There are two types of filmmakers in this world – those who’ve had a hard drive crash, and those who will. This article will help you understand how to back up your data and limit your risk of losing those precious files.
It’s true, with all the latest technology such as digital film cameras, non-linear workstations, software and apps, more than ever filmmakers are putting the trust of their entire film on portable hard drive.
Backblaze.com did a Three-year, 42,000+ hard drive study of all major brands of consumer-grade hard drives, the results are scary.
The worst performing drive was a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 which had a 31.68% failure rate. Wow! That’s almost 1 in 3 drives. I strongly suggest you bookmark this page and refer to it when you go to purchase a hard drive. I also suggest you cross reference all your current hard drive and make sure you back up your data that are on any questionable drives.
So the best way to protect your files and back up your data?
- Don’t buy cheap hard drives – As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for!” and that is so true with the hard drives you use for storage or backup. Don’t place your trust in a $50 hard drive. Buy the best hard drive you can afford and do the research on the drives prior to purchasing. I can’t tell you how many external hard drives in the past that I owned that go bad because they have cheap firewire jacks. Thankfully, I have been able to open the case and salvage the drive and my footage.
- Create Multiple Back-Ups – Redundancy is key. I’ve heard too many stories of people who don’t have an additional back-up copy of their project. The project drive crashes, losing months of hard work or even completely losing the files all together. This mistake could cost complete disaster, if you didn’t create a backup on a regular basis.
- Offsite Location – Along with creating multiple back-ups, always keeping a back up of all your critical files in another location to protect against fires, flood and theft. The price of cloud storage options is starting to decline, making them an affordable off-site back-up strategy.
- Automate Your Back-Ups – There is a lot of great software that can handle this process for you. Even Apple’s Time Machine has saved my butt when I accidentally deleted a file.
- Verify the Back-Up – Once the files are backed up make sure you compare the files manually or there are programs that will automatically check the files for you. This is an important step that you don’t want to skip especially when you are transferring master files such as clips from your camera.
- Handle Hard Drives with Care – They may seem indestructible, but they are not! You should try to limit transporting external hard around as much as possible unless they are designed to be portable. The standard wear and tear from just transporting an off-the-shelf external hard drive between home and your office can shorten their lifespan. It also goes without saying you should never throw them around or move them while they are still spinning. Let the hard drive completely power down and stop before moving it.
- Stay Organized – One way to make sure your critical files get backed up easily is to get organized. This will help to simplify the backup process, by preventing clutter with files and folders. Organizing files in folders will make it easier for you to know where your current work files are. It is important to stay consistent, no matter what your system is. It is also a good habit to create subfolders for projects, clients, dates or whatever else helps to keep you organized. But, don’t over do it, by creating deep folders that you can’t access quickly. Also try not to create too many achieved or duplicate files that can make it hard to find what it is you are looking for.
Your data is the most important thing on your computer. Having a backup plan in place before anything goes wrong is one of the most important steps you can take to protect these sensitive files. Luckily, this process has never been easier. Feel free to post your suggest, comment or horror stories below.