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  #1  
Old 5 Mar 2010
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Question Media Backup Device [recommendations/experiences]

Following my thread of: SD Card - Slide style holder? I've had a re-think about this matter, and decided that SD media is far too expensive to buy in such large quantities.

As a reminder, I am going to be filming my trip down from London to South Africa in HD with a couple of cameras...

So now, I'm after something to back it all up on. Sure, I did originally think: "get a usb hard drive, and do it on the netbook" (which I must say, sounds easiest and most cost effective). However, I am terrified of losing such an amazing trip's footage at the mercy of so many variables to go wrong, the netbook could suffer all matter of problems from a broken screen, battery failure, theft, virus... you name it.. and without it backups and filming come to a halt.

I've seen all manner of toys that can do backup and seen all budgets and frankly as tight as my budget is, the footage is priceless so I'm somewhat flexible.

So far I've read up about:
Anyone used any of these toys? If so, tell me about them... was it good/bad? Recommendations??
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  #2  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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Without actually having looked at these links, these are HDs with integrated card reader, right? If your budget is tight don't buy a netbook and use internet cafes, etc.
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  #3  
Old 6 Mar 2010
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Hi there,
A few years ago I got something called a digimate off ebay for about 20 quid, its justa simple card reader that has a case which you can put a laptop hardrive in. Its pretty tough and ive dropped it quite a few times, you also have the option to use either large or small drives. It has a usb output for putting it onto any pc so reads like an external drive.
I had an older version which sadly was fat 32 so is no longer in use due to vista not liking fat 32. The newer ones come with a 2.5inch screen which actually lets you view the photos or film which it has stored and are not fat 32.
You can get them on ebay for about 60 quid[digimate 5] witha hardrive already installed swopping that out is a breeze, so you could use it for storage until you get to somewhere where u can do a backup, and send that home or just fedex the drive home after making a copy, then resuse the drive you copied it too when you know its safe. You could also just keep 2 units and use 1 as a backup incase 1 breaks or gets stolen.
For the price of some of these dedicated ones for photographers/vdeo makers ect you could get 1 of these plus several drives or even 2 seperate units if you dont like the ideas of opening them up[its 3 screws] and still save quite a bit. And those units linked above dont even have a view function.
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Old 7 Mar 2010
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just to add to the flash card vs HDD debate ... if your flash card fails, the data is typically unrecoverable. Its lost forever. If a hard drive fails, the data can usually be recovered. If a hard drive fails its usually the drive system or head that fails ... the data discs still contain the data. Its not cheap to recover them, but if the data is still there so you dont lose your fotos. If a flash card fails, the data is gone.

If you take a HDD make sure you get a USB powered one ... i.e. USB connection and USB power for the drive. They are much more compact than bulkier power systems, adapters, etc that are needed for non-USB powered systems.

I used a WD passport ... and a 6 quid protection case from ebay


Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
Following my thread of: SD Card - Slide style holder? I've had a re-think about this matter, and decided that SD media is far too expensive to buy in such large quantities.

As a reminder, I am going to be filming my trip down from London to South Africa in HD with a couple of cameras...

So now, I'm after something to back it all up on. Sure, I did originally think: "get a usb hard drive, and do it on the netbook" (which I must say, sounds easiest and most cost effective). However, I am terrified of losing such an amazing trip's footage at the mercy of so many variables to go wrong, the netbook could suffer all matter of problems from a broken screen, battery failure, theft, virus... you name it.. and without it backups and filming come to a halt.

I've seen all manner of toys that can do backup and seen all budgets and frankly as tight as my budget is, the footage is priceless so I'm somewhat flexible.

So far I've read up about:
Anyone used any of these toys? If so, tell me about them... was it good/bad? Recommendations??
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  #5  
Old 7 Mar 2010
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The simple/obvious answer is to use HD tape cameras.
For instance: Sony-HDR-HC7 or Canon HV30

More robust than any of yer digital stuff... IMPO of course

John
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  #6  
Old 7 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redboots View Post
The simple/obvious answer is to use HD tape cameras.
For instance: Sony-HDR-HC7 or Canon HV30

More robust than any of yer digital stuff... IMPO of course

John
Indeed. Finish one tape, stick it in a pannier, post it at the nearest convenience, replace for a few quid with a new one. The killer for me is the tape mechanism's noise being recorded with the audio on low/mid range cameras

It sounds like you have a few options:
1) Use tape
2) Copy from SD to hard disk (& compress?), replacing hard drive when full
3) Copy from SD to hard disk (& compress?), taking all the disk you anticipate you need with you beforehand.
4) Apply RAID to options 2 or 3. G-Technology - G-RAID mini - Portable High-Performance Dual-Drive Storage System

My call in your scenario would be option 4. But you may still need a laptop/netbook to compress the data decently before archiving.
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Old 7 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redboots View Post
The simple/obvious answer is to use HD tape cameras.
For instance: Sony-HDR-HC7 or Canon HV30

More robust than any of yer digital stuff... IMPO of course

John
Agreed! you can purchase older used equipment nearly anywhere, tape is easy to find and you have a physical hard copy of everything. I would definately go with miniDv.
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Old 7 Mar 2010
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I forgot to add the digimate is about the same size as the wd usb drives[a bit thicker but would still fit in a normal sized pocket] and is both rechargable through mains or USB
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  #9  
Old 7 Mar 2010
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Hey guys thanks for your great feedback! Alas, I have already got the camera equipment and I do already own a netbook so why get new kit.... right?

I do have a MiniDV camera I am thinking about taking. The quality is good and it's pretty small, however not rugged like the other two HD cameras I have.

Anyhow, the digimate sounds ideal, however, their website seems to be down and not many people seem to sell it (without a hard drive). So I'm wondering if they have gone out of business or something. Also asking my friends in photography, they have never heard of digimate.

Thanks for all your feedback once again, I'll let you all know what I decide.
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Old 8 Mar 2010
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We are going London - Cape Town and are using a Canon HF200 to film everything. So I can tell you exactly what we are doing.

Bought 2 x 32GB SanDisk Ultra II SDHC cards. We will record at 12Mbps, giving us 1.5MB/s of video footage. So a 32GB card will give store under 6 hours footage.

I bought 2 x 500GB USB powered external HDD's (Oyen was cheap, WD Passports are great!) for backing up the SD cards too. That means we can store about 197 hours of footage all up.

I have a basic USB SDHC card reader, which are very easy to pick up. Make sure it can actually do SDHC though... many can't.

So, long story short. We're backing up our SD card info onto the external HDD's through USB. Can use our laptop or an internet cafe.

Things to note:
- Don't backup while moving. Disk drives and movement DO NOT MIX.
- Can increase compression and film at 10Mbps or 7Mbps to drastically increase footage hours.
- External USB drives are tiny. A passport drive is literally the size of your passport, just a little fatter. Easy to hide to not get stolen.
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Old 9 Mar 2010
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kuntushi cool! When you guys setting off? We're doing almost the same route except recently changed the Europe side of things so we'll be coming round turkey, greece... etc.

I'll bear those things in mind. Thanks!
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  #12  
Old 9 Mar 2010
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My regrets about filming Africa....

Just a couple of observations.

I used miniDV on my trip and frankly it was fine at the time but annoys the hell out of me now [head noise while recording, tapehead VERY susceptible to dust ingress, tapes are bulky (got space in your panniers for 20+tapes? What a waste of time), Inability to easily trim footage in-camera to discard junk, sequential upload to computer increases time taken to make the films, footage is less accessible on tape when you're back in the 1st world]. I'll let you find out the pluses but they don't out weigh the minuses.

Smaller sized SD cards are cheap and force you to CHANGE them every now and again! If you lose footage on your trip it will almost certainly be because the CAMERA WAS STOLEN not because the card was damaged or lost. Either way, use more cards to spread the risk (although it does increase the chance of losing something - just not everything!].

As metioned - record at the highest quality you have available and shoot it all with the same settings (4:3, 16:9, strangeratio:strangeratio etc.) Trust me when you get home you will be more fussed with finding a new job and any time you get to create your masterpiece will be a luxury that you shouldn't waste by making life difficult for yourself! My SD miniDV looks terrible compared to HD (as you'd expect).

Invest in sound equipment. Movies are MADE BY GOOD SOUND. Hoovering up the scenery with an HD camcorder will bore the viewer - take a lappelmike (a decent wired, simple one or make sure you test your camera for sound before you go so you know what you're doing!!!). TV without sound is generally boring, why should your movie be any different!

Film consistently over the journey to avoid annoying gaps in the footage you bring back. Just because the riding is hard, you feel shit, it's getting late etc etc.. make sure you take a few minutes of film everyday and don't be afraid to shoot diary sections twice. You'll feel an idiot at the time but my god it makes a difference to have at least one decent storyline from each day to choose from when you get home. Also, if you stop to take footage - THINK ABOUT IT. Pause, relax, steady the camera - it's better to focus on something meaningful and capture quality footage than to shake and pan the hell out of the view BECAUSE YOU COULDN'T BE BOTHERED TO TAKE YOUR TIME. I have hours of shakey, useless footage from my trip that even I feel embarassed to watch. Shakey/fast pan footage is useless (unless you're being chased and want to convey that to your public...for some reason).

Don't expect to do much encoding/compressing of video on a netbook etc.. They're too slow IMO and I've got better things to be doing on a trip. Don't expect to find an internet cafe that can handle either encoding/compressing or upload serious HD footage to the net. See the above point. I wouldn't compress my footage again anyway for the same reason that I wouldn't use miniDV again - it'll annoy you that either a) you lose detail from the footage and b) a better algorithm always comes along and makes you sorry. Shoot native and put up with the expense.

My vote is to buy middle of the range sd/microsd cards, lots of them, possibly a thin passport-style HD drive for backup and sort out the data when you get home. And a small cheap SD card camera to post stuff for your blog, or something.
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Old 9 Mar 2010
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Almost forgot. What you doing about filming on the move? Bikers love watching onbike footage of themselves, the more the better. Non-bikers get bored of it quickly. To capture decent onbike footage you end up recording a lot of footage that is only fit for the cuttingroom floor but then you end up wasting SD card space. Using your camcorder is fine occasionally, and allows you to edit the boring stuff, but it may end in tears and you're risking the quality footage for the rest of the trip if you break the camera in the meantime. You could also edit out good scene-setting footage because you think you won't use it. ContourHDs, GoProHDs, Stills-cameras in video mode all fit the bill but vary in expense, methods of attachment and ability to toggle recording on/off. You also often need proprietary chargers, adapters etc. More STUFF and more TIME spent tending to charging batteries.

I think it would be a shame not to have the option of including some onbike footage in a movie about travelling but it is a lot of hassle for what may turn out to be only 1% of your total final movie. If you can't easily turn it on to capture footage then chances are you won't.
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  #14  
Old 9 Mar 2010
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Arrow

You seem to value your data, so remember the golden rules of backup:

make more than one copy
keep the copies in different places
backup often
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Old 9 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neil View Post
kuntushi cool! When you guys setting off? We're doing almost the same route except recently changed the Europe side of things so we'll be coming round turkey, greece... etc.

I'll bear those things in mind. Thanks!
Yeah, it seems to be a pretty common route these days. We toyed with the idea of going through Turkey, etc, but decided to go the other way. Kinda wish we were going through Turkey and stuff now though.

We've already left too. The guys are somewhere in Southern France and just got the long range fuel tank installed. Should be in Tunisia in under a week. I'll meet them in Cairo.

Dan.
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