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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.


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Old February 16th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #1
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Best Way to Archive Final Projects...

Hello,

I'm curious to know how most of you are saving (archiving) your completed projects.

Is it feasible to burn final projects to BluRay DVDs and then store the disks? That way I don't have to use up hard drive space and if necessary, I could always capture the final project again off of Bluray disk and make some minor changes to the captured Mpeg 2 file in Vegas, correct?

Just trying to figure out the best way to free up hard drive space once a project is finished. I hate having all those hours of video files on my hard drive, but I'd like to know that I can still recapture the final project into Vegas or make additional copies if need be.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions.

Jerry
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Old February 16th, 2011, 07:45 PM   #2
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Only way to reconstruct an edit, in my mind, is to save original files. With cost of a two terabyte drive at under $ 100, its starting to be as cheap as tape to store for short term on hard drives. It won't last as long as tape, I am guessing, but it is a way to go these days.

But in any event, if you are talking about HDV tape, save the tapes. And you can recapture if you have to. Otherwise, I can't see you getting the same quality and finish without saving the original file so you can work through your editing chain if new work is required.

I do try to save all .veg files, intermediate renders, music and sound files used in the project in one folder, to be archived at the end. The thing to try to remember to do is to save each project along the way to a secondary hard disk, so you don't lose your stuff in a hard drive disk recently.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #3
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agree with every point of chirs's.

keep tapes, backup EVERYTHING to (external) hd (in my case x 2).

still don't trust b-ray, nor the cost of disks, nor the read/write times.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:22 AM   #4
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I include an archive service for my clients. This includes a dedicated external drive onto which I copy absolutely everything related to their project(s). As has been said, with the cost of drives so low it's almost a no brainer. It keeps my system relatively lean and the customers are happy that I am taking precautions to safeguard their data (plus if they decide not to use me any more they take the disk with them).

As far as effort is concerned, I walk to my front door when the parcel arrives, take out the disk and plug it in, cut and paste the whole folder structure to the disk, unplug it when it's done its thing and put it on a shelf. End of.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 07:23 PM   #5
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Here is my method, and I suggest everyone adopt it exactly as described here, so we create an industry standard (that way if we ever need to exchange a disk to work on the same project, we are all on the same wavelength):

1. Use an external (eSATA) hard drive. Preferably, use an eSATA card rather than an eSATA connector to the motherboard (this is because if you use an eSATA extension card, your hard drives will be hot swappable, while if you use an eSATA cable to the motherboard, you have to physically power down the computer before swapping drives).

2. In the root directory of drive C: (not D: or any other drive, just C: because you are guaranteed any Windows computer you may use in the future or someone else will use you will always have a drive C:) create an empty directory named videdit (all lower case because some Windows computers are configured to have case-sensitive file system).

3. Mount your eSATA drive into the C:\videdit directory (open Computer Management, click on Storage / Disk Management, right click on your external disk, choose Change Drive Letter and Paths, click Add, click Mount in the following empty NTFS folder, click Browse, find C:\videdit, click OK, click OK). This is not as complicated as it sounds. Note that you have to be logged in as an administrator to do this step.

4. Copy all your source media into C:\videdit or any of its subdirectories. They will actually go to your eSATA drive without affecting your system drive.

5. Now do your editing. Save all your veggies to C:\videdit or one of its subdirectories. This is not Vegas specific, so if you use other editors, just save everything to C:\videdit (or subdirectories). Whether it takes you an hour or a year, the external drive continues to look like C:\videdit to your Windows system.

6. When you are completely finished editing, exporting, making DVDs, etc, and are ready to archive, unmount the drive (Computer Management, Storage, Disk Management, right click the disk, Change Drive Letter and Path, then assign it a drive letter).

7. Optionally, attach another external drive and copy the entire contents of the eSATA drive (now accessible through the letter you assigned it in step 6) to it. That way you will have everything on two separate hard disks (so if one fails, the other one has it). I also copy all the files from the disk to one or more (as needed) Blu-ray discs. I mean the files themselves as data, not as a Blu-ray movie (if I want one of those, I create it at the end of step 5).

Now you are ready to detach the drive from the computer, take the disk out of its enclosure and store it in your archive. If you ever need to do further editing or exporting, just attach it to any Windows computer with Vegas (or whatever other software you use) installed. It can be the same computer or some other computer. If that computer does not have C:\videdit, just create it, mount the disk to it and you can keep editing, exporting, etc. Vegas (and any other software) will have no problem finding any file because they will all be in C:\videdit or any of its subdirectories, even if you are at the opposite end of the world working with a completely different computer.

And if you ask someone else to edit it, just give him the whole drive (but keep the backup drive) and he can mount it to C:\videdit of his own computer and everything will run smoothly and effortlessly.

When you are ready for your next project, start with a new hard drive, mount it to C:\videdit, and do all the above steps.

You can do this project after project, year after year, and you will be following the same standardized work flow. And you do not have to remember what drive letter you used for which project because all your projects will be in C:\videdit or one of its subdirectories.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #6
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adam, i for one would NEVER put anything (unnecessary) in my c: drive!!!!

i have worked with dozens of people simply using off the shelf (cheap) usb drives such as 'my passport' (and more recently with large capacity thumb drives).

on these are simply a folder containing ALL the necessary material and veg files required to reconstruct from scratch the finished program. it has proved fail-safe from day one.

again, using your c: drive is simply asking for trouble.....
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Old February 17th, 2011, 11:53 PM   #7
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adam, i for one would NEVER put anything (unnecessary) in my c: drive!!!!
Neither would I.

And if you read everything I said, I did not suggest you do. I suggested mounting an external hard disk in an empty directory of your C: drive. That is a logical operation, not physical. None of the data goes to the disk of your C: drive. It all goes to the external disk. But Windows pretends it is going to your C: drive (it simply maps the root directory of that external disk to C:\videdit). Essentially, C:\videdit becomes a shortcut to the root directory of the other disk, but to the software it does not look like a shortcut and the disk does not have a drive letter assigned (or you can just think of C:\videdit as its drive "letter"). So, as far as Vegas and any other software is concerned, it is writing to C: but in reality it is writing to an external disk.

The only thing that you add to your actual C: drive is an empty directory because you can only mount a disk to an existing directory. But there is no data in that directory and no disk space reserved for the directory (and if you saved any files in that directory before mounting a disk to it, you would not be able to access that data until you unmounted the disk from it). Mounting disks to directories is a relatively new thing in Windows, though it is the standard way of creating a file system under Unix and always has been. Under Unix you do not even have drive letters, you just have a root directory / on one disk, then typically you mount another disk as /usr and perhaps another as /bin etc.

Remember, as far as the computer is concerned (on the physical level), you only have disk 0, disk 1, disk 2, etc. The operating system decides how you can write to those disks by devising a file system. Traditionally, Windows has been doing it by assigning each disk (or partition) a letter, but in the more recent versions it also added the ability of mounting an entire disk under a directory. That disk then does not have a drive letter of its own.

So, assuming (for simplicity sake) that you only have two disks in your computer, under the usual Windows file system, disk 0 is known as C: and disk 1 as D:. But if you mount the second disk as I suggested, then your disk 0 (the system disk) is still known as C: while disk 1 is now known to the system as C:\videdit. But the two disks remain completely separate. Windows now lets you do it because these days it is conceivable for a computer to have more disks attached than there are letters in the alphabet. Plus it allows you to move user data to a separate disk (for example, if you mount a separate disk to C:\users, all the "My Documents" and other user specific directories will go on that separate disk, which is actually the ideal way of doing it).

(Note that I am distinguishing between the words "disk" and "drive" because they are not the same. Windows users tend to confuse the two because under a typical Windows installation a whole disk—or a partition—is treated as a single drive. In reality a disk is a physical device, a drive is a logical portion of the file system.)
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Old February 18th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #8
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sorry adam, sped red adn tog nfcoedus....

however, still seems rather convoluted considering i simply plug the ex hd in and off i go. the only time i actually use my pc's hd's are if i'm going to render final / dvd / whatever. after which (having checked it), it'll be copied back the the ex hd.*

i have occasionally dumped the entire ex hd folder on to a work drive in my pc when a major rework has been called for and i don't want cables and such like hanging off my edit pc.

*working with hdv / avchd i've found usb 2 quite adequate speedwise, though as noted, for renders i find going to another hd slightly faster than read/writing to the same hd

but then again, we all have our own modus operandi.....
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Old February 18th, 2011, 03:48 AM   #9
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Adam, I must be missing the point here. I'm not suggesting what you're saying is wrong, I just don't get it!

Personally, I have a dedicated internal drive which I use for source material and another for projects. Both have a unique directory per project. When I'm finished with a project I simply move the two directories to an external archive disk. It seems so simple.

There MUST be an advantage to taking all the additional steps you're suggesting but I'm not seeing it.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 08:36 AM   #10
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There MUST be an advantage to taking all the additional steps you're suggesting but I'm not seeing it.
The advantage is that you never encounter Vegas (or other software) telling you it cannot find a source file. No matter what computer you plug your disk to, you always mount it to the same directory, so the relative position of all your edit files within the file system of the host computer is always the same. Even if you (or someone else) pulls your disk out of the archive 50 years from now and plug it to whatever computers will exist 50 years from now (assuming they still can run Vegas), you are ready to handle your edit files without a hitch.

Even if you are not worried about 50 years from now, how about 5 years from now? Will you still have the same computer you have now? Probably not. But you may want to re-export your movie (or video) to whatever new file format or optical disc will be in use (just think how quickly we have moved from DVD to BD).
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Old February 18th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #11
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Hmmm . . . I see exactly where you are coming from, but what I don't see is why it's such a hassle to just point Vegas to the correct location of the source material at the time of loading up an archived project. Only takes a few seconds, even with a complicated subdirectory structure.

I wonder if other people who I might want to share a project with might be less than comfortable with having to mount external disks in an empty directory on their c: drive?

Personally I would be more in favour of a utility that collects all of a project's resources into a single backup file that can then be archived off, rather like Cakewalk's excellent Bundle files. You can load a .bun file straight into any install of Sonar and it unbundles on the fly, ready to work on (the only differences being if a different install of Sonar does not have the same plugins, as you would expect).

Now that is a utility I would pay for. Even better if it was a function of Vegas.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 10:47 AM   #12
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Personally I would be more in favour of a utility that collects all of a project's resources into a single backup file that can then be archived off, rather like Cakewalk's excellent Bundle files. You can load a .bun file straight into any install of Sonar and it unbundles on the fly, ready to work on (the only differences being if a different install of Sonar does not have the same plugins, as you would expect).

Now that is a utility I would pay for. Even better if it was a function of Vegas.
As long as it worked with all file formats, I'd gladly pay for it too.
That sounds like a great idea for the Product Suggestion page!!
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Old February 18th, 2011, 11:00 AM   #13
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The Cakewalk Bundle facility doesn't (to my knowledge) do any compressing or rendering - it simply gathers everything, regardless of format, in its raw form, into one big umbrella file. I can't see any reason why that wouldn't work in the video world. It certainly would be a welcome companion to the Project Cleanup facility.

Yes, maybe I will put something into Sony. Thanks for the link.
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Old February 18th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #14
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Yes, such a utility would be useful. And yes, Vegas could simplify it. Every time Windows formats a disk, it assigns it a unique ID (called Volume Serial Number) which programs can identify. If Vegas stored the unique ID, it could find all the files even if you move the disk to a different computer or assign it a different drive letter. It would not be fullproof because if you copy the entire disk to a different disk, the drive on that disk will have its own unique ID, so searching for the original ID would not help (though there are some utilities that allow you to also copy the unique ID from one disk to another, see e.g. Volume Serial Number Editor - KRyLack Software or Brett Glass To The Rescue: Changing a Disk's Volume Serial Number, or search the web for "Volume Serial Number" for more). But as long as you kept all the files on the original disk, saving the unique ID would simplify things.

Even if you copied everything to a different disk, Vegas would only have to ask you to tell it where one of the files is, and then search for the rest of them by using the file system of the new disk.

So, yes, Vegas could simplify it all. But until then, I find my system very simple. It seems complicated from the description, but it is not, especially after you have done it a couple of times. All it takes is a couple of mouse clicks.

If the project is simple with just a few files, perhaps telling Vegas to find those files takes only a few seconds. But if you use hundreds of files in a project, mounting the whole drive to a standard directory is much faster.

At any rate, the main point is to keep everything on one disk. And by everything I mean both, all the audio and video sources and the veggie(s). If you keep them on different disks, it is very easy to lose parts of your project. I mean, you may still have those files somewhere, but you have to keep good records of where everything is. If, however, you keep it all on one disk, all you have to do is label the disk with the name of the project(s) it contains.

I became very conscious of the need of keeping it all together and of having an organizational system after I read the Digital Preservation (Library of Congress) web site. There are other people beside ourselves who are interested in preserving our work (hey, you never know how important something you create may become to future generations, especially considering we tend to be our own worst critics).
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Old February 18th, 2011, 11:17 AM   #15
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Ian, all Sony has to do is to update the "Copy media with project" option that's been in Vegas for a long time to be able to handle all video formats.
As it is right now, it will copy trimmed video only if it's SD DV-AVI.
As more and more of us make the leap to a wide variety of HD footage, this is, IMO, a much needed improvement.
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