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DVD or Flash Drive?

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Patrick CallahanDVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 4:56:27 pm

I have an event coming up and several customers have requested USB/Flash Drives instead of a DVD for final delivery.

I'm happy to provide a USB drive, but the cost difference is significant. Of course they want it at the same price as a DVD.

Am I missing something?


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Todd TerryRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 5:16:47 pm

I don't know that you are missing anything, other than that is more of less the way things have moved (at least in my experience).

Any content that we produce that is for a live event (playback on big screens etc.) is these days invariably delivered on flash drives. I can't even remember the last time we delivered files on DVD or Blu-ray data discs.

You just never know exactly what kind of devices/computers/servers are going to be used as playback sources at an event... and these days a USB/flash drive is pretty much going to be a universally-accepted source, whereas an optical disc might not. I know we've delivered files in the past to events where their playback systems did not have optical drives at all.

At any rate, in the distant distant past when we have delivered files on discs, I always implore their AV people to NOT play from the disc at the live event, but to ALWAYS import those files and play them from their computers. The smarter and more pro crews know that of course, but I've seen some do-it-yourselfers who did not. Of course you should do that with flash-drive based files, too... but it's even more important for disc-based files.

I greatly prefer delivering files on thumb drives... it's easier and faster than burning a disc, and the cost difference is negligible... a couple of bucks vs. 50$. Yeah the cost percentage difference is high, but no doubt it is a tiny fraction of a hundredth of a percent of the whole project's budget... insignificant.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 5:24:40 pm

I'm curious; do you find you have to first re-format these blank drives in EXFAT, so they are immediately readable in both PC and mac platforms? Or is it an issue?

The few times I've had to do this on a one-unit-at-a-time basis, it was always touch-and-go, whether the brand and model of thumb drive was readable right out of the box, or had to be reformatted first.


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Nick GriffinRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 5:42:54 pm

I have to agree with Todd. The days of people wanting anything on a non-data DVD, especially a chapterized DVD, which takes some time and effort to create, seem to be rapidly drawing to a close.

Just a few weeks ago I asked the marketing manager at a client company if they wanted, the 7 short videos we'd done for their website, as a DVD. I was greeted with a quizzical look of, "Why would we want THAT?" Then her question back, "Can't you just give them to us on a jump drive?"

The thing I've gotten the best response on in the past couple of years is asking if they want their video distilled into a format playable on their iPads. That's a hit as I point out that in a sales call it is much easier and less awkward to hand a customer an iPad than it is to hold open a laptop for them.


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Rich RubaschRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 8:52:57 pm

We Pre-Format all our USB drives to ExFat to be cross compatible with large files.

Has worked flawlessly so far.

Same thing on portable USB3 or Firewire drives.

Only our 3.5" backup bare drives get formatted Mac.

Rich

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Todd TerryRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 8:58:04 pm

Yeah Mark, I'm with Rich, we always reformat drives. I do that anyway any time I buy a flash drive, they invariably come with one or more files on them already (usually some kind of useless "backup" software) that I don't want/need, so we wipe 'em as soon as we buy them.

You can do it as a "quick format" though, and it works just fine. Takes about five seconds, instead of several minutes. Since it's a new drive you don't need a deep re-format.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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John BeechRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Feb 3, 2015 at 12:56:58 pm

Distilled into a format playable on their iPad . . . to show how far behind the times I am, 'this' caught my attention. A little more on the subject would be appreciated. Also, does it have to be loaded through iTunes, or can it be placed directly on iPhone/iPad through the local WiFi from the NAS?


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Patrick CallahanRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 9:20:11 pm

Does anyone have experience delivering anything other than DVD's at events, such as school concerts or community theatre?

A stack of inkjet printable DVD-R's will run appx $25 US, while the USB Flash Drive quotes are much higher for the same number.

Thanks again for your input & insight. pMc


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Todd TerryRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 10:01:40 pm

I think that for events like that, say a dance recital where 30 moms can't live without a video, then yes... standard-definition regular ol' DVDs are still the norm. That will probably start changing though, if it hasn't already.

I don't think you'll find flash drives for anywhere near the 50 cent price of a DVD blank, BUT I'm pretty confident you can find them for much less than the ones on the counter rack at Staples, if you buy them in bulk.

Since we are talking about live events here, I thought I'd take the opportunity to rant about one of my pet peeves (and I never miss an opportunity to rant)...

We don't have tons of experience with live events, as our primary specialty is producing things for broadcast television. But probably four or five times a year we do produce something specifically for a big-screen presentation, usually an event or convention or something.

About half of these clients do it right... they hire an AV company that knows what they are doing, and they handle the projection and switching and playback flawlessly.

The other half, well they tend to fall into either the "cheap" or DIY crowd. When we ask the question "How are you going to play this file?" the answer is invariably, "Oh... ummm... I guess I will just play it off my laptop." GRRRRR usually followed by "They can hook into that, right?"

I know of at least a couple of events where we produced stuff and our content was great, but beforehand the audiences also got to enjoy multiple 15-foot screens featuring a Windows desktop image and a cursor poking around looking for a file to play.

Sigh.... people.

In fact we just produced a video for an event tomorrow, a fairly big-budget production, black-tie event, sold-out municipal shindig for a neighboring city, tons of dignitaries, expensive venue... and the video is being played out of the mayor's laptop ("I'll have to remember to bring that"). This is the point where I pantomime washing my hands in the air.

Every time we see these events produced poorly we toy with the idea of getting into the biz of handling the physicalities of event AV work, too. But I don't think it's a high-dollar or high-volume business (especially when considering the equipment investment needed)... plus the vast majority of them tend to be on nights and/or weekends, and that's the time that I'm doing important not-being-at-work-right-now.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark SuszkoRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 10:54:33 pm

I don't think you'll find flash drives for anywhere near the 50 cent price of a DVD blank...


You didn't hear about disposable paper thumb drives?

http://www.wired.com/2009/07/origami-storage-folding-paper-usb-stick/

http://www.spokanejournal.com/local-news/powering-up-folded-paper/

https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=A0LEVjtcucpUcWAAlw8nnIlQ;_...



I really love this idea, myself. But I'm not seeing it widely adopted yet.


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Todd TerryRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 29, 2015 at 11:12:54 pm

I was curious enough about pricing to briefly check it out...

Just from some very very quick research (Googling and a quick eBay search), looks like you can get smaller (8GB) USB drives in bulk (say, lots of 100) that average around $3.50 each... down to as low as maybe $2.50 each or so for some very cheap-looking Chinese-made ones.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 30, 2015 at 9:53:20 am

Hey Patrick,

Yep, as most modern note-books and others comes without the DVD drive, USB drive is the next best thing (or better). If you are producing large enough quantities they can come down in price. Although, if it is only a few individuals for their presentations, then the cost won't be much more than what one would have charged for a Digital Betacam tape - add it to the final bill (Do ensure that they give you the correct media-file requirements).

However, there are a third way - depending on how adventurous you and the client is. Either use a cloud service such as Hightail (formerly yousendit) for distributing link to files. You can password the links + put a tracker on downloads to tell you when and who is downloading the files.

Or if there are no local wifi at location, bring your own NAS with wifi - but that has all the potential of ending up as a real disaster, if everybody in the room are computer illiterate :-)

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Nick GriffinRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 30, 2015 at 6:30:17 pm

Any opinions on which brand(s) of jump/stick/USB drives are the most reliable?

We've been using, what I assume to be, the high end Lexar drives and yes, re-formatting them before using them.

We've also seen failures with, again what I assume to be, the cheap drives that are used as give-aways at trade shows.

So, in the opinions of this esteemed group any brands you recommend for and/or against?


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grinner hesterRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Jan 31, 2015 at 8:07:34 pm

Yes. They part where you explain to them the price difference. :)



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Leah ChapmanRe: DVD or Flash Drive?
by on Feb 3, 2015 at 3:29:34 pm

There's another factor to consider when comparing the cost between DVDs and USBs: time.

For playable DVDs, you need to export it, author it, write the DVD, print the DVD, check the DVD, etc. As fast as we are as a shop, we can't do all that in under 30 minutes. Sometimes it takes an hour. Even data DVDs require time to build and time to print.

For USB drives, we have a standard "ReadMe.txt" file with instructions. We just load that and the videos onto the drive, and the whole thing can be done in 5 minutes.

So for us, the capital outlay is greater for USB drives, but we save considerably on man-hours. Totally worth it.

Leah Chapman
fivespotmedia.com


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