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Back It Up!!!

Published by Katy Henthorne on

Hard drive

Tip of the week:  Back It Up!!

We are doing it.  We are dedicating an entire blog to the topic of backing up footage. One of the best features of digital media is the ease of a simple back-up. When that producer walks away with the footage – that desperate call for a back-up copy may not be far away. Here are some real examples of what has gone wrong by Industry Pros…and why we require Crew Company freelance crews to hold on to a back-up for 30 days:

  • Producer’s car broken into. All cards from shoot stolen – along with laptop + hard drive. (Along with the footage of a major archeological find being discovered…)
  • Corrupt hard drive, all footage non-retrievable.
  • Files didn’t transfer correctly.
  • Back-up record drive wasn’t set to correct specs, client ends up with wrong format, creating a post-nightmare.
  • Tape format camera was used but sent to external record device – which recorded time-code on the image (irreversible issue). Camera was not dual recording to tape – footage had to be blown up to crop-out burned in time-code. (Since many people are still using tape or disc cameras, and recording to an external drive, it is a smart idea to still record to disc or tape, and use that as your back-up.)
  • Airport Security’s X-Ray destroyed footage. Ha, just kidding...remember when THAT was the biggest worry by clients with what could happen to their tapes being carried back?? Don’t worry – your hard drives are safe!

These examples were all unique, and rare – but the question remains – who is risking it? WHY would anyone risk it?  There are always those who believe “Nope, that would never happen to me – I know what I am doing, it is a waste of time.” As my mother would always say when I declared something I felt was certain, “Those will be your famous last words.”

Gone are the days of handing a producer their tapes at the end of the day and wishing them well in edit. There is more accountability and responsibility on the field crew now. The client expects that there will be a copy, or even original cards to work from if the worst happens. Keeping original footage on cards is a costly venture, but having a hard drive on a shelf with each shoot labeled for quick retrieval is not only a professional courtesy – it is almost assumed.

Think of it as another cost of doing business – and staying in business. Even the best shoots will have a devastating end if that “shot of a lifetime” ends up with a file error message, on the only known copy. When you walk away from a great shoot day, you want to have the confidence in knowing that when the producer sits down in post, all of the glory of that day’s shoot will still be there – and if it isn’t, then a quick call will make it alright.

You can scroll through some of the most popular and dependable drives we recommend: (and there are so many more…)




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