It’s long been held that switching a reel is quicker and easier than transferring footage from a solid state device to a computer, but things are looking up. Solid state devices are becoming easier to format, use and wipe, while more efficient compression means that you can shoot for longer.
However, the relatively high price of solid state storage means that you’ll still need to re-use your SxS or SDHC cards. Which means you’re going to need to convince directors who like to sleep with the dailies under their pillow that your file-based footage, stored digitally on a drive somewhere, is just as secure.
How do I do that?
The first step to soothing the nerves of panic-prone clients is ensuring your footage is stored securely. There are three kinds of storage: field storage (which you can empty your cards onto at the end of the day’s shooting), working storage (where you store footage while you’re editing) and archive storage(long-term storage for footage that you want to keep hold of but aren’t actually using).
Field storage: One of the best choices for field storage is the bus-powered LaCie Rugged. It’s only a single drive unit (so has no RAID performance) but it does have a drop resistance of two metres and is available with up to 1TB capacity or as a 500GB USB 3.0 option. The device is portable, durable and has a very low cost per card’s worth of storage – a 1TB Rugged works out at about 79p per card.
The only downside to using an external hard drive is that it means you have to take your laptop with you. If you’d rather not cart your kit around all day, you can opt for a mobile storage unit like the Sony PXU-MS240. This is a device designed specifically for storing footage in the field. It lets you transfer footage from your card up to ten ti mes faster than realtime, offers a truly massive amount of storage and even has a built-in screen so you can check the clip you’ve just transferred (although sadly it’s a bit pricier).
Working storage: We recommend the Sonnet Fusion DX800, which comes in at £1.85 per card but offers the added security of RAID 5 protection – something that will go a long way toward reassuring worried clients that their footage is safe.
Another good choice is the speedy G-Tech G-RAID, which offers portable storage with great transfer times, without you having to sacrifice RAID protection.
Archive storage:You have two options here: investing in a massive amount of RAID-protected storage, or whack it all on cheap offline storage such as Blu-ray or data DVD. A dual-sided Blu-ray can hold about six full 8GB SxS cards and, as long as it’s stored carefully, optical media should stay playable no matter how long you leave it for. Alternatively consider Sony’s PDW-U1, which uses archive grade professional discs. As it’s also part of the XDCAM family, so you can use this directly from the Sony XDCAM browser software.
And if I accidentally delete my work?
You’re in trouble. But there are solutions out there to help you avoid that. We recommend investing in Shotput Pro, a clever system that won’t let you delete a file until it’s held in at least three secure locations (these can be online drives or offline media). It’ll work with all the common codecs and file formats, and can move data from multiple cards to multiple locations at once. It’ll even monitor files byte-by-byte to verify that none of your copies are corrupt. Panic over!
Where do I get more information?
Our broadcast and post-production team. We’ll happily talk you through everything from colour-accurate monitors to asset management software like Final Cut Server. Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. To keep up with the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.
Next up: we demystify DDRs, and explain how you can create a file-based workflow using your existing camera.