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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old May 25th, 2011, 03:16 AM   #1
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Media Management

Hi Guys,

It's going back a few years, but I once watched a Phillip Bloom DVD & tutorial of the 5D, where he recommended Compact Flash cards of 133x speed or 30 MB/ s. As I understand it, the main selling point with these cards, is the fast transfer of files to computer, & compression speeds within the camera itself ... But is there is any link to top quality end footage with 400x or 600x speed UDMA cards? I'm currently using a SanDisk 16GB Extreme III, which no mention of the UDMA.

I've been asked to film the brother in laws wedding in September, and would like to up the capacity in the gear bag. I'm looking to pick up 2 Lexus x 16GB UDMA & 1 Lexus x 32GB UDMA, to cover roughly 180 extra mins of footage, and up the capacity again in time. Out of interest, how many cards would folks consider enough for a days shoot, and what type of cards have you had problems with, or not had problems with?.

In terms of SD cards for the Zoom H4N, how many cards would realistically be needed to cover a full days wedding?

Lastly, and most importantly, how is media & backup managed on the day, and how do you manage & avoid the dreaded risk factor. In between the key parts of the day, do you take a time out to back up footage?, and if so, how do you transfer files from CF cards. Through laptop, or is there some portable storage / card readers that folks could recommend. I assume people would just bring 8-10 cards, but considering their side, and the multitasking on the day (which men tend not to be good at :-) ), can i confirm what best practice is ..
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Old May 25th, 2011, 03:19 AM   #2
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Re: Media Management

Re first point above, I should have mentioned, that the speeds I'm looking to pick up are all 400x or 60 MB/s UDMA cards. Am i wrong in assuming that these speeds are now the benchmark, and that I shouldn't be cutting corners with media cards to save a few bucks, or are people getting by on 133 x cards?
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Old May 25th, 2011, 04:19 AM   #3
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Re: Media Management

I've been using 32GB x133 cards in a 7D for about a year now with no (touch wood) problems.

Do people really backup their cards on the day?
For me it's just something else to worry about.

I suppose the only way to avoid the "dreaded risk factor" is to use 4GB cards and change them every 10 minutes.

If a file is corrupted there is nothing you can do about it on the day, so i'd rather not know until i'm back in the office.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 04:24 AM   #4
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Re: Media Management

Hey Joe,

There is no difference in quality from using faster cards. The cameras have a bit rate, they will always write at that bit rate. If the cards arnt fast enough they will cut out or error. Having a higher speed card wont give better quality footage.

We use 32GB Kingston 133x cards. We shoot using 2x 7D and 1x 5D and get through around 12 of them for a wedding. We dont fill them up. The capacity is just there should we need to shoot for a while without changing but we change cards between each key part of the day so we dont put all our eggs in one basket.

We do the same for the H4N. 3 cards per device. One for ceremony, speeches and evening. Each card is just 4GB, more than enough. We use smaller cards as they mean the H4N boots up quicker but also because we again dont put all our eggs....

On the day our media management is to keep all used cards in Julies magical bag of mystery. It never leaves her side. It goes to bed with us when we get home. We then perform the capture and backup but until the backup is complete we still keep the bag of cards with us when we go out. Just in case.

The 133x cards have been fine. The only time you have an issue is if you try and take a photo while recording or as the cards get full the fragmentation means they may stop recording even though you have a couple of gig free. But it is so rare now that we ever get to that sort of capacity.

High quality cards also tend to operate at a speed beyond that of whats written on the front. So a 133x often performs like a 166x. They always build in headroom. This is not the case though with generic cards you find on ebay (or counterfit cards). They will often underperform.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 03:20 AM   #5
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Re: Media Management

Joe, surprisingly though it might be to some, I don't disagree with most of what you've been advised already.

In my view the key is to get real-life advice for your specific camera, remembering of course that you're looking for continuous video speeds, not stills burst speeds.

Our experience isn't with your camera but might be useful as a comparison - MRC1s using 16Gb CF cards and EX1Rs using 64Gb SxS cards. Sony says a minimum 133x with the CF cards in the MRC1s - we went for safety and used metal bodied 233x cards and had no problems. We invested in 12 cards, four for each camera and had a DV tape in each as fall back.

For the EX1Rs we raided the piggy bank and invested in 64Gb Sony SxS cards at 600 each for each camera with smaller cards for standby. As a result we usually get all a day's shooting in each camera on one card in each camera. The luxury of not having to change cards - or more importantly, not worrying if the speeches/ceremony look as though they're going to push the 16Gb card to the limit, can't be overstated.

If you feel you have to consider the prudence of not having all your eggs in one basket, then I think you should consider another belt and braces option. In my view losing only part of a shoot is neither belt nor braces - having a separate recording is. Once we made the transition to solid state (and like most we did one wedding on tape and cards before committing to cards only) we never looked back.

If we're being imprudent in not having a proper back up is your judgement but then for 30 years we used tape with just the same back up and much less reliable media.

Finally, apart from recording, the only time the speed is relevant is file transfer to the computer. The card read speed is invariably higher than the write speed but the Sony USB2 card readers both exceed the card speeds anyway.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #6
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Re: Media Management

Originally Posted by Joe Thompson View Post
Hi Guys,

I Out of interest, how many cards would folks consider enough for a days shoot, and what type of cards have you had problems with, or not had problems with?.

Hi Joe,
We shoot with about 23x16GB cf cards sandisk 30mb/s. with 2 5Ds and 1x7D. for the same reason as Danny to not put everything in one basket.
another reason is that although we dont use all these cards, we can use the rest for the next day specially if you have a back to back shoot.

I mostly have problems with these cf cards when used with 7D. You ll find so many arguments about cf cards problems but from my experience IT IS the 7D that is unreliable. I know a lot would argue taht it is not the 7D but it is the 7D. a lot here will probably argue against that.i respect their opinion.

anyway, these cards are either 1s or 0s, you will get a failure . it is just a matter of time.
the solution is to be super careful and prudent about backups and redundancy.

i hope this helps a little bit.
Bay Area Wedding
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