7 Replies Latest reply: Oct 24, 2010 7:10 PM by revDAVE
revDAVE Level 2 Level 2 (260 points)
Hi all,

I'm curious, how do you store your Movie Masters? Let's say you filmed an important Family event from a camcorder with a hard drive. You imported the footage into you mac and edited it in iMovie or Final Cut Pro or other app.

Then what?

Do you make a DVD?
Do you save a DVD image file on the computer?
Do you export a .mov or other format file?
Do you delete the DV original files because they are so massive?
Do you save/delete the iMovie or FCP master original footage?
When do you delete the camcorder hard drive original (when you need the space)?
What other approaches do you do?


Which is the Master?

How do you back up your movie?

Thanks in advance for your opinions.

macbook pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • 1. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,340 points)
    Great question. I think the issue of backup is a important one, and one I always worry about since I have a lot of video footage that is irreplaceable.

    For back-up, it is helpful to define the risk you are trying to protect from.
    For example,
    1) risk of corruption in iMovie --> I might use Time Machine (but I do not because I have not had the issue)
    2) risk of hard drive failure --> I use SuperDuper! nightly
    3) Risk of theft or fire --> offsite backup

    Here is what I do...
    1) I back up my boot disk with SuperDuper automatically to alternate external partitions every other night so I always have two bootable systems. One is less than one day old, and one is less than two days old.
    2) I back up my original video files. For my Motion JPEG, VHS-->AIC, DV, and 8MM to DV, the EVENT is the copy I back up. For my AVCHD high def video, I back up the archive of the AVCHD, but I am not currently backing up the Event files, because I would need from 4 to 8 TB to back up these events depending on whether I made one copy or two.
    3) I use CrashPlan for my offsite backup. It costs less than $4 per month, and I seeded the initial backup to an external drive to minimize having to transfer video files over the Internet. I currently have 1.2TB of data backed up to CrashPlan, which includes my entire boot drive, and the files described in #2.
    4) All of the above is automated, so I don't have to think about it too much. If I have to manually do stuff, I tend to get behind.

    You have to consider the value of total multiple redundancy vs. the likelihood that 2 or three unlikely events would all happen at once. For example, CrashPlan could lose my data. My hard disk could fail. I could lose everything in a fire. But it is unlikely that they would all happen at once, except in nuclear war, in which case, who cares?

    I am considering adding Time Machine backup and some off-site backup of the Event files into the mix, but for now I am satisfied.
  • 2. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    Karsten Schlüter Level 7 Level 7 (29,885 points)
    do add my 5 €-cents ... :

    DV as on miniDV: my shoebox of old tapes + cam is stored in some closet ...

    I copy my HDef Cam's SDcards onto an ext HDD1, 'Main Morgue' (sorry, my kind of humor)

    when a HDef project is done, I export a mov, 720p (=this is my native recording format), h264, and ~5Mbit/s on another extHDD, 'Final Movies'.

    btw: my precious iPhoto and iTunes Libraries on another ext HDD .. and gets back-upped too ...-

    both HDDs are back-upped upon a not-so-regulary basis
    back-up drives are located outside my household (= water, fire no prob, global warming and EMPs perhaps...)

    iDVD Projects exist as a disk-image.img on extHDD1 ..

    => I do NOT save Projects (iMovie nor FinalCut/e), nor any 'intermediate'-files (Events) .. if I like to edit a 'finalized' project, I have to start from scrap. but that never happened before.
  • 3. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    revDAVE Level 2 Level 2 (260 points)
    Thanks to you both for the great detailed info - all good ideas.

    Keep in mind I'm somewhat of a newbie in the video world. Even though hard drive prices have come way down, video and HiDef video, still can get costly to back up - which is why I'm asking.

    I'm a bit unclear about the following scenario:

    - you film an event
    - do you then move to the HDD ALL content or just the 'good parts'?
    - do you therefore backup ALL the original source content or just the 'good parts'?

    later - after completing edits in iMovie or FCP it makes good sense to save a "Hi Quality Full Movie" as the 'master'.

    In the past, some friends of mine would just make a "master" dvd and toss all the source files (old high cost of drives was the main concern). Am I correct in assuming that now the "Hi Quality Full Movie" is the 'new master' since it's better quality than a dvd anyway?
  • 4. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    Karsten Schlüter Level 7 Level 7 (29,885 points)
    revDAVE wrote:
    ...
    - you film an event
    - do you then move to the HDD ALL content or just the 'good parts'?
    - do you therefore backup ALL the original source content or just the 'good parts'?


    First of all, I drag the SDcard to my 'Morgue' => raw data, no conversion, file structure intact, backup same size as card (content), 4 Gigs = 4GB on drive.

    in iM, I import all.. too lazy to do a pre-edit on import.
    when Project done, I export a HQ-Master.
    After a while, I erase Project and Events in iM, or keep a few clips for future use.

    in FC/e different: I Log & Transfer only material which has a chance to be used.
    when Project done, I export a HQ-Master.
    All cached material is trashed when Project done.

    ... Am I correct in assuming that now the "Hi Quality Full Movie" is the 'new master' since it's better quality than a dvd anyway?


    by far! DVD is highly compressed into a play-back codec. the process of re-conversion into something editable adds dramatic loss in quality! imho, you can re-edit such a HQ-master with no(t so much) noticeable loss ...-
  • 5. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,340 points)
    Karsten and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
    I keep all projects and events. I will re-use events to make other projects, and this is much easier if I do not have to reimport.
    Also, I keep projects. A great example of this is the HD projects I did with iMovie 08. The best I could do back then to share them online was to share to MobileMe at 960x540. With iMovie 11 it is quite simple to re-render these projects to YouTube at 1920x1080. I would never do this if I had to recreate the project from scratch. Projects are relatively tiny, so it does not cost much to keep. Like Karsten, I keep an archival copy of the SD card as well.

    For you, it really depends on how you will use the files in the future. Do you only need archives of the finished product, never to be edited again? Do you want the flexibility to use clips again in the future without a lot of fuss. (Example: Say you create a weekly movie. Now at the end of the year, you want to create a movie for "best of 2010". Or "Highlights of the last 5 years". This is really easy if you have your events. More trouble than its worth if you have to reload tapes, or import 5 years of footage.

    This is all a trade-off of convenience vs. cost.

    I suspect that professionals would use Karsten's method, because of the sheer volume of video that they deal with.

    For video I shoot myself, I do not discard anything. For video I capture off a TV show, for example, I will cut out the commercials and keep just what is interesting.
  • 6. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    Karsten Schlüter Level 7 Level 7 (29,885 points)
    AppleMan1958 wrote:
    Karsten and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum. ...


    .. but focus the same subject ... good movie (making).

    My Projects are:
    • son's soccer-games - therefor iM is perfect: film game, cut out the boring things, spice-up with a title, upload YT - done.
    This year, indeed, I consider making a 'Best Seasons Scenes' - had that idea 3 months ago, so last Events are still on firewire-drive2.

    • son's concerts ... no editing needed, just sharing with family & friends around the globe. when uploaded, the iNet never forgets => 'shoebox'. my son will inherit the drive with the raws.

    • +StarWars - The Adventures of Very Young Anakin+ ... my trailer announced 2010 ... changed my 3D-app to Blender , so will be Spring 2011 LOL
    this is a very elaborated project ... therefor, I try a professional 'attitude' for that ...

    but I don't have any 'collector's projects' which make a Library of Clips essentiell ...-
  • 7. Re: How Do You Store Your Movie Masters?
    revDAVE Level 2 Level 2 (260 points)
    Thanks to both once again for being so descriptive and helpful with this info. It does seem to make sense to let the project and focus determine how things will get stored. So if we need to reuse clips later for a 'best of' or whatever, then it's great to keep them stored - makes great sense!

    Thanks again for getting my head pointed in the right direction!