November 6, 2018 at 2:09PM


Filming my first documentary - out of country

Hey again,
I recently posted about shooting my first documentary film. I have some technical questions that I am sure Charles or someone at NFS could answer:

1. During the 2 week production shoot in El Salvador, what tips do you have for backing up all the video files/data? Any specific external hard drive backups you’d suggest?

2. I am planning to shoot with the Panasonic GH5 and would like to use an ATOMOS Ninja Inferno to record 4K 4-2-2 60. What SSD and accessories would you recommend for this set-up to be able to record footage each day?

Thanks for your time!


You are making a lot of unnecessary work for yourself by using an atomos ninja. The GH5 can shoot 10 bit 422 internally. I would take the extra weight off your camera and workflow to just record internally to SD cards. That will make your life so much easier.

I would buy four 4 TB portable external seagate drives and back up everything to two drives. Also just remember to always copy from the card to both HDD. Don't copy to one drive then copy from that drive to the other.

November 8, 2018 at 12:19PM

Alex Alva

Hello Alex,
Thanks for your feedback. The reason we are thinking of shooting with the Atomos Ninja Inferno is because it can record 4k60 ProRes which will help us in the post production workflow. We will edit and produce the movie in FCPX. We do agree that using our SD cards would be much easier, yet want the highest quality for the film and want a convenient post production workflow. Thoughts?

For the external hard drives, since we are planning to shoot with two GH5s for 2 weeks, we are thinking to purchase 3 LaCie 5TB Rugged Mobile Hard Drives. More space just in case. What do you think? Thanks again!

Nick Alexander

November 11, 2018 at 1:34PM, Edited November 11, 1:34PM

Why would that help your post production workflow? Just because it's ProRes? You can just transcode. Even if you don't want to transcode, most NLE's these days don't have many issues using out of camera H264.
I mean you're working on a doc so you want the least amount of interruptions while shooting because for docs the main concern is getting the shot. If something is wrong with your recorder or they're not sync properly which has been an issue with the GH5, then you could miss out on some important shots. I think you're treating your doc like a narrative and not a documentary. You really want to optimize your setup to be small and free from error. I guess I just don't understand how much more quality you're going to be getting by using an external recorder especially since the GH5 can do 4k 10 bit 4000Mbps all-i recording. I wouldn't even record in that high quality either if I were you. I would just use the 150 Mbps 10 bit codec in camera.
Why are you using the GH5s? Wouldn't the GH5 make more sense because of the sensor stabilization. It will enable you to have a smaller rig and can be more discreet.
That might be enough depending on how you record. If you use the external recorder, I don't think you would have enough space to have a secondary back up. Which I think is another point to why you shouldn't use the external recorder.
I would take that money used for the recorder and use it for a better audio setup because the preamps in the body aren't the best.

Alex Alva

November 12, 2018 at 12:02PM

I could transcode but that will take time. I think the idea is to import ProRes video files into FCPX for post production especially for interview segments when we record 4k 10but 422. Outside of interviews I think you are right and just shooting on our SD cards from our cameras would be ideal to not miss the shot. In this way we should at a lower bit rate outside of interviews to conserve space and have fewer potential for errors. We are using 2 Panasonic GH5 cameras, I wrote incorrectly. What sound gear would you recommend for interviews? I have some small Sony recorders with Countryman Lav mics that I was planning to use for the interviewee and interviewer. Then I would mount a RodeMic Pro onto my GH5 as backup audio. Thoughts?

November 13, 2018 at 11:31AM

Nick Alexander
Director, Director of Photography, Editor

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