Try the 3-2-1 Backup Strategy to Protect All of Your Footage

Show me a filmmaker and I'll show you a person who has lost precious footage due to poor archiving.

Data storage: it's not the sexiest filmmaking topic in the world, but it is an important one, because most filmmakers have gone through the utter devastation of losing much needed shots, scenes, or even entire projects due to mishandling, data corruption, act of god, or a dirty, dirty thief. Losing your data can be a nightmare, but David Bergman of Adorama shows you a way to safeguard it using the "3-2-1" backup strategy.

Backing things up is kind of a way of life nowadays—I backup my phone more often than I do the dishes. However, ensuring that you have copies of your footage and other filmmaking data is going to take a little bit more effort than simply hitting "sync."

The backup strategy described by Bergman is called "3-2-1": 3 copies, 2 separate devices, and 1 off-site. In other words, you'll need to have three copies of your data altogether on at least two separate devices (hard drives, memory cards, etc.), and keep one of those copies stored in a different location than the others. This will ensure that you have an extra copy in case 1.) a file gets corrupted, 2.) one of your devices gets lost/stolen/destroyed/corrupted, and 3.) the building in which you store the other two copies goes up in flames or something.

Now, no data storage strategy is going to be effective every time, but the 3-2-1 method does safeguard you from a number of issues. In reality though, you can use whichever strategy you want, just make sure that you pick one and stick to it. That consistency will help keep you and your data nice and organized.     

Your Comment

5 Comments

I backup my footage to an external drive and then to Google Drive. Haven't lost anything yet. *knock on wood.*

December 31, 2016 at 10:26AM

24
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horrible background music

January 1, 2017 at 12:08AM

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Lutz Leonhardt
Filmproducer
306

I convert all my footage to Pro Res HQ with EditReady, and sync the drive I'm editing with onto DropBox. Once finished (and after a year), I'll delete the local version. I can bring back the media files quickly. I tried this technique with Google Drive and lost media (or it rendered the media unreadable); DropBox has been reliable. I also use the DropBox Pro subscription, with is around $750 a year (cheap against buying hard drives), secure, and accessible on any computer with their desktop app.

January 2, 2017 at 9:39AM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
315

how much storage space do you have for $750/year?

January 6, 2017 at 11:51AM

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Katie Hyde
Producer
166

Unlimited. You get 5 TB when you sign up. When you need more, ask them. If you the sole user, they'll just add it to your account.

January 8, 2017 at 1:27PM

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Sathya Vijayendran
Writer/Director/Editor
315