michael. Tapeless = great. Having to rely on a single CF card to perform flawlessly during a critical shoot = worrying.

I had a CF card fail on me when recording to the 5DII last year - it was a new, undamaged card - there was no indication of a problem while recording but back in the studio several files were unrecoverable.

Each time I record an interview for a client on the XF I do cross my fingers that my cards will perform. I'm using Sandisk Extreme - after reading Doug's post I'll consider switching to Hoodman. The Nexto unit is useful but doesn't solve the issue of card failure - something like the Ninja or Nano makes sense...

The XF100/105 has the ability to record to both cards at once... does this seem like something Canon could address for the 300/305 with a firmware update? It makes a lot of sense - for critical work I'd definitely like that insurance.
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