I often get asked about best practices for backing up data, whether it’s Canon RAW’s or Arri footage what are the best ways to make a copy (or copies) on set to give you peace of mind.
This week I’ll look at a few options listed below and talk about their relative merits and shortfalls. We don’t have time to go into great depth on each piece of software so I've included links for further information on each*
- Finder (let’s face it we are all on MAC)!
- Copy Verified
- Others listed below...
Apple Finder £ free
“I usually just drag a copy of my shoot to my external drive and let Apple’s Finder deal with it”
Well, that’s ok and will work a large percentage of the time, but there are times when it doesn’t.
One example below can be very annoying, sometimes only popping up when 90% through a huge backup!
- Error code -36 “The Finder can’t complete the operation because some data in “FileName” can’t be read or written. (Error code -36)”
How to resolve Error code -36
- Launch Terminal
- Type in: dot_clean /Path/To/Directory/With/Problem/
- When dot_clean is finished, attempt the file copy again and it should succeed with no error code
- For example, if copying ~/Documents/Prada_Shoot/ is the problematic directory, use:
- dot_clean ~/Documents/Prada_Shoot/
ChronoSync $49.99 Chronosync
Chronosync has long been a favourite with digital operators and is found on all JJ’s laptops and MacPro Towers. It has a simple interface that allows one copy to be made and a log to be viewed and saved after copy.
One nice feature is the scheduled back up feature, I used to run backups every 2mins on set, I'd set this up at the start of the day and no matter how much the photographer shot or processed I was always finished minutes after the shot wrapped.
- Bi Directional Synchronization - That means that if a file has been modified on either drive, that file will be updated on the other drive, regardless of which is your main, working drive and which is the backup. (be very careful if choosing this option)
- Create Bootable back-ups
- Manually include or exclude files using rules (allowing you to copy Raws only for example when jpegs have been shot alongside raws)
- Wakes computer from sleep to perform task
- Trial Sync and analyse functions make it a powerful option on set.
- You can also set email notifications of when copying is complete or if there are any issues.
Copy Verified £ free
This one is my favourite methods of backing up, it uses Terminal on the Mac to make up to 4x copies and provides checksums.
- After you have Googled it to find the download link, simply download and drop into your applications folder.
- Click on Copy Verified in your applications folder, this will launch Terminal (don’t worry you don’t need to type anything in Terminal)!
- Shortly after Terminal launches, you will see a pop-up ‘input’ window. (above left)
- Simply choose the input folder (you can just drag folder onto line 1) or click choose
- Then select the first destination folder (again you can drag a folder onto line 2) or click choose.
- Repeat for further backup options, for example to a client’s HD
- Type your name (optional in the Data Manager’s name field)
- Click OK…. Terminal will start to run and you should end up with this window: (below left)
- You then have the option to view the LOG file (below right)
Hedge £free or £79 for Premium Version Hedge
One of the best options for Videographers allowing multiple backup options of larger files that are super speedy (they claim their Fast Lane Engine is faster than Finder).
- Super quick backups to multiple locations (free version limited to two simultaneous locations)
- Verification - Superquick thanks to non-cryptographic hash algorithm! (40% faster than MD5)
- Premium version even faster Backup (2.5X faster)
- Premium version allows copies to NAS or RAID.
- Hedge Connect APP - allows you to monitor backups from your mobile (nobody wants to sit in the DIT truck) Connect App
- Other Apps such as CheckPoint - Verify without copying!
- Works with Apple Scripts - have Hedge automatically launch when media is inserted.
- Auto Source - Auto Destination - Hedge remembers drives, so when you plug in a drive it automatically remembers that drives copy destination.
Steve’s Tip - before making a backup of a particular shoot folder, arrange the contents of the folder by size - If you are shooting say CR2 files they should all be of a similar size, if one file is only a fraction of the normal size, this file will be corrupt. Good to know before making multiple copies and moving onto the next shot.
Other back up software to mention:
- Silverstack £starting $49 SilverStack
- Terminal £free - let’s leave this one…. Other than copy verified above
- Shotput Pro Shotput Pro 6 $129.00 A very powerful tool used by many DIT’s
- Carbon Copy Cloaner £31.75 Carbon Copy Cloaner - the industry standard for creating bootable backups.
- SuperDuper $49.99 SuperDuper -
- Data BackUp for Mac $35 Data Backup
- BackBlaze $5per month Backblaze
*JJ Media Group takes no responsibility for loss of data, this article is a brief outline of some of the options available - you should never use any of the above on set without prior testing.