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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 3rd, 2012, 12:23 AM   #1
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Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

I'm trying to free up some disk space and was wondering what others are doing about wedding footage from old clients. How long are other videographers keeping the raw footage backed up on the hard drive? If you are saving it or deleting them, why? Would there be a good reason to hold on to it? What are you guys saving, just the finished product?
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 01:19 AM   #2
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

Hi Jimmy

I save them for as long as I can as I have had brides come back to me after 3 years wanting copies etc etc . All my projects are on USB portable drives and I can keep about a year's worth of weddings on a 2TB drive for around $100....I save everything that the project used but I would at the very least, keep a compiled copy of the final DVD set so you can make copies for them if the dog ate theirs!!! My weddings span usually around 5GB so you could get an awful lot of weddings on a 2TB drive and they only take up a tiny amount of space.

If you are going to ditch footage then maybe keep it for 5 years???

Chris
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 03:09 AM   #3
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

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I save everything that the project used but I would at the very least, keep a compiled copy of the final DVD set so you can make copies for them if the dog ate theirs!!! My weddings span usually around 5GB so you could get an awful lot of weddings on a 2TB drive and they only take up a tiny amount of space.
One hour of AVCHD footage is about 10GB. If you shoot the wedding multicam and the cover the reception you would have a minimum of 40GB of raw footage.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:17 AM   #4
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

Hi Eric

If you read my post carefully you will see that I said "at the very least I would keep the DVD compilation" That is usually less than 5GB over two disks and easy to store and retrieve if the bride needs another copy.

The comment was if the OP was running out of storage then keeping the DVD compilations would be better than keeping nothing at all. I have a cupboard shelf full of 2TB drives!!!

I'm shooting with 3 cameras so my project files and raw footage usually come to at least 60GB (usually more!) for a full wedding and that includes raw footage, compiled MPEG2 clips, compiled DVD files, audio and music too. I'm lucky to get 20 -25 wedding projects on a 2TB drive so I tend to go thru at least two every season. However at around $100 each it's still cheap storage and handy to retrieve a wedding.

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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:19 AM   #5
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

I have all my original footage going back to U-matic as well as all of my longhand edit sheets; remember when editing was transferring tape to tape. That goes through SVHS to Hi8, I still have all the tapes and logs When I switched to DVCAM I saved the camera tapes and NLE projects (saved on CDs). A total of over a thousand various tapes sitting in vacuum packed boxes. Nowadays I shoot to cards which are cloned to a USB Drive then transferred to the project working drive. When the job is completed the whole project is trimmed and save to another USB Drive. so I have the before and after.

I occasionally have to go back to the store, mostly for business work for compilations from seminars or presentations, but now I digitise that as I need it. Only about 3 or 4 times have I ever had to go back to original wedding footage, but hey ho I know that the day after I delete them someone will call asking for work on footage from years ago. My terms state that I hold footage for 12 months from the date of shooting.

I'm shortly making a house move so that may all change.

At less than £100 for 2 or 3TB drives I agree with Chris and I don't see a reason not to store at least the final version in as full a format as possible.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:20 AM   #6
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

I just checked our last wedding (two shooters) & the total of all the files both audio & video is about 240GB. The big Jewish wedding with four shooters that I recently posted a clip from is 393GB.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:29 AM   #7
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

The amount of data we record per wedding is only going to keep on rising so I have decided to bite the bullet & invest in a proper tape backup strategy. I worked in grown-up corporate IT for 25 years so will be satisfied with nothing less:-) I have just got all the parts ready to build my server when I get a spare moment. I found a new LTO-5 tape drive on eBay at a bargain price & as you can pick up the tapes (1.5GB uncompressed capacity) from around £30/$45 new (even cheaper used on eBay). Computer tape is the most reliable long term archival storage medium.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:32 AM   #8
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

Big drives needed for you to store stuff Nigel???

Your DSLR's shoot in MOV do they not??? I suspect that alone would account for massive space requirements compared to 24 mbps AVCHD.

In the good ole MiniDV days the DV-AVI files were not that bad ..if I remember around 15GB per hour in PAL SD ..but then again storage cost a heap more money!!! I also used to keep all my MiniDV tapes!!

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Old August 3rd, 2012, 06:44 AM   #9
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

The 5D3 shoots at 30Mbps, the 5D2 at 40Mbps & the XF105 & C300 at 50Mbps. The GoPro is 15Mbps but the ProTune firmware update that is due later this summer will raise the quality & recording rate to 35Mbps. Now that the 12 minute recording limit on the 5D2 has been raised to 30 minutes on the 5D3 it's much more tempting just to leave a camera locked off & rolling.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 09:38 AM   #10
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

I use WD 2 or 3 TB drives for all my projects and retire them as each drive fills up. I feel that by rotating them out I reduce the risk of drive failure by not having a drive in there for more than 6 months. When they fill up, I unlplug, put in a plastic ziplock back and store. I have no idea what the shelf life is for these things considering there are mechanical parts in there that won't be moving and may degrade. And there is the media platter itself - how long could I expect that to last? I've been thinking more about this topic because I just had bride approach me about a wedding I did three years ago. Her 2 year old son destroyed her DVDs and she needed a replacement. This also raises the question of what will our clients do in the long term - say 10 years from now. With the rate of change of technology I doubt there will be many DVD players still around. Yes I still have a VHS player but the rate of change from VHS to DVD was a lot longer then it will be from DVD to ???? Interested in other's thoughts on this topic?
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 11:05 AM   #11
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

In my wedding contract, I put the burden of archiving on the couple. I have DV/DVCAM tapes going 10 years back, but it's not likely that any hard drive would last that long, no matter how well kept. I suggest that each couple get a copy of their raw+completed footage on a portable hard drive, and transfer it when newer or more robust technology comes along. I usually keep the footage at least one year anyhow, and have rarely needed to access it. But as a CYA clause, my contract states that their footage will be archived for 6 months from their event date.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 12:25 PM   #12
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

I keep RAW footage for 9 to 12 months (on the drive) and tapes for 12 year. After that everything goes. If they haven't contacted within a year of the wedding chances are they won't. I started getting rid of tapes about 5 years ago. I simply ran out of storage space in my garage. I still have a couple of boxes in there dating back a few years, this winter when I clean out my garage they'll all go. I keep the past year only in a box in my office. The thing that makes me cry is the many many dollars I spent on tapes over the years. It hits home when I toss 'em out. Oh well, cost of business.
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Old August 3rd, 2012, 07:41 PM   #13
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

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I started getting rid of tapes about 5 years ago. I simply ran out of storage space in my garage.
At some point one will reach the archived HD source that was delivered on DVD as SD. By then HD will be completely standard. It might be profitable to check how many couples would be interested in a blu-ray version of their wedding before tossing the HD source.
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Old August 6th, 2012, 05:51 PM   #14
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

I use to be very sentimental about my raw footage but with almost 30TB of data I can't keep hanging on to old edits. Once the edit is approved by my client I'll keep raw files for about a month then delete all the raw footage and only keep the master render & dvd/blu-ray image files archived long term.
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Old August 7th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #15
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Re: Saving raw wedding footage for how long?

My storage just developed out of habit and having ample room to keep it so the boxes just piled up. A friend who has been in the business just as long as me never keeps footage, even commercial work. He allows seven days to view the work and then gets a sign-off in writing for every job and once it's signed he deletes the footage. He thinks I'm daft keeping everything, his attitude is that once they own it it's their responsibility to look after it. There may be something in that.
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