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temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?

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Jim Bruce
temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jun 30, 2009 at 1:08:30 am

Hi All,

I am looking for recommendations for tapeless storage for a feature length documentary film. The last time I did one of these we had tapes for masters. So now I'm looking to buy temp storage and archival storage for the camera masters.

I appreciate any thoughts, opinions, or experience you're willing to share.

I will be on location the whole shoot, mostly lengthy interviews. Access to electricity should not be much of an issue. I plan on purchasing a Sony EX-1.

Storage Questions:

SxS vs. SDHC - I will be shooting the types of people that I won't get to do twice. So I am assuming SxS is more reliable and wins hands down.

1) Any thoughts to the contrary? Have people had SxS cards fail/corrupt? Are bigger 32 or 64 Gb cards more likely to corrupt than 8 or 16Gb? Do I need to continually reformat when re-using cards?

I will have a laptop (older MBP so will need USB Card reader) to backup files from the cards. Access to electric should not be a problem.

I want to back up each original master to 2 separate drives each day while on the road. From what I've researched, I am considering buying ShotputPro so that I could hook up a powered firewire drive (my MBP has a FW400 only), daisy chain the portable drive and make 2 "verified" copies at once - after which the card gets recycled.

2) What are the sturdiest, most reliable portable drives to dump onto? Please let me know brands that you do or do not trust...

3) What are the most reliable FW 400/800 drives (that need a power supply) - 7200 RPM and ideally 1.5 -2 TB in size? (unless smaller is considered more reliable) Thoughts on using Raid 1 for extra protection?

My plan would be to have 3 portables and 2 powered drives with us at all times - 1 portable as an all-around backup and a redundant set of pairs - in case anything gets weird.

4) Any alternative suggestions for backing up on the road?

When I'm done shooting, my plan would be to keep the two 1.5-2 TB powered FW 800's as my original camera master backups (I imagine I will need them both for 1 full set of RAID 1 backed up camera original files). I could also keep the 2 portable drives for a second back up.

5) Should I consider a backup on another type of media? (Which would free up the powered FW 800's for other editorial use?)
Suggestions for which kind of media for approx. 1.5 - 2 TB?

I realize this is a lot to ask but if anyone has do's, don'ts or preferred workflows I am all ears..

Thanks.

Jim


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Craig Seeman
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jun 30, 2009 at 3:40:53 pm

[Jim Bruce] "SxS vs. SDHC - I will be shooting the types of people that I won't get to do twice. So I am assuming SxS is more reliable and wins hands down. "
That depends. IMHO well tested SDHC are just as reliable. You can buy many more SDHC (depends on budget) and avoid transferring to laptop in the field where most of the human errors occur. Given the frequency of human error I'd actually find SDHC more reliable. If you can buy a large number of 32GB SxS so you don't have to transfer in the field than sure go for that. When dealing with budgets money going to one thing always seems to be coming from something else that may also be needed.

[Jim Bruce] "I will have a laptop (older MBP so will need USB Card reader) to backup files from the cards. Access to electric should not be a problem. " Up until recently all MBP had Express port AFAIK. SxS is PCIe by the way so you'd need Sony's reader. There is no other especially for a laptop.

I dearly hope you don't mean a PowerBook. You're talking about budgeting SxS over SDHC and then using a laptop that ClipBrowser doesn't run on (no CRC checking) and transfer data in the field. That's a recipe for disaster. Of course ShotPut works on PPC so that would certainly cover CRC checking.


[Jim Bruce] "I want to back up each original master to 2 separate drives each day while on the road. From what I've researched, I am considering buying ShotputPro so that I could hook up a powered firewire drive (my MBP has a FW400 only), daisy chain the portable drive and make 2 "verified" copies at once - after which the card gets recycled. "

I'd burn a copy to optical disc. That's just me but I don't trust hard drives. There are some shock proof hard drives designed for use in the field though that are somewhat drop/shock proof. I can't suggest any off hand but look in that direction. I'm someone here can make a suggestion.

________

Your actual workflow really depends on what your typical shoot/day schedule looks like as well as the volume of shooting. Generally I'd avoid offloading in the field (hotel room or office is OK of course). Some docs can accumulate video quickly so you have to consider how many hard drives you're going to lug around as well as possibly shipping one set.




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Jim Bruce
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:06:20 pm

Hi Craig,

Thanks for your response. I do plan on buying at least 2 32GB cards (and possibly an extra 8 Gb as a backup since they seem to have discontinued the 16's) which should allow me to almost never have to offload "in the field". There might be a rare occasion where we do 2 long interviews back to back, but the offload would occur in down time in between so I'm comfortable with that.

The thing about using SDHC's once and keeping as a master is I expect to have about 70-100 hours of production footage. At $40ish per 16Gb SDHC (from Transcend - is that a good brand?) those masters will add up very quickly in price for me.

Also one other question on SxS, Sandisk has a $220 8 Gb which I would get as my backup since it's much cheaper than the Sony 8Gb and is supposedly compatible with EX-1. Have you heard anyone having good or bad experience with Sandisk vs. Sony?

In terms of the "older laptop" it is in fact an earlier MBP so I assume Clip Browser will be happy with it. I just don't have the slot for direct plug-in of a card.

Have you heard anything about ShotPut? Good, bad, scary? I definitely want to trust and verify my copy (which would have me leaning towards Clip Browser) but I like being able to make 2 or 3 copies at once.

In terms of not trusting hard drives I am with you on that!!! I have a few LACIE doorstops around the apartment to prove it. When you say burn to optical disk are you just meaning DVD? Is there some other format? If there was a disk that would take a "full" 32GB card, I'm assuming 29-30Gb and I could make a backup disk for each card offload that would be great. But I'm reluctant to go BluRay as that would cost a bit for the drive and involve splitting up a lot of my longer interview files. (I am assuming that the EX-1 breaks a 30 Gb shoot into a series of 2 Gb or so files, is that right?)

Thanks again for all your advice.

Cheers,

Jim




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olof ekbergh
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jul 1, 2009 at 1:06:25 pm

http://www.sony.co.uk/biz/view/ShowProduct.action?product=PHU-60K&pageType=...

Above is a link to PHU-60 specs.

It has a SxS type card attached, it fits really well on an EX3, there is a rear hotshoe for it on the handle, where an EX1 has the vf. There also is a slot in the EX3 door for the wire, but not on the EX1.

It actually is a USB connection so you can't overcrank just like SDHC cards. As a matter of fact it is because of the PHU that Sony implemented USB interface that allowed 3rd party SDHC cards to be used with EX line.

All EX3's can use it. You need latest FirmWare installed on an EX1, if you buy one make sure it has the latest FW.

Olof Ekbergh


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Alfredo Claussen
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Dec 28, 2011 at 10:32:27 pm

LaCie for doorstops? Good Idea!!!
(I only use them as projectiles to keep away wild animals, BTW.)

Surely the WORST HDD's of ALL them.

And please don't start me talking about their absolutely inexistent "customer support" as there is practically none. when a company treats its customers as LaCie does, it deserves the worst bad-mouthing possible, granted!. Amclaussen.

BTW, try OTHER HDD brands, Hitachi and WD seem to last enough to be called "problem free". The thing is that you need to get external cases for them, and then it is not as easy to get them with FW... this malady of the ubiquitous USB!!! GRRRR!


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olof ekbergh
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:10:01 pm

I use Lacie Ruggeds and WD Passports for portables. I have had no problems with either, they come up to 500GB.

I also have a Sony PHU-60 hard drive that fits on my EX3, you get almost 4 hrs on that drive.

I use both SxS and SDHC cards with M&R adapter. I have had no trouble with older Sandisk cards, but I don't trust them as much as SxS (no real reason just my gut), make sure red light is not on before ejecting any card, SDHC's tend to stay red longer.

I have enough cards and the PHU-60 to shoot all day, so offloading in the field is not an issue. I use the SxS first then the PHU then SDHC. As I said I have never had a problem with any of them.

I use G-raid for faster FW drives, they are fast and seem reliable and I have a couple 2TB's. Even though I have a 12TB RAID level 5 Promise system in my suites, I often edit on the G-raids.

I also archive on two WD 1 TB mybooks, and on BluRay discs, both 25 and 50's. I keep redundant drives in 2 buildings. We also keep a database of all the Blurays and Folder names and Drive ID's complete with thumbnails comments and descriptions that are searchable.

When in the field I back up to two portable drives every night, I have even been known to ship them to my studio FEDEX as they fill up, keeping second one with me. I have a large selection of portables 60GB to 500GB that sometimes go to a client or whatever, they are cheap and very handy.

Olof Ekbergh


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Jim Bruce
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:00:52 pm

Hi Olof,

Thanks for sharing. I have a LACIE rugged that has been great (and gotten bounced around a lot). I have a little bias against LACIE because I've had a number of their bigger drives go down in the past, but the rugged is probably a good call for taking on the road.

The PHU-60 is an interesting idea. I didn't know it existed. Just now I looked on the Cow and saw a couple early negative posts but I assume Sony has worked out those problems. How do you connect it to the camera, by USB cable or does it physically attach? Is it bulky/weighty in a bad way to use in hand held situations? Is there a reason you have it second in line instead of first?

I do also like your idea of SDHC as a final backup. I had been thinking of SxS/SDCH as an either/or situation but for me it might make sense to get 2 32 GB SxS's to use primarily, and if I run through them switch to SDHC instead of shelling out for another SxS.

Do you re-use your SDCH cards?

I too have liked G-Raids and they seem like a good product for more "permanent" FW storage. From what I hear Caldigit as well. 2TB is an ideal size, as long as you've found them reliable... My early drive failures with LACIE all involved their 1st 1TB drive (which I needed to put an entire HD uncompressed movie on one drive). I developed a bias then against big drives, and drives that included multiple disks as well. It could have just been bad luck. I wish a rational engineer would weigh in and let me know if my concerns are valid.

Lastly you mention BluRay 50Gb's. How does that work? Are those double-sided? Did you need to buy an extra external or internal burner? Do those come installed with Mac Pro's yet?

I hadn't realized there were 50 Gb disks. To me that would be ideal because I could backup one disk per 32Gb offload which would make filing and burning and so forth much easier.

Thanks for all your thoughts.

Jim



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olof ekbergh
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jul 1, 2009 at 12:21:33 pm

Jim,

I use a LaCie bluray burner, I don't think brand matters. Mine is a FireWire external.

Discs come 25 and 50 GB. The 50's are dual layer, like 9GB DVD's, not double sided.

They come 4x and 2x. 4x is almost twice as fast to burn.

50's hold 43GB, 25's 23GB approx.

The nice thing is I can also make Bluray discs for clients to watch on their TV's. I still sometimes make HD-DVD's as well (regular DVD 5 or 9 media but HD content). I use Toast for this.

I may get an internal for one of my Mac Pros soon. And I have been thinking about putting one in my MBP, I think they may be available now, though not from Apple. If not yet soon I think.

I have reused my SDHC cards, no problem so far. I would sell them to a client if they wanted to take them with them after the shoot. You can actually transfer in camera from card to card.

Olof Ekbergh


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olof ekbergh
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jul 1, 2009 at 1:07:38 pm

http://www.sony.co.uk/biz/view/ShowProduct.action?product=PHU-60K&pageType=...

Above is a link to PHU-60 specs.

It has a SxS type card attached, it fits really well on an EX3, there is a rear hotshoe for it on the handle, where an EX1 has the vf. There also is a slot in the EX3 door for the wire, but not on the EX1.

It actually is a USB connection so you can't overcrank just like SDHC cards. As a matter of fact it is because of the PHU that Sony implemented USB interface that allowed 3rd party SDHC cards to be used with EX line.

All EX3's can use it. You need latest FW installed on an EX1, if you buy one make sure it has the latest FW.

Olof Ekbergh


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Brent Dunn
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jul 1, 2009 at 11:50:46 pm

Jim:

You should go ahead and get the MxR adaptor from Hoodman. I bought two. Use the Transcend 32G SDHC Class 6 cards. Don't buy sand disc SD cards, there are compatability issues. Most of us here have used and tested the Transcend and they are holding up fine. No error's or issues for me yet.

The 32G SD's are $111 at NewEgg.com, with a SD reader packaged with it, or $109 without the card reader. For 2Bucks, I'd get the latter.

I use my SxS 8G card that came with the camera for Overcranking (you can't use the SD cards for that function. That's about the only limitation). I use the SD cards for my general recording.

Brent Dunn
Creative Director
DunnRight Video.com


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Jim Bruce
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jul 2, 2009 at 2:39:06 am

Thanks Brent!

I plan on buying two of the exact models you mentioned. I will also buy an SxS and the SDHC will be additional. This will mean I shouldn't have to ever squeeze an offload in during the middle of a shoot. With the subjects I'll be interviewing (fancy pants) and the crew I'll be using (tiny) that is worth the cost.

Olof's PHU-60 just had too many scary stories in other posts for me.

Thanks for the detailed response.

And by the way do you have any recommendations for portable bus-powered and/or power-supplied FW Drives that can handle a month or two of travel?

I am looking to get the most reliable brands there are because not having a tape scares me, and I'm shooting too much footage to just hold onto the SDHC's as masters.

Lacie scares me in general but I have had good luck with their Rugged drives so I was thinking of going with two of those and two of either the CalDigit or G-Raid 1 to 3 TB firewire?

Have you had any experience with durability reliability for those?

Do you recommend any other brands?

Thanks!

Jim



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Dean Sensui
Re: temp/archival storage and SxS vs SDHC recommendations?
on Jul 4, 2009 at 6:10:36 am

I use a Firmtek system with Hitachi/IBM SATA drives. They're paired as mirrored RAIDs.

I have more than two dozen of these drives and just added six more. In several years I haven't lost a single one of them.

Other World Computing currently sells 1 terabyte drives for as low as $80 each. $20 for the "sled" that holds each drive in the Firmtek housing. It's about as cheap, fast and reliable as you can get.

The "working" RAID is set up as a level-0 "striped" RAID for speed.

I back up everything: Original camera files. Edited projects. Color projects and rendered files. Visual effects projects from After Effects.

Dean Sensui -- Hawaii Goes Fishing


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