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Secure storage solution on a travelling documentary shooting
  • Early 2014 I will be shooting a documentary and travelling in Central America for about 2-3 months. I have two 2TB Western Digital USB 3.0 External hard drives, for storage and backing up copy on the go. But I was thinking, that after lets say 1 week, I will have so much important footage that it would be a desaster to loose any of it. Literally anything could happen in these countries.

    I can see 3 options:

    1. Having somewhere in the region a central backup point, where I would take the footage and back it up every 1-2 weeks. But that will cost me a lot of money and time.
    2. Uploading somewhere in the cloud... The problem is, that the internet is very basic over there and also I don't know if its possible to upload this amount of data to any cloud-provider, lets say anywhere between 30-50 GB per day average.
    3. Hoping that nothing would happen and hiding always one of the hard drives far away from the other... Very risky. Anybody has some ideas?
  • 16 Replies sorted by
  • Use SpiderOak or Amazon or other cloud solutions and find best local internet.

    You can also use HDDs and have data on three disks. Keeping one with yourself, second leave in the bank storage were you had been last week and last one mail home.

  • I like 3 options idea of Vitaliy. Sounds like the project is too important to take chances.

    If you mail home backup copy, perhaps someone at home can email you to confirm they received backup drive.

  • Google Drive?

  • @matt_gh2 I think the files are far too big to email a backup copy home. Thats impossible.

  • I think file size can be up to 10G each with total storage at some higher number.

  • @matt_gh2 @Vitaly_Kiselev If I would upload my footage on a daily base I could probably make it...Upload to some cloud storage or send it with "we transfer" to a secure contact. But, to send a normal folder of GH2/3 footage (DCIM, MISC, PRIVATE as we have to copy all of them) I will have to compress it and send the zip. Would that damage in any termes the video quality? What do you suggest?

  • But, to send a normal folder of GH2/3 footage (DCIM, MISC, PRIVATE as we have to copy all of them) I will have to compress it and send the zip. Would that damage in any termes the video quality? What do you suggest?

    I suggest to make small batch file that will transcode daily footage using two pass encoding.

    Otherwise, as I said, you can just use local banks/airports/storage places to store disks with encrypted content. In case of something goes wrong you get back. But if all is ok you'll leave them where they are without returning.

  • @Vitaly_Kiselev "I suggest to make small batch file that will transcode daily footage using two pass encoding." I don't understand what you mean by this... sorry.

    And the second solution with physically storing the hard drives behind, sounds very reasonable.

  • I don't understand what you mean by this... sorry.

    I mean to make small batch file that run x264 encoder to encode your footage to lower bitrate, but with good parameters and doing it slowly so you won't be loosing anything.

  • Also I am afraid that the uploading conditions through the internet in these countries will be quite "miscellaneous".

  • @Vitaly_Kiselev OK, I got it now. Thanks

  • Available time will create more restrictions for you. When I travelled across the country shooting a doc, I backed up on two drives (both in rubber anti-shock casings then in bubble wrap). One I kept on me with my gear, the other was in a 'secret' compartment in the car. By secret, I mean stuffed between two seats in the back where you couldn't see or easily access. We were on the move everyday, only stopping for maybe 8 hours max to sleep- not enough time to transcode and upload the 10+ hours of footage shot that day to any cloud service. I suppose if I got robbed for all my gear and the vehicle got stolen at the same time, I would have been in trouble, but there isn't an option that is absolutely fool-proof. When I was shooting a couple of docs in Kenya we almost lost everything before it even started because the airport decided to just leave all our film gear out in the public main lobby (before security) for almost two full days before we arrived. I have NO idea how it didn't get stolen. I mean, it was Nairobbery. Literally 30 minutes outside of the airport we almost got car-jacked and the producer had his bag and passport ripped right off his lap in the car. Sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not.

  • "I have NO idea how it didn't get stolen. I mean, it was Nairobbery."

    divine intervention? :-)

  • About mailing back the backed up footage to Europe by shipping services I thought, it will be more likely that a package with a beautiful external hard drive would disappear. So may be the solution is to send it on Micro SD 64GB (25$) together with a postcard in an envelope. Cheap and secure.

  • Update: I did the last mentioned solution. Postcards with an inserted 64GB micro sd inside an envelope (like a SIM card). It looked a bit Bond 007 like... (cauze of the pretty girls on the photos). More or less, once a week, depending how much we were shooting (GH2 using "cake" patch). All this from different countries in the Caribbean Region sending with normal postage, non certificated. All the postcards arrived to Europe. Perfect and cheap backup system :)) Obviously I had 3 other 2TB hard drives with me which also came back safely.