When/How do you archive raw footage after a project is done?

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums General Video and Film Discussion When/How do you archive raw footage after a project is done?

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    • #72000925

      When I first started shooting video everything was lower-res and simpler. I wasn’t trying such fancy editing and using so many tracks in my editor timelines, and my videos were shorter, etc. So a 3 minute video might be based on 1 or 2 GB of raw footage, so I could archive one or even two complete projects on a DVD, and I’ve got optical discs that are 20 years old and still perfectly readable.

      But nowadays my projects are bigger and more complicated. I shoot a lot more footage, at higher resolution, I do fancier editing with it, and the videos I make are longer. The result is that I might make a 6 or 7 minute video but use 50 or 60GB of raw footage to do it.

      So I’m trying to decide, once a project is finished, do I need to archive all my raw footage, and if so, how? What do most people here do? Also, N.B., by “archive” I don’t mean “back up”. I’m talking about long-term storage incase I or my heirs want to access it decades from now. Is “archive” even a meaningful concept in the digital age?

    • #72000944

      How many videos do you do a year? I save my video folders on a 500GB portable pocket USB drive. That would allow you to save about 70 videos’ raw footage. Doubt if anyone will want or ever see my raw footage. My finished videos are on Youtube.

    • #72000947

      BetaMax, VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS, Hi-8, Laser Disc, etc. If you had used any of these media to archive data you would be out of luck now. Few or no players, failure over time of the medium itself. How long will DVDs or CDs last? When will a natural disaster or irate hacker wipe out the Cloud? No one knows.

      All graphic media are prone to failure too: paint flakes off canvas; dyes in film are fugitive, video tape deteriorates over time; discs delaminate and fail. Hard drives and memory cards fail as well.

      The current wisdom seems to be to archive to the medium de jour and upload to the next medium that comes along. This protects the data and insures that you can play it when desired. We once believed that DVDs were the “forever” medium until computers without DVD players began to appear. I suspect that ten years from now the DVD will be as obsolete as VHS tapes.

      My choice for archival storage is the 500gb hard drive. Should it fail I won’t loose too much data. I take my drives off the shelf at least once a year and give them a brief workout. Hopefully this will keep them in good shape for a while.

    • #72000950

      I too have multiple external drives – the WD book type in my case, and I dump the project files onto two – done at random – so each drive probably has two, or three projects on them, and I don’t spin them up. IO probably should, but I don’t.

    • #72002298

      I don’t feel anyone ever thought DVDs where the “forever” medium. Especially if you burned it your self. A laser burns pits in the dye of the recordable area of the disc which will fail over time. As for everyone recommending hard drives. Those fail as well. There are magnetic in the drive that if they are not spun up frequently will stop working. I think hard drives are the cheapest option for “long-term” back up but you can’t count on them. Options like LTO tapes are rated to last longer and are safer to back up to. The problem is the LTO reader isn’t cheap. But a tape that can hold 2.5TB for $30 is cheap. And like all options, this one won’t last forever either. But will last longer and is more reliable. Depends on how important your files are. Best of luck.

    • #72002658

      Thanks Stephen, but I wasn’t really asking for a summary of what my options are; I’m really asking what other filmmakers here do in practice. Many people in the VideoMaker community are professionals or serious amateurs and students who have big filmmaking projects, and not just cute cat videos or family vacation reels for YouTube. They’ve put a lot of work and money into their project and they may want to save the raw material for archive or future use so I’m asking what serious filmmakers here do in practice.

      I got a couple of answers but I’d like to receive more, so thanks in advance.

    • #72002682

      For me, I’m a full-time professional who owns my own Utah Video Production company. Take a look and decided for your self what category I fit in. No cat videos on my webpage I promise πŸ™‚ When enough projects are finished to equal 2.2 TB of space we back them up to a LTO-7 tape. I back up 2 tapes. One that we keep at the office and another at an off-site location. I then remove it from our server / Raid to make room for future projects. If a client wants to return to the project we charge a fee to retrieve the files from an LTO tape and relink everything and we are back in business. The tapes are rated to last for 30 + years and so far so good. Hope this helps and best of luck.

    • #72007134

      Has anyone considered a cold storage solution like Amazon Web Services (AWS) Glacier?

    • #72007135

      I think clouds base storge is great. For me, my Utah Video Production company probably uses 20-30TB a year. So backing all of it up in the cloud will become pricey. With Dropbox or Amazon, you are going to be looking at over $20 per month. Times 12 months. The good news is the price of cloud storage seems to drop every year. For as much as people complain the LTO tapes are actually very fast for retrieving old project files. But if you have an amazing internet connection maybe that isn’t an issue either.

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