The importance of backups

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sean mclennan

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The importance of backups

PostWed Jul 31, 2013 3:31 pm

I just came back from my epic trip around Australia. Was there for a month and I only covered a 1/3 of it. Was so much fun! :mrgreen:

As some of you know, I brought my BMCC with plans to shoot a short doc of a local (which unfortunately fell through) and some of my epic journey. To keep things light, my kit was packed entirely into a single backpack. It was a 14Kg/30lb backpack, but at least it was all in one bag.

The plan was to shoot and download to the MBP, then onto the portable drives, then leave the SSDs full. This would give me a total of 3.5TB of storage and I could shoot pretty much 6 hours of RAW if needed.

To use the MBP, which doesn't have Thunderbolt or USB3, I bought a USB3 expresscard and an external enclosure with dual cables (for USB3 power) I tested the setup multiple times and found the magic procedure to get everything to work...at a max 75MB/sec, still better than the 25MB/sec I was getting with USB2.

I also purchased a new hard drive for the MBP, to replace the CD drive. Further expanding my storage. The WD 750GB drive to be exact.

I only used the MBP storage as I didn't shoot nearly as much I was planning to. 200GB on the main drive and 500GB on the second drive. I was also backing up those files to the external drives, but I got unmotivated as the transfer times were so long and I had many, many beers to drink. I felt pretty comfortable leaving the content on the MBP drives.

Last night I was transferring all my footage and guess what? My new 750GB HD just s--- the bed halfway through transfer :shock: The hard drive is only 3 weeks old and has less than 15 hours runtime on it...and it's clicking, not mounting. Done.

Now, I had been transferring some of the footage over to backup drives and main drive while on the road, so I actually have a lot of it saved, but I figure I've lost about 200GB of raw data. All because I was too lazy to back it up while I was on the road. :oops:

I could send the drive for data recovery and I would if the footage was of substantial value...but paying over $1600 to recover footage of me opening beer bottles with a chainsaw, while pretty epic footage, isn't worth it.

Important reminder to not be lazy and cover yourself. External drives are cheap, losing valuable data is not.
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Mac Jaeger

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Re: The importance of backups

PostWed Jul 31, 2013 4:53 pm

It's always the same: the moment you stop making backups will be the moment you'd need one.
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Randy Walters

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Re: The importance of backups

PostWed Jul 31, 2013 7:35 pm

Very, very sorry about your footage loss. I know it's not just data, and once it's gone, it's gone.

Even getting religion about backups won't save you every time, so don't be hard on yourself. Entropy can overcome any system of defenses, when it decides it wants to.
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Rob Burgos

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Re: The importance of backups

PostWed Jul 31, 2013 11:43 pm

I've had drive clicking before AND I've been able to recover data!! Well, sometimes.

Depending on how important this footage is to you, you may want to crack that enclosure open. It's possible that the circuit board on the drive is bad and to replace the circuit board costs about $50 USD. It will void your warranty but if the drive was cheap enough and you really want the data, why not?

My situation was that one of the interns at my facility plugged in the wrong power adapter and fried the board. Plug the drive in and it couldn't properly spin the drive. I replaced the board and it spun up and all my data was there.

Let me know if you want some more advice on the process. Good luck.
Rob Burgos
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Frank Glencairn

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Re: The importance of backups

PostWed Jul 31, 2013 11:53 pm

I know, this sounds crazy, but...

Put the drive in a freezer for a day and than try it in a docking station.
Sometimes you can only copy a few GB till it acts up again, so you may have to repeat the freezing several times.
Doesn't work always, but maybe you can save at least some of your shots.
http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/

I told you so :-)
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Christian Schmeer

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 12:25 am

Since we're already talking about backups: What's the best way to make a proper backup of DaVinci Resolve projects and preferences etc.?
Christian Schmeer - DP / Colourist
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Margus Voll

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 6:20 am

I would let driver run for week or two to see if they fail when installing fresh ones.

I have had this many times you pop in new ones and it will fail the next day.

If you want to be safe you'd have to be as mental as server guys in IT business to test stuff out.
Specially WD. Get Hitachi - they have new name now.


As for resolve if you use file based database it should be simple to back up and maintain your projects.
Look up file based database in manual and dig around here in post production section. I'm sure it is covered.
Margus Voll, C.S.I.

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Andrew Deme

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 9:45 am

Frank's freezer method is an excellent suggestion or a light tap on the side......when all else fails and if you have access to a clean room then you could follow these instructions.

Fairly technical but is possible :-

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John Waldorff

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 10:06 am

There are 3 seperate things that come to mind.

If we talk about a external harddrive, crack the enclosure open and put it in a PC it will work. Saved me a couple of times. Windows 8 has a special routine when copying that even works with destroyed sectors so probably get that one if you have the chance.

If we talk about the harddrive itself acting up you can try the freezer method and get a beer while you are at it.

In case you used the chainsaw not only on the beercrown but also on the harddrive I would save the time for above methods and sleep it out instead.
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Andrew Deme

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 11:09 am

Also a hot tip for anyone who may not know, just because a USB drive is portable does not mean it is meant to be moved around.

Worth reading and understanding the specs before you hand over cash as most of the spinning hard disk USB drives really don't like travelling. In fact most hard drives now are not even designed for 24x7 operation.

Having said that, here are some portables which could be worth looking at :-

http://gearpatrol.com/2013/03/14/die-ha ... ed-drives/
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Remo Pini

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 12:55 pm

Christian Schmeer wrote:Since we're already talking about backups: What's the best way to make a proper backup of DaVinci Resolve projects and preferences etc.?


IF you have the projects in the Postgres DB (the default), then you'll have to do a database dump on a regular basis (just get the admin tools from the Postgres website). This obviously requires at least some technical understanding on what an SQL database is and how to create a dump :).

IF, like me, you switched to a file based database scheme (was introduced with 9.x, if I recall), you can just copy the complete DB directory to someplace else, or, like I do, put it on a RAID drive that gets backed up daily anyway...

Hope this helps at least a little.

Cheers
Remo
Director | Line Producer | https://grayeminence.ch
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Mac Jaeger

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Re: The importance of backups

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 3:59 pm

Frank Glencairn wrote:I know, this sounds crazy, but...

Put the drive in a freezer for a day and than try it in a docking station.
Sometimes you can only copy a few GB till it acts up again, so you may have to repeat the freezing several times.
Doesn't work always, but maybe you can save at least some of your shots.

It's not crazy at all - this method saved one of my archives a couple of years back! Back then, the drives were only some hundreds of megabytes in capacity, but the mechanics are basicall still the same.

To add to the tipp: if you find that it works initially, keep the drive cool with whatever frozen stuff you have (just make sure the drive doesn't get damp from condensation) - i had to eat spinach for a couple of days after i rescued my data :-)

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