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#1 Felix Planer

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 06:54 PM

Hi,

 

I'm kinda new here and I hope this is the right category for this topic.

 

I'm currently backing up all of my stuff (again) and I have a lot of external Hard Drives where i keep my stuff safe but the thing is I'm not happy with my current backup-technique.

 

Let me explain: As a student cinematographer you often end up buying one or two hard drives from the budget to double or triple backup on-set and to work with in the post production. Sometimes when shooting Alexa i provided my old MacbookPro which could read the SxS-Cards and got all the footage. Well, if i didn't get the footage right away I always kinda felt more secure having a backup of all the material as well so i requested the original files from pretty much everything i shot so far. (Also because of future showreels etc.)

 

Well and here I am 1TB or 2TB external HDDs stacking up at home for each project and I feel kinda lost not really knowing if I should keep all of the original files, make a second copy of everything, buy a server or what to do?

 

How do you handle your files, especially if you're for example self employed or like to keep the footage at home as well?

 

I think this could help a lot of people, not losing their stuff, or getting lost in their files, especially if you're switching systems (internal HDDs and different file formats are the worst). 

 

Thanks


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:01 PM

Generally, for long term, should look into LTO tape.. but that ain't cheap. It would also be "cold" storage... or really warm storage, you'd have to move it to drives to work with it again. Once you get over the cost of the deck, the costs of the tapes isn't that bad.

Server wouldn't work since your ISP will have a fit when you start uploading and downloading terabytes of information.

SSDs could be another option, since in theory they should last for a long time-- no moving parts and all-- but again is expensive at the moment.

 

BluRay could be another option, but it takes a lot of time to write them, you'd need a drive for that, and they're also costly per GB.

 

You could maybe get an old deck of some kind.. maybe HDCam or HDV if you find a good deal on it and lay it off to tape and leave it on a shelf as well (kinda same idea as an LTO drive but NLE controllable so you could skim through the tapes and capture what you need for your reels)


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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:22 PM

First match for LTO5 drives on ebay is £600 (About US$1000). It's expensive, but it's just about doable. Add another couple of hundred units of currency for a SAS card and you're more or less in business.

 

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#4 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:31 PM

LTO is coming down in price. I keep thinking about buying one and offering a mail in  to LTO back up service. Shoot us over a drive, and we'll shoot it back to you with an LTO backup of your movie.


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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 27 February 2014 - 07:48 PM

Oh, and Digital Garage had a Thunderbolt-attached LTO drive on their booth at BVE Expo in London this week. Okay, it's a thunderbolt SAS card and an LTO mech in a box, but still.

 

USB3, anyone?


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#6 Felix Planer

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:19 AM

Thanks for all the replies.

 

LTO sounds good for backing up and storage but what about a backup solution where i can access my files if i need to?

 

When I said server I meant something like a NAS-Raid Server where the Server takes care of all the mirroring and i just put in hard drives. Do you have experience with stuff like that?

 

How do you manage your backups at home (or in the office)?

 

thanks again


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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:53 AM

Depends what you mean by "access". LTFS on LTO makes it possible to access individual files just as if it were on a hard disk, albeit with considerably greater latency and delay as the tape shuttles up and down.

 

There aren't really any really solid solutions for hot-swappable RAIDs other than either the custom disk packs built for existing recorders, or just plugging in G-tech boxes via USB3 or thunderbolt. You can always just power down a server and pull all of the drives out in numbered hotswap cages, but SAS or SATA connectors aren't really built for that sort of regular use.

 

Yes, it would be nice if there were a high performance, high capacity, ruggedised hotswap module using 3.5" hard disks for exactly this sort of work. It wouldn't be that hard to do - it's how early recorders worked - but it's only really useful if it's standardised and trying to get that sort of standard to stick is an exercise in frustration.

 

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#8 Felix Planer

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:13 PM

What are studios using for example? They must have some kind of raid-system when they're still working on a project right?

 

I once worked in a smaller company where whe had mac pros with that fibre channel connected to some kind of server. That was pretty fast and had a backup / raid solution as well.

 

and: are those NAS-Servers for home/small office use any good? Or why aren't they a solution you'd recommend?


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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:17 PM

Huge RAIDs and LTO.

 

NAS is fine if you're talking about very upscale stuff, but performance can be a problem if it's just gigabit ethernet, or whatever. I prefer storage to be attached directly to the workstation unless there's a good reason it can't be.

 

Now, there often is a good reason it can't be - collaborative workflows, shared storage, etc. But that probably doesn't apply to data wrangling very much.

 

Although I am constantly astonished that some sort of big integrated on-set web app hasn't been done yet.

 

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#10 John Miguel King

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:46 AM

The usual approach is keeping proxies available in the network/raid, then conforming during the online from the rushes being held on LTO. LTO is way cheaper per gigabyte.


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#11 Felix Planer

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 05:50 AM

How many LTO copies do you usually keep of all the footage?

 

ok so since we've covered LTO and long-term storage I have a remaining question:

 

Let's say the film is completed and has gone through the whole digital workflow (aquired digitally, editing, finishing, distribution to cinemas on HDDs -> all those stages digital), does it make sense to also make a 35mm copy/print/transfer for storaging purposes?

 

If so, how many copies will they generally make or keep?

 

Kodak advertises on the back of the ASC a lot about 35mm storaging. Any experiences on that?


Edited by Felix Planer, 04 March 2014 - 05:52 AM.

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#12 John Miguel King

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 07:17 AM

Film is the safest storage medium by quite a stretch. I recently did a job for Quantel where one of their top execs came with us. Amongst many other topics of conversation over the post-dinner drinks, storage was one of them. It seems the BBC still shoots film during events of national significance, such as Royal Weddings and the like, as it's still the cheapest and safest approach.


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#13 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 09:04 AM

To be fair, we don't really know how well LTO will last. Accelerated ageing tests suggests at least decades, without special storage conditions, which is a lot better than even quite modern film will do if you just throw it on a shelf.

 

The biggest problem with LTO is not so much how long the tapes last once written, but whether the playback decks will continue to be available. LTO decks support reading the two previous generations, but at some point it will need to be recognised that continued sales of the latest generation drives are less important than the ability to buy a previous generation drive in, say, 2075.

 

If 35mm is still a useful archival format, it's because the machinery to read it is a considerably smaller development effort than the machinery to read LTO tapes.

 

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