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Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project

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Matt Tarpley
Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 4, 2018 at 6:56:28 pm

I am part of a team who has been shooting a racing documentary for the past year. Here is a quick summary of how I've organized and backed up our footage:
I am using a 4TB external drive for all of our media. For every event that we've shot, I dump the original numbered files to a folder on that drive called "Original files". Then I copy/paste those Original files to the same drive and rename them before importing them into Premiere Pro CC. Then I have a mirrored 10TB drive which backs up that 4TB external drive. We are nearing the end of our filming, but are getting close to filling up that 4TB drive with media. My idea is that I would like to move all of those Original numbered files off of that 4TB drive because are basically taking up 2x the space that we need.

My question is: should I just go in and copy/paste those "RAW files" from each event to a new external drive for safe keeping and then delete them from our working 4TB drive? If so, would the process be to copy/paste those folders and then delete them from that original drive and empty my trash?
I'm sorry if this is a very basic question. I'm a shooter and not seasoned in the file organization part of this work. I just don't want to make a catastrophic mistake.
Thanks for any advice!
Matt


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Joby Anthony Jr
Re: Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 5, 2018 at 4:25:08 pm

The plan sounds solid to me. Keeping a set of the camera card originals (in their original folder structure) somewhere to refer back to can be helpful for all kinds of reasons. What to do with them once the project is wrapped for the purposes of archiving is up for debate.

Renaming those files to something useful prior to the project getting underway (i.e., editing) should be fine, but doing so after things get started could wreak havoc. So now's the time to agree on a renaming and overall organization structure, and from there, stay consistent.

Some things to keep in mind. A mirrored RAID isn't a back-up in the truest sense. It'll keep you rolling when one of the drives flatlines (in most scenarios), but a true redundant back-up means you've got two 10 TB RAIDS, where one is an incremental of the other, such as every hour, 6 hours, night, week, etc. Whatever your risk tolerance is. My general encouragement is to always by harddrives in pairs.

That can be helpful for a variety of reasons, such as deleting something by accident, and needing to go back in time to get it back. A mirrored RAID will delete it in real-time and you can't get it back.

If the 10 TB RAID is just there to back up the 4TB drive, so that the 4TB is the editing disk, be sure to keep roughly 85% of free space on the 4TB drive. Pushing it past 85% will lend itself to slowdowns and possible file corruption.

And lastly, for the paranoid, none of these HDs sit in the same building at the same time for very long.

-- Joby.


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Matt Tarpley
Re: Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 6, 2018 at 7:59:54 pm

Thanks so much for your reply Joby, that is really helpful and I'm relieved to know that so far I've done what I need to do. Just to clarify, when you say that I should keep roughly 85% of free space on my 4TB media drive, do you mean that I shouldn't exceed 85%, or do you mean that I should leave 85% of that 4TB as free space? I'm assuming you mean to leave 15% of the drive free to avoid slowdowns and file corruption but want to be sure that I understand you. My plan from my original post is to remove the original (camera files) from that 4TB media drive and copy/paste them to a new drive which would clear up about 2TB of space putting me at about 50% usage on that 4TB media drive.

One more (probably stupid) question. After I copy/paste those original camera files from my drive to a new drive for safe keeping, , should I simply put those copied original files (on the 4TB drive) in the trash and empty the trash, or is there a step that I'm missing?
Thanks again, I REALLY appreciate your help!
Matt


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Joby Anthony Jr
Re: Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 6, 2018 at 8:13:44 pm

You're welcome--good to know it makes sense (made sense to me anyway--haha).

Yep--you got both correct. Fill up no more than 85% of the drive; keep at least 15% free. I believe this wisdom also applies to SSD drives, but maybe not as critical--they work a little differently than spinning media. Also, some will even argue for 20% free space.

And yeah, once your originals are secured on the second harddrive, and you're properly backed up everywhere. Drag to the trash, and empty. Poof--2 TBs recovered.

Also, after you copy/paste to a new drive, you should double-check that the copied 'to' is exactly the same file size as the copied 'from.' In other words, if the files in the new location aren't the exact same size, something's missing. I usually do this double-check at higher folder levels and only drill down when something's not right.

And for the paranoid, there are utilities out there that will do this file copy work for you, and do double/triple checks on files sizes along the way to make sure everything got to it's destination completely intact. Moving 2 TBs isn't trivial. Whether you look at third part solutions, or drag and drop on your own, consider incremental chunks at a time. That way if the system burps along the way (like power loss), you don't have start 2 TBs over.

Just a couple of hard lessons I've learned along the way . . .

-- Joby.


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Matt Tarpley
Re: Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 6, 2018 at 9:18:23 pm

Great! Thanks again Joby, you don't even know how much I appreciate the help here!
Take care - Matt


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Matt Tarpley
Re: Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 6, 2018 at 9:24:39 pm

Sorry Joby, one quick question related to external drives. Would this less expensive 4TB Lacie drive suffice for the drive where I'm moving these original camera files? It's just for safe keeping, so I'm assuming that I don't need to pay for a fast/higher quality drive, right?
https://www.amazon.com/LaCie-Porsche-Desktop-Photography-STEW4000400/dp/B01...

Thanks again!


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Joby Anthony Jr
Re: Moving files to make space on an external drive for a large documentary project
on Dec 6, 2018 at 9:31:31 pm

Correct. For storage, anything big enough of any speed is sufficient. Keep faster drives like RAIDS for editing. Also, for simple shelf storage, I’ll even go past the 85% rule.

— Joby.


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