Seeking Best Practices in Backing Up My Video Content

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    • #72866

      I have a fairly unique position at a charter school in Washington, DC: I work full time at the school filming teachers in classrooms to cultivate an archive best practices in teaching. 


      I am quite amateur in the field of videomaking, flying by the seat of my pants every day, and am now seeking out some best practices myself. One thing that I struggle with is backing up my videos as I have a lot of content stored up at this point. I tend to record anywhere from 1.5 to 4 hours of video a day on my Sony HDR-CX580V. The quality on which I record is "Long Time" HD mode (the lowest HD quality setting): 1440 X 1080/60i quality, AVC HD 5M (not quite sure what all of this means). All of this content is recorded on a 64GB Sony SD card.


      Once I've finished recording, I then export the video file (from the compressed AVCHD format on the HD card) onto my 3TB Buffalo Ulta Fast Drive Station (which I have been super satisfied with). I export the file in 720p to maintain the HD content and not take up  I do not store any of my videos on my laptop because I am using a Mac Book Air (clearly not the best computer for video editing but this is what we have the budget for). I also upload all of this content onto our Vimeo PRO account. 


      When I first began this position, I was given the following words of advice regarding backup:

      "A video does not exist unless it exists in 3 places."



      Every time that one of 64GB SD cards fills up, I buy a new one. This allows me to preserve the raw 1080p content should I need it in the future (for my purposes 720p is fine) and follow this rule of storing my content in 3 places: SD card, external hard drive, and Vimeo.




      All of my SD cards are about full and I have 5 on hand now. It is getting fairly expensive to continue buying SD cards and I am wondering if I REALLY need to maintain this "all content exists in 3 places" rule. If you video experts think that this process is right on or excessive, please let me know. If you have any further advice about this process, I am VERY open to feedback and suggestions.


      Thanks so much!


    • #209766

      We don't know exactly how you're treating (editing/distributing) your product and you're still starting your process.


      I would recommend you edit your material for unproductive time.  You could then delete what isn't pertinent. 


      You might also only back up your finished products.


      High definition probably isn't a priority, since your product doesn't require it.  I admit, it is nice to have crisp video though.


      Just a few thoughts, good luck!

    • #209767

      From a best practices point of view you want a copy off site. Loading on Vimeo has done that. You keep your on site backup on memory cards – which is ok but the jury is still out on how failure proof SD cards are. Disc drives aren't fool proof either but in some RAID configurations you have some fault tolerance.


      For my business I keep and archive drive attached to my computer where I back up daily. Monthly I exchange that for a drive in my safety deposit box at the bank. I also have all that data on a RAID 5 home server (QNAP 469L).

    • #209781

      Best practice:

      – While recoding save also to an external drive (if you can with your cam) that way if your SD card goes bad you did not lose anything you did that day

      – Offsite Backup a must! (drive are cheep!)

      – I would also backup the native format from your camera that way you have an original…

      – Cloud Backup (I use Amazon S3 since they are very inexpensive)


      good luck



    • #209831


      Yesterday I signed up for Amazon AWS for the sole purpose of archiving my finished projects (my 3rd copy).  I'm still in the learning curve stage, reading the guides, and it looks like Glacier is a lot cheaper than S3.  Do you have any personal experience to recommend which one I should use?


      From the FAQ:

      How should I choose between Amazon Glacier and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)?

      Amazon S3 is a durable, secure, simple, and fast storage service designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Use Amazon S3 if you need low latency or frequent access to your data. Use Amazon Glacier if low storage cost is paramount, your data is rarely retrieved, and data retrieval times of several hours are acceptable.


    • #209853

      There are online services you can backup your files to, but I'm not referring to the services such as Carbonite or similar. It can take literally months to backup several gigabytes of video files.


      You can use Google Drive, which is free and gives you 15GB for free. Microsoft has their free SkyDrive, Dropbox has a free 5GB storage and Box has free 10GB (I think). Portable hard drives are often on sale, and come in 1, 2, or more terrabyte sizes. If you can, take one to work so it's not at home. Or maybe a relative will allow you to store the drive at their home and back up to it.


      I would avoid RAID configurations. The problem – if there's an error on the main drive, the same error will be copied to the backup drive. I have it happen, and it can be disasterous.


      I wouldn't use SD cards for storage. While I've not had one fail, I've heard a couple of horror stories of corrupted cards.

    • #211244

      Best practice: Local + Offsite (to cloud) backups are essential. Why not use a backup software with local and cloud backups capabilities to automate everything for you? Products like CloudBerry Lab ( and CloudBacko ( are specifically designed for such purpose. Not expensive at all. For backup locally, just buy a 4 – 5 bays NAS that would be enough to store all your raw unedited videos for several years. For backing up to cloud, Amazon S3 and Google Cloud Storage are both good and supported by the two software. It's only around $0.03 per GB per month. Not too expensive. If you like to save some spending, maybe just backup those edited ones. Just my two cents.

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