Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer and musician Chris Hershman is constantly trying to perfect ways of protecting and storing images and footage for his clients. [LaCie Promotion]
When you’re in the creative field and producing content for clients, you might figure hours, equipment, and travel into their bill, but one often-overlooked expense is quality storage for your footage. Think about it from the client’s perspective””the footage you capture is the foundation of the entire project. In short, it’s worth a lot. That’s a lesson I’ve learned many times over, so I’m constantly trying to perfect my methods for protecting that valuable data.
Let’s say you have a client who wants to film on high-end cinema cameras or in a high resolution such as 4K. If you’re shooting the entire day, you can end up with hundreds of gigabytes or more of data needing to be backed up. The question is, who is paying for that storage? And who hangs on to that storage? Here are a few pro tips that will prevent you from losing your mind – and your footage.
BILL IT: Before you shoot, bill your client for storage. Ideally you should have three redundant backups, or copies, of your footage (personally, I use LaCie Rugged ® Thunderboltâ„¢ USB 3.0 drives). This is essential because that footage could be worth the entire cost of, if not more than, the shoot itself.
SEPARATE ‘EM: These three drives need to leave the set separately, or at least one of the three should go with another member of the production team. Reason being, if there’s a fire in your hotel room while you’re downstairs getting your free vegemite toast for breakfast, then you’re out of luck if all three drives are up there melting together!
CENTRALIZE: As a traveling filmmaker and photographer, for a long time I primarily relied on the portable LaCie Rugged drives that I mentioned earlier. The system worked perfectly – until my workload really took off and I found myself hauling around six to eight of them everywhere I went. Once I’d get home, those orange drives scattered around my office looked like a hard drive confetti explosion.
That’s when LaCie asked me a very simple question. “Have you ever thought of just putting all your footage from your portable drives into one centralized place?” That was my introduction to the LaCie 6big – a 6-bay desktop drive with 60TB of storage and crazy-fast speeds for editing 4K RAW video. Instant game changer.
Of course, the last thing you want is to have all this important footage on one drive, because if that drive goes down you’ll need to send it off to be repaired and have your data recovered””or, you’ll lose all your data and have to buy a brand new drive. All of that could take days or weeks, cost a ton of money, and frankly, end in disaster. Who wants to deal with that? Not you, and certainly not me. With the 6big, I can configure it for RAID, meaning if one drive fails, all I do is remove that drive and slide in a new one. The system then reconfigures itself, and I’m back in action.
The lesson is””work smarter, not harder. Make things easier on yourself by being proactive with your workflow.
And remember, take three portable drives on set, never let them leave together, and find yourself some fast, high-capacity RAID desktop storage to use at home or in the office.
Chris Hershman is a Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer and musician. At a young age he began photographing bands throughout the Midwest, with his work evolving into video capture. Chris draws inspiration from live music and the raw talent around him. He has filmed for the Chicago Music Exchange, and captured bands such as the Alabama Shakes, SABA, Switchfoot, Betty Who, Rita Ora, Colony House, NEEDTOBREATHE and many other artists. His work has been featured on Rollingstones.com and at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony. Chris is an Urban cowboy with a love of denim and vintage motorcycles who captures life the way he sees it.