Monday, October 6, 2008

The TAPELESS Digital Workflow

LDVB describes (and makes a case for) a MiniDV tape workflow - it's inexpensive, it's safe and automatically archived, it lends itself to shooting material that will also be edited, etc. But I was in Circuit City again today and noticed that they simply have fewer and fewer MiniDV camcorders available and I trust many (most?) people will try to jump into video these days with tapeless cameras, necessitating a tapeless workflow.

Consequently, I'm going to dedicate a few blog posts here to my best suggestions for this process. It doesn't really change all that much from the book, but I think it's important to have some guidelines available -- either for now, or when you do opt for a tapeless camera.

1) If you get a tapeless camera/camcorder then I strongly recommend getting 2 (TWO!) external hard disks for your media. If you can afford it, get a pair of 1TB drives, but i think that a pair of 500GB drives is plenty for the beginner. I think the 250GB drives are just a little small for a committment to video. Each drive will cost hundred bucks, give or take. You need two because you're going to mirror one drive with the second. It's a backup. I'm not normally paranoid, but as i've said here before, disk technology is fragile and prone to failure one way or another, and this drive is going to hold all the video you've collected with no other safety net. One drive will be where you keep all the videos you pull off your camera. The second should be set up to maintain a copy of the first all the time (or copy the first periodically). It's a less expensive option than trying to recover a failed drive.

2) For the time, whenever you move video from your camera to your hard disk, drop it all in a folder that is labeled the way you'd label a tape -- with the date (s08.10.6 would be today). Inside this folder will be a bunch of clips of video. This is your coverage for a video you might want to edit at some point. Once video is in a tidy folder, it is relatively easy to import (or connect) this folder to whatever your editing tool happens to be.

Start with these guidelines and then you can ignore the topics in the book on timecode (generally) and organizing tapes. Instead, you'll be organizing these folders on your hard disk. In many ways this will simplify your workflow. I'll be doing it too and keep you posted on any snags i uncover in the process.


SmartyGuy said...

This may get lost in the shuffle because I'm commenting to an older post. Be that as it may, first thank you Mike for such an excellent book. This is one of those that will be proudly dog-eared from referring to it very often.
Your TAPELESS workflow post answers the first question I had since reading the book. Recently, while looking for a new camcorder, I was amazed how mini-dv is going bye-bye so fast. So, once I get my new camcorder and TB drives, my strategy will be to do my backups on the 2nd drive using Super Duper, which is what I use to back up my main drive anyway.
Marty S

Rubin said...

Marty - nothing gets lost around here. Thanks for the note. I'm getting myself a dedicated back up for the holidays...

Ikkó said...

Hi there,

First things first: I'd like to congratulate on the book, I've really enjoyed reading it, and the example videos are also very good on the blog.

What I would like to read more about is the organizing of the video files - regarding the tape-less cameras.

Do you recommend to keep a logbook never minding it's all digital and tape-less, or you have a good idea how to do it without?

So far with digital photos it was enough to make folders based on the year and one level lower for the months, with a keyword in the folders name to keep one topic together, but can you keep it like that with videos? It also concerned me at some point that the shiny new Canon digital camcorder I have gives the same numbers to videos over and over again (silly system, if you ask me)... or that's just the way it should be?