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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rich Harrington: Hi, my name's Rich Harrington. Robert Carman: And I'm Robert Carman. Rich Harrington: And we are actually back talking all about data and organization. If you missed last week's episode, because you came to this. You're going to want to check that out. You had a lot of great insight, Rob. On infield workflow, right? Robert Carman: Yeah, we talked about things from, you know, like the basic card wallets, and ways of sort of securing your cards. Rich Harrington: Mirroring it in the camera. Robert Carman: Mirroring it in the camera with multiple memory card slots in the camera. We also talked about in-field devices like this guy from Nextel, which is sort of part hard drive, part computer, part card-reader.
Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: A sort of jack-of-all-trades for sort of securing your data in the field. And we ended last week talking about this idea of actually bringing the computer into the field, using it as a memory-card reader, if it has one built-in, or connecting a third-party memory-card reader, and connecting external drives to that. But this week Rich, now that we have everything kind of plugged in, and we know kind of where we're stand, we're really going to dive into the idea of, well, what's that work for? How do I copy something from the memory card to the, you know, the portable drive? And we're also going to talk about making our lives a little easier by automating that process, by using additional applications, such as Adobe Prelude, and ShotPut Pro.
To make that process of copying and backing up a little easier. Rich Harrington: Yeah, so there's a lot to this. Make sure you check out that earlier episode if you missed it. And if not, let's jump in and start to explore the workflow of getting your data redundant. And we talked about mirroring and other devices. So I'm going to mirror it on some drives. Either way, going off the cards. Going off of the next so device, I need to get a second copy of it. And to do that, I need to mount the card. Robert Carman: Okay. Rich Harrington: So, I'm just going to take a card, and pop that in, here we go, and I know that I need to transfer this.
Robert Carman: Uh-hm. Rich Harrington: Now I'm going to do two cards. I'm going to put one into the side of the machine here, which is a bit slower. Robert Carman: Now your MacPro, your MacbookPro here has a dedicated card reader built in. Rich Harrington: SD slot, but as we've said, it's significantly slower. And then I'm going to take this card and put in into the dedicated USB3 reader. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: Now that's actually okay. If I was really, let's say busy, but not in a rush? Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: Like I wanted to be able to start backing things up, but I was on set doing other things, I might end up using both slots. Robert Carman: Yeah. Rich Harrington: Or even hooking up multiple readers. Like you notice here, I have a dedicated hub, but it's not a normal hub.
Robert Carman: No. This is actually a USB3 hub, and a USB3 hub is definitely a piece of equipment that you want to get if your laptop supports USB3. USB3 is so much faster than USB2 transfer, or even FireWire 800 transfer. And the thing about it, is that your laptop only has a couple ports. So by using a dedicated USB3 hub, you could get a few of these, which are not very expensive. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: But you know, two or three of them on the hub, and guess what? You're plugging in multiple cards at the same time. Rich Harrington: And I want to point out here something that's important to think about.
You're all like, well, but there's all those cables. If you're going to be doing data management, you don't want to be running on battery. First off, plugging in external bus-powered drives, plugging in card readers, all that stuff? It's going to suck your cards down. Your battery is just going to go really quick. And Rob, what happens if I'm in the middle of a transfer, and the power goes out? Robert Carman: Well, if you're lucky, nothing, but Rich Harrington: If you're me? Robert Carman: If you're you? You'll probably have a corrupted card. You know, not be able to read some of the data on the card, and then you're kind of out of luck.
Rich Harrington: Yeah, and so, having that uninterrupted power. The battery power in the device will become your backup power if power got kicked. Maybe you're on set, and somebody trips over your cord. Stranger things have happened, of course. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: But that's going to give you that backup. You should still be running off of wall power. So I've got everything mounted, I've got the cards. I'm getting ready to transfer. I've got a couple of options. Now, you mentioned FireWire, old true standard for video, but I, I think the keyword there is actually old these days. Robert Carman: Yeah, it's not completely deprecated, but it's one of those things where you have other options.
USB3, now Thunderbolt are going to be quick. And the thing is, that if you have a lot of FireWire drives like I have, you just gotta be aware that a lot of manufacturers making laptops, both on the PC side. And with Apple on the Mac side, have actually decided to kill FireWire connections on the machine themselves, because they're big and you can't have super thin, sleek laptops. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: So you have a little adapter there on the Mac side of things that would make FireWire work. Rich Harrington: Yeah, this is a Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter, but the big thing is, is it only puts off enough juice to power the single-height drives, and a lot of the ones I use for video are rated drives.
Robert Carman: Yeah. Rich Harrington: Double height. So, all of a sudden I got these drives that didn't work. You know, I'm like, well, that's so frusterating, I made this investment. And then I went out and I started looking at the cost of USB3 drives, and I'm like you know, who cares. Robert Carman: Yeah. Totally. Totally. And I mean, the thing about, you know, USB3 drives is that they're so ubiquitous these days. You can go into your local you know, big-box electronics store, and. Rich Harrington: Office supply store. Robert Carman: Right, and get them for a couple hundred bucks, in capacities up to one, two, maybe even three terabytes now, with some of the full, full-sized ones. Rich Harrington: Yeah, and I like these, they're very reasonable.
I've got one mounted here. This particular one I'm using is from Western Digital. And it actually has some security software built into it. So whether I'm a Mac or a PC, when I go to launch that, I have to unlock the drive, and that could be an important issue. You know, if you're on set or you've got client data that you don't want getting lost and falling into other people's hands, having it password protected could be useful. Robert Carman: Yeah, so you got the drive mounted there, you got your cards mounted, and as you alluded to when we first started talking, the way, number one, that you could have this procedure work, is you could simply take your cards wholesale, and then copy it over to these storage devices.
Now you made a really interesting point when we first started talking as well, is that you could do this for redundancy, in the sense that you could plug in multiple hard drives, and make that same copy to multiple drives. Rich Harrington: Yeah. I've got two different drives here. I could do that. I want to point out a potential issue though. Notice the card is named after the camera. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: Well, you start getting multiple cards, you're going to have a problem. So I usually take the time to actually make a folder for that day of the shoot. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: You know, a music video shoot. Robert Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: And then within there, if I had three cameras on the shoot, I'd end up with, you know, camera one.
Robert Carman: Camera two, camera three, or A, B, C. Whatever you, however you want to do it. Rich Harrington: Yeah, pretty easy stuff. And then, if you're going to have multiple cards for that shoot, you're going to end up with multiple folders inside of that. And that becomes really important. Now do you have any other practical advice about setting this up? This is a really simplistic idea. Robert Carman: Yeah, I mean for each sort of particular situation, and for your own preference you can build a system. I, I tend to do things like, you know, camera one, location A, you know, card you know, one or whatever.
Rich Harrington: Right. Robert Carman: Whatever naming thing you want to get into. The important thing is not nesccarily the individual names of the folders and that kind of stuff, but that it's an orginzational tree that makes sense to you, and that you can repeat. Because one of the most annoying things is, if you organize things one way on one shoot, you organize things a different way on another shoot. That, six months from now, or a year from now, you need to go back to it. You have a hard time finding things. Rich Harrington: Well you say, it makes sense to you. I think it's even more important that it makes sense to other people. Robert Carman: Totally! Like editors and stuff like that. Absolutely. Rich Harrington: Yeah. because if you're going to hand this footage off to an editor, the last thing you want them doing is bad mouthing you to the client saying, oh they lost that footage.
I don't have that shot. Robert Carman: Right. Rich Harrington: Because you had five folders on the same drive called D5200. Robert Carman: Right. Rich Harrington: Or you overwrote one. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: So, a couple things, if I drag the card itself notice, oh, that's just making an alias. Robert Carman: Mh-hm, don't want to do that. Rich Harrington: Don't want to do that. Right. Like, oh, wow! That was a fast transfer speed. Robert Carman: Rich Harrington: Didn't actually transfer, it just made a shortcut. So, in this case, I have to hold down the Option key on a Mac. To do that on a Windows machine, you could use the copy and paste command. Robert Carman: Right, or you, or you. Rich Harrington: At OS level. Robert Carman: Could just open up the card like I do.
Maybe it's a little slower. Open up the card, do a Select All, and copy all the contents, as well. Rich Harrington: Yeah, so this one is coming off of the internal slot. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: About eight gigs taking about six minutes, not bad. Going to a USB3 drive. Fine, you know? Let's go over here to this other card that I've got. And it's in the USB3 reader. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: And I'm going to the same drive that I'm writing to. Let's just drag that into card two. It's also an eight gig card. Robert Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: And, let's do a comparison, right? Oh, look at that. Robert Carman: Quite a bit faster.
Rich Harrington: Yeah, about, yeah about double the speed, and keep in mind, I've already got one copy going to that drive, so I'm reading from two, buses sending to the same drive. If I was just going direct off of this, a single transfer, that'd probably be not just twice as fast, maybe three times faster. Robert Carman: Yeah, absolutely. And now I want to bring up one more point about the drives and this whole transfer process. Is that, you know? These drives are great, they're nice and compact. They're nice and portable. The problem that I have with them is that they're single drives. Most of the time, they're kind of laptop drives. Not enterprise level at all. Rich Harrington: Yeah.
Robert Carman: And as we know, bad things happen with hard drives all the time. I found two things that are kind of important. If your data is extremely critical, even though they're much more pricey, and don't have the capacity that mechanical drives do, SSDs are good options for portable in-the-field drives. They're faster, they're more secure in the sense of their their, their build quality, because they don't have any moving parts. Rich Harrington: Yeah, they could be, they're more rugged, if you're going to be dropping them. Not that you should be dropping them on purpose, but it happens. Robert Carman: Right, but it, it happens. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: But the other, the other thing I want to point out, too, Rich, is that these days the sort of redundancy protection and rate protection has gotten into very small form factors in the field.
Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: Now we have right here, connected your machine via Thunderbolt, a new little DroBro unit that provides actually what, there's four drives in there? Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: All in a, in DroBro's sort of proprietary rate scheme. But it gives you the secure feeling of having a redundant copy when you copy things back to the drive. Rich Harrington: Yeah, and that's what I've actually done here. Like, I'm able to take that, let me just select it, you see that I've got it mounted, this is my Drobo Mini attached. Robert Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: It's got Thunderbolt and USB3 on the same device. That's nice, because I could use it on a Mac or a PC.
Now, Thunderbolt is not a Mac-only technology. Robert Carman: Right. Rich Harrington: It's more common on Mac, but you are seeing that, like, HP laptops have Thunderbolt. But not desktops, right? Like, a lot of desktop computers, unless it's the all-in-one, which is really a laptop chipset. The towers? Thunderbolt hasn't made it there yet. Robert Carman: Right. Rich Harrington: I mean, it's getting frustrating. So it's good to have a USB3 connection so you can fall back on it. Robert Carman: Absolutely. Rich Harrington: So Rob, you mentioned, you know, redundancy. I've got four 750 Gig drives in here. Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: They're set up so I could have some failure.
Robert Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: So for example, if I go into the general settings here, I've got it set up so one of my drives could fail. Robert Carman: Okay. Rich Harrington: I could check this so two of the drives could fail. Half the drives could go bad with no data loss, and so it's automatically mirroring. And then the other thing that I like about this, besides the fast transfer speeds, I've got an accelerator card. Basically an SSD in there, so when I'm transferring, that initial transfer goes faster, because this sort of serves as a buffer so you don't get that bottleneck. Robert Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: And what's really cool, built-in battery.
So if you trip over the power cord, the unit won't instantly power off. Robert Carman: Oh, it's huge. Rich Harrington: It's got a short-term battery, so it could finish the transfer and not corrupt the clip. Robert Carman: That's huge, yeah. Rich Harrington: Yeah, so it, it's cool. And, you know, it's like well, another thing to plug in, yeah, but I was in the field the other day and I was just running. I had the laptop on battery. I'm like, wait a minute, I got a cigarette lighter in my trunk. I just plugged in one of those inverters. Jacked it in, and I was running this, and we transferred the whole day's shoot, standing in the parking lot. Two shooters, all the footage, it was like 15 minutes? Robert Carman: Absolutely that's what.
Rich Harrington: Had a cup of coffee, it was awesome. Robert Carman: That's very cool. Now, the one last thing I want to mention, Rich, is that, we'll talk about this in another episode, is that we've got a manual process here, of copying files from the memory card. Two drives, so we have, or we're done a backup. But also so we can bring this footage back to our studio and work with it and edit it. Now in another episode, we're going to talk about automating this process, right? Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robert Carman: There are applications out there that will help you sort of in one click, say, I want to copy to four different places. Go ahead, do that, verify it.
Oh, and by the way, when you're doing that copy, maybe transcode the footage. So, when we come back, we'll get into talking about this automated process, and how it can really enhance your workflow when you're out in the field. Rich Harrington: Alright.
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