sigh... ok, can I get some camera suggestions?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Matt, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I'm currently shooting on a PD-170 but I want to upgrade to something in the
    HDish family. I was considering a Canon XL-H1 for my needs... mainly because
    the owner of the company is a bit of a pack-rat and always demads a back up
    of all footage shot no matter what, plus I still have a lot of mini-dv tapes
    laying around. For the most part I'm just shooting 30 second commercials so
    I figured that the "older" tape style of this camera really wouldn't hurt me
    too much, but every single sales person I talk to pretty much implies that I
    am an idiot for trying to go with this camera. I am at a point of where I
    need to purchase and I'm starting to wondering if I am really making a bad
    decision with this camera. Unfortunately I haven't done a lot of research
    into any other cameras after I chose the Canon but based on what everyone is
    telling me I'm thinking I really need to switch to a card based camera.
    After a quick glance I'm thinking about a Sony PMW-EX3, but that's a bit
    more expensive than the Canon so I thought I'd check in here to see what you
    all might suggest.
    Matt, Nov 17, 2009
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  2. There are a couple of differences of note between tape and card based
    HD - ease of archiving and ease of editing. Tape still serves well for long
    term archiving of all the source material plus edited video (but tape risks
    dropouts - and these cause picture freezes and sound loss for about 1/2
    second with HD). HDV (tape) can also be edited easily using computers
    of modest "umph". Card-sourced video using the AVCHD format
    (MPEG-4) requires either a "hefty" computer or transcoding to an
    intermediate format (with its associated disadvantages) for efficient editing.
    But, it appears the Sony PMW-EX3 uses MPEG-2, likely less difficult to
    edit with using less than "bleeding-edge" computers. For back-up, files can
    be written to two or more drives.
    David Ruether, Nov 17, 2009
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  3. Matt

    Matt Guest

    I did in fact mean a XL H1A, I was just typing too fast :) I'll wait and
    check out the EX1R, thanks for the advice!
    Matt, Nov 17, 2009
  4. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Ahh, but then don't I face the problem of just having to store a bunch of
    hard drives with their own potential failure problems? I guess there's just
    no easy answer to archival at the moment.

    Actually my edit suite is fairly "bleeding-edge" (or at least it will be
    when I get all the parts in and build it) so I'm not super concerned with my
    ability to edit the footage... easy reliable backup is my main concern. Well
    that and cost :)

    I guess I'll look into external drive enclosures that allow drive hotswaps
    and take that route with a Sony PMW-EX1R that Frank recomended.

    Matt, Nov 17, 2009
  5. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Well the owner doesn't like the idea of storing footage on an external hard
    drive because if the drive fails we have the potential of loosing several
    projects at once. I'm thinking about backing up an entire project on a dvd
    or blue ray disk (depending on project size)... other than cost does that
    seem like a workable idea?
    Matt, Nov 18, 2009
  6. Matt

    HappyJack Guest

    BluRay DS/DD for starts.

    Then another to an HD.
    Hard drives are dirt cheap at
    Seagate Barracuda LP ST31000520AS 1TB 5900 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive $80
    and free shipping. Buy and external enclosure and stack the drives on a shelf
    HappyJack, Nov 18, 2009
  7. Not really, unless you're talking about short term archiving. Field
    writeable optical media have a useful life ranging from a few months
    upwards. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to predict which one is the
    one with the one year life, and the one which will last for decades.

    For long term archiving, tape is probably best, then a RAID storage
    array, backed up regularly to another one, with full verification.

    Flash devices claim ten year data retention, but I've had them fail
    after periods ranging from a month or two up to longer than I've been
    using them, which is about five years.
    John Williamson, Nov 18, 2009
  8. Note that I said, "two or more hard drives". Best may be full-size drives
    that either hot-swap or can be used in external enclosures. The key is to
    have two or more (good) drives with everything *identically* backed up
    on them. If one dies, replace it and copy over all the material from another

    This is a relatively cheap and reliable solution when you have no tape
    source and duplicated edited-material system.
    See above...
    NO!!! Optical disks are generally NOT reliable! (Think "organic dyes
    and color prints"...;-) With good blanks, careful storage, and luck, they
    *may* last long enough.
    David Ruether, Nov 18, 2009
  9. Matt

    J. Clarke Guest

    FWIW, there's an outfit that is producing DVD recording equipment that uses
    physical etching with a high powered laser rather than a phase change--the
    originator is an universtiy professor who is claiming a physical structure
    similar to that used in Anasazi petroglyphs that have held up for more than
    1000 years.

    It's expensive hardware and media (about $2K for a starter pack and $30/disc
    if I have been correctly informed).

    You can find more information at
    J. Clarke, Nov 18, 2009
  10. Cost of the disk(s) is essentially ZERO compared to the cost
    of acquiring the footage! (Penny-wise, pound-foolish.)

    OTOH, field-burned optical discs are NOT in any way "archival"
    IMHO. And neither are hard drives.

    Optical discs ARE "archival" if you build-in the cost (mostly time)
    of re-copying them every year (or 2 or 3 years if you feel lucky.)

    Hard drives are not "archive" media in any way. They could fail
    without notice whether active and spinning, or inert, sitting on a
    shelf in the vault. That is why serious users rely on RAID arrays
    for active use and digital mag tape copies for backup and archive.
    Richard Crowley, Nov 18, 2009
  11. Matt

    Matt Guest

    Ahh... so old school digital mag tape for backup. Seems expensive, but I
    might be able to make it dual purpose to back up other files in the office
    as well. Thanks! I would not have considered it as an alternative. My new
    edit suite will have a RAID for video (probably 1+0 but I still need to do a
    little research on the best fit for my 4 video drives) and a seperate drive
    for the cache so I think I should be covered there.
    Matt, Nov 18, 2009
  12. "Matt" wrote ...
    Remember that RAID 0 offers no protection against hard drive
    failure. It might even be MORE risky than a single drive because
    you lose everything if either of the drives fails. The other levels
    of RAID offer drive failure protection to various extents. Using
    drives of the same brand/model (and especially the same batch)
    in a RAID array is also risky because of the potential of failure
    of more than one drive.
    Richard Crowley, Nov 19, 2009
  13. Matt

    HappyJack Guest

    Forget RAID and tape. I worked in a server support environment for several years
    and I saw many of those backups fail. Too many people pin their hopes on tape
    and RAID and lose a lot of data (=money). Tapes get old, not replaced, not used,

    Stripes fail. RAID controllers can trash the data on a striped set. If you want
    RAID, go with RAID1 and a NAS system.

    Always have 2 backups of anything you don't want to lose.
    HappyJack, Nov 19, 2009
  14. "HappyJack" wrote ...
    Certainly RAID controllers fail and take everything with them.
    Tape backup/archives can fail also, but unlikely when regularly
    tested. And ANY system can fail catastrophically if poorly
    implemented and never tested.
    Richard Crowley, Nov 20, 2009
  15. Matt

    J. Clarke Guest

    Personally, stuff I care about is stored on a RAIDed Windows server that
    gets backed up regularly to a RAIDed Linux box from a different technology
    generation, with a periodic backup also being made and carried to a safe
    deposit box. If we get Katrinaed I'll likely lose it all, but if the house
    burns down I only lose a month or so at most.
    J. Clarke, Nov 20, 2009
  16. The vendors online backup services (see list here...
    list theft- and other disaster-recovery as a key feature of their
    products. Some of them are free or very low cost. If you have
    reasonably fast internet connection they seem like a pretty good

    Backing up to a different technology (and differen brand of hard
    drives) is a good "diversity" scheme for preservation.
    Richard Crowley, Nov 20, 2009
  17. Matt

    J. Clarke Guest

    If you're using that option, use two of them. Recently one of the major
    ones went under on about 24 hours notice and took all their customers' data
    with them.

    The other downside is that you're giving an outsider access to your data, so
    make sure that you vet them thoroughly or encrypt the Hell out of it if
    there's anything at all sensitive.
    J. Clarke, Nov 20, 2009
  18. I had a RAID 1 array fail... turned out to be the
    mobo (it did it *again*!). Dell CS led me down
    the primrose path... 'just format the disk and rebuild
    the array'. You can only rebuild RAID 1 with this
    particular Intel controller if the *primary* is the good
    one.... if the primary *fails*, swap connectors before
    rebuilding, or you'll have what I had: a brand new
    rebuilt RAID array, completely empty, based on
    the formatted replacement disk.
    Stephen Cowell, Nov 21, 2009
  19. So, do a filmout of your video, and you have a backup which will last
    at least a 100 years :)

    Martin Heffels, Nov 22, 2009
  20. Matt

    J. Clarke Guest

    Unless it's stored above the nitrate-film vault which subsequently catches
    fire . . .

    What you want is procedures, not gadgets.
    J. Clarke, Nov 22, 2009
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