The ESSENTIAL workflow to BACKUP your CHEAP Gnarbox Alternative: Backup 9 months ago   10:36

First Man Photography
Backing up your files is a hugely necessary and sometimes frustrating step in your photography and video workflow. I show you my backup solution that keeps me moving forwards and all my files safe.

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Firstly as a basic theory you always want to have two copies of your files. Drives fail, data corrupts and if you only have one copy you are vulnerable.

So from the start, I’m out in the field and I am photographing, filming and creating my content. With some cameras the backup starts straight away with dual cards. With cameras like the Canon 800D or a drone they only have one card slot so as soon as that picture or footage is captured I’m vulnerable. I want to move onto the next step as soon as possible.

I get home or back to where I’m staying and I want to dump the cards as soon as possible and transfer the files to the computer. Laptops now don’t have massive storage capacity so if I’m travelling I’ll take something like an SSD to copy the files to. I can now relax a bit because I have two copies, on the computer and on the cards.

I will then generally try to edit my footage or images from the internal SSD of my laptop because it’s faster. After that it’s then time to transfer the files to the main external hard drive or server. Until very recently I was using using a 5TB drive. It’s decent but it’s one drive and it’s slow compared to an SSD which makes re-edits unpleasant to do to and slow.

So I’ve recently upgraded to this the Drobo 5D3. This uses a kind of RAID 5 which increases speed because it’s writing data to all the drives at the same time and also gives you redundancy. If one drive fails I can just pull it out and pop in another and my data is safe. This one is thunderbolt 3 so it’s also nice and fast and you can actually edit 4K footage straight off this. In the Drobo I’ve got three 10TB seagate drives which gives me 18TB of storage with that redundancy. This is pretty expensive and that’s where the pain comes. All this time and money spent is not glamorous but you need to spend it to keep your files safe.

Now the next step is to backup all this on a separate drive to again give us that redundancy with two copies. You can use time machine or Acronis to do this and you need to do this even with a RAID system like The drobo because if the drobo unit itself fails then your data is gone. At the moment I am using an 8TB seagate drive and I’ve copied all previous years work to the separate drives.

I then back all this up again using the cloud. Offsite backup is important in a case of fire or theft. I am currently using Backblaze which is a kind of set it and forget system that you get for a small monthly fee and you can back up and restore your files. You can access them online like Google drive or dropbox. I’ll put a link down below for you to check that out and you can store unlimited data and that includes external HD’s.

Now the last step with your photos that we don't immediately think of is to print them. There is a theory blowing around that modern human history and knowledge is currently at massive risk because it is all stored digitally. Printing your pictures guards against this and it also just an extremely satisfying thing to do anyway.

I created this diagram a little while ago to show my backup workflow so feel free to screen shot it and use it as a reference.

Anyway please share this video with someone who needs to hear the backup message and leave a comment down below to let me know what you think.


Comments 32 Comments

Brenda K
I use iphone and iPad and then my hp desktop. I dont know how to use the photos and videos in the format that google photos stores them in. I now have to change the photo format to jpg. that is over 5000 photos in the last two days. I am learning and i was told google photos plus my icloud would be my solution. So far I cant figure out how that is my solution. Seems incredibly cumbersome , confusing . Now to try what your recommending I still dont know if when it comes time for me to work with the job at hand that it will work . I dont know stuff doesn't work till after the fact. to upload for my auction software pictures need to be in a jpg format. I dont even know what format video are supposed to be in. I couldn't get one video to upload to FB . I'm 63, I'm trying... or is that crying. ya its crying.
Erik Wern
What about optical disks for archival storage for ten,100, or longer?
Shauna Gilbert
This may be a dumb question, but if you initially dump the camera card to your laptop, once you back up to an external drive do you delete the raw files from laptop so free up space, or does moving them do this automatically? Sorry newbie here and trying to free up my laptop as it’s bogged down. Thank you!
Why isn't any mention of backing your footage up on M Disc, these disc are said to be good for a 1000 years! Yes it's a little time consuming but much cheaper than storing things on a cloud somewhere, which keep in mind can crash as well. I save my footage to hard drives and use them for editing and back everything up on M Disc's for safekeeping.
Kevin Leitch
This was extremely helpful. Thanks for taking the time to outlay the full backup scenario. I had a Drobo around 4 years ago and it was dreadfully slow and flattened all of my edited photos to where I couldn't edit them back to the original. Honestly, there's always the chance I was doing it wrong however but the speed at that time may have been a user issue but the tests always showed it to be working. I, however, had to change because of the issues but am in need of a more modern efficient system to house my photos where I can have them off the iMac's 1TB drive but still access it efficiently and have them in original format. I then want to stage a secondary back up to that. It all will dock at a desk so manual movement is not a problem for the sake of efficiency, speed, and reliability. Any suggestions are very appreciated. Cheers.
Tom Mulchinock
please please please can you direct me to the best info for an absolute begginer who is wanting the best solution/system for backing up and storing video on a shoestring budget. Or at least, I don't want to invest hundreds of quid in raid etc just yet. I am starting out and experimenting. All i have right now is a 1tb hard drive and im syncing it to backblaze. This is all i have. I know its primitive AF but I know I can do so much better with only spending a little more but i am struggling to find info for someone like myself. I currently only have half a tb of footage. In the next year, I may have 15tb, i am not sure,. I imagine I just need a sustem if i dont wanna spend 600 quid on raid and nas etc. Is there an article somewhere you have seen that can give me info on how to store safely? Maybe I just keep doing what im doing but back it up to another external hard drive? But how am I to learn this without finding out teh fundamentals the hard way. MANY MANY THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR THE HELP FROM ANYONE!!
Teddy Wanderer
Oh my gosh Adam why is that mac gathering dust !!!! does it need a good home ? ;D Very good message to get across about making backups.Back in the day when you had negatives you did not have to worry about such things! You just kept negs somewhere safe ie... metal fireproof box and had two lots of print made of any special images just incase! Mind all of that took up so much space it is much easier with digital to make backups on drives etc.....But like you say you really do need to backup in whatever way suits you best. I make backups on external drives and I create photo books of my favourite images that are special to me. I am just a keen amateur not a pro like yourself though. Thanks for posting this :D Teddy
John Smith
RAID level 5 is a bad solution because of performance not good at all. It might outperform your old USB disk just because it uses faster disks. RAID 5 performance with some controllers is worse then single disk used on it and if one of the disks fails performance gets unbelievable bad. Additionally happens that RAID 5 fails to rebuild the array after a disk replacement. RAID level 6 is a little better and mostly used on servers these days. But if performance and redundancy both important you have to use RAID 10 or 01. You need at least 4 disks for that and will only have space of 2 disks available, but will have complete redundancy nearly double performance.
Very interesting Adam👍🏻 great plan!
Ian Blackman
Excellent video Adam very interesting
Andrew Dawes
Great video Adam. Good explanation of the set and loved the dusty computer haha. I've been on the road for almost 3 years and I have sooo many hard drives it's crazy!!! It's one of the main reasons I needed to stop recording in 4K and change camera... I just couldn't keep up with the storage. Looking forward to what's happening later in the year mate! Best of luck and p.s sooo funny drilling through gas lines, you poor bugger!
Neil Kristiansen
Whoever said digital photography was cheap 🙈 Think i’ll go back to a film slr 😂
Steve Bennett
Way to protect against the apocalypse. I look forward to your next vlog about the bunker and canned goods :-D Great insight into your back up workflow, very interesting.
Drobo might be a bit overkill for some of your followers.

Unless you have enormous bandwidth, I don't think online solutions are workable. How long to create your initial backup of everything? If you have a nasty loss, how long to retrieve enough to get back to work?

Offsite backup is good, but I don't think there's yet a better means than enlisting Cobb & Co to take a physical copy to a distant location.

I live in Mandurah, if I had an office in Perth, about an hour's drive, that would be far enough. In California, you might prefer a much greater distance, to be safe against earthquake.

If you have all of your photos online all the time, you have everything at risk from malware, whether on Windows or OSX. Better to have immediate access to everything you're working on and everything else powered down, turned off at the wall. It's possible, I've done it, to power on computers on a LAN by sending a not so secret message.

Probably, you should clone your system drive from time to time, to save time should you need to recover a failed computer. Reinstalling everything is a pain, especially if you don't know what was installed to start with.
Liam Good
Great video Adam, always look forward to seeing your new videos. Nice variety in your topics covered too, keep it up.
Last year around may/june time my entire 2017 folder was all of a sudden gone from pc, it had just deleted itself somehow. Luckily I had it all backed up=) It's SO important to have a backup several places, just in case the worst should happen.
Back Blaze sounds really interesting. Thanks for the heads up. I've also heard say that printing is a great backup solution too!
Hope I'm not tempting fate here. Been using computers since 1990 all graphics based work from 3d rendering animations to images. Video & web work for the last 18yrs and the past 6yrs photography. Only ever had 1 failure and it wasn't really a disaster as all completed work was backed up. In respect of photography work, my tip(s) would be, get yourself a decent sized external hardrive around a 2TB size. When transferring your photos from camera, first copy them directly to a folder on your PC (Don't use Macs) If using Lightroom create a first catalogue to go through the images you have taken and remove the obvious blurred ones and any that you don't want. Once those images have been deleted from the catalogue and harddrive, copy the folder and its contents over to your external drive. You can now remove the SD card and format in-camera (if you wish) You now have a backup stored away and a working version directly where its needed on the PC. At some point when you know these photos aren't going to be needed for a while, copy over the Lightroom catalogue folder associated with those images to the external drive. You can then delete the files from the pc. As long as you don't use the external drive for regular use, you'll be fine for years. In respect to Adam's example, he is showing you his workflow which to be honest imo might be a little bit extreme, its his workflow and I'm sure moving forward thats what he thinks he requires. For everyone else, just follow what I suggest and you'll be fine for a long time. Another tip which is a time saver. In Lightroom make sure you use the metadata info and keywords sections to individually index your photos. Saves a lot of time if you have lots of photos in one catalogue. Yes, its a pain to do but the more often you do this the quicker it becomes at indexing as well as finding the specific photos you want. Great video Adam like to see you more outside as I'm becoming a bit of a recluse lately and need a kick! :)
I Enjoy Creating Videos
Nice video Adam! Thanks for sharing it with us.😎👍JP
Tom White
Adam, Keep spreading the word ! Always hearing about people losing years of photos/vids.I Although I am not a pro like you and don't need the huge storage capacity you have , the principles are sound, I run a PC with 2 internal hard drives , one for OS and misc. programs and one for photos/vids and two 8 TB external hard drives for B/U. One at home and one at the office and will swap them out every few weeks so one copy is always off site , My mobile is set to automatically upload to the cloud so that is covered as well. When travelling I have the LaCie Rugged Mini 1 TB that has worked very well for the last several years. Have enough memory cards so I never have to format until I get home and have backed up everything. Nowadays memory is so cheap there is no excuse.
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CHEAP Gnarbox Alternative: Backup The ESSENTIAL workflow to BACKUP your 9 months ago   05:25

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