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Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field

COW Library : Field Production : Helmut Kobler : Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
CreativeCOW presents Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field -- Field Production Review


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Los Angeles CA USA
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PORTABLE CARD BACKUP DEVICES
The Nexto Video Storage Pro & Panasonic AG-MSU10


There are plenty of advantages to shooting video on solid-state cards, but cards have one particular headache of their own. That's when you have to offload your cards to a backup hard drive while working in the field. Maybe you have to free up card space so you can continue shooting, or maybe you have to hand your footage to a client who didn't bring their own cards. Either way, doing an in-the-field offload usually means bringing a laptop, a card reader, external hard drives and lots of cabling to your location, then finding a secure place to set it all up, and then waiting around as each card slowly copies to the drives.

No one looks forward to this. It certainly never appealed to me; in fact, I bit the bullet a couple of years ago and bought more cards than I might have otherwise, just to avoid doing an offload on set.

But there is another way. Instead of hauling around an entire computer ecosystem, or busting the bank on excess cardage, you can invest in a portable card backup device, which includes a built-in hard drive or SSD (solid-state drive), is small enough to hold in your hand, runs on battery power, and makes copying cards quick and foolproof.





This review takes a look at two of these products that I've worked with for the last few weeks.
  • First, is the Nexto Video Storage Pro 2500, which can offload just about any solid-state card format -- Sony SxS, CompactFlash, P2, SDHC, Memory Sticks, and others -- to its internal drive. Being fluent in so many tongues means you can bring the Nexto to most sets, and then backup and take home your footage no matter what camera shot it. That's very impressive, but if the Nexto has a limitation, it's workflow. While it's possible to remove the Nexto's internal drive by taking the unit apart with a screwdriver, most people won't want to do that. Realistically, when the Nexto fills up, you'll want to get it back to your office before offloading it to an editing system or archival drives/tape. But if you're out in the field for long, or shooting a lot of material in short order, that might not be so easy. One more hitch: you can't remove the Nexto's internal battery, and it peters out fairly quickly.

  • Then there's Panasonic's brand-new AG-MSU10. It only works with P2 cards -- that's its limitation -- but it does have a removable, swappable drive tray and that gives it great flexibility. With the MSU10 you can buy multiple trays from Panasonic ($150 each), install a hard drive or SSD in them, and then quickly slide them in and out as they fill up. Each tray has its own bus-powered eSATA and USB 2 connectors, as well, so you can send the tray to a client or mail it back to the home office for easy offload. In the meantime, you can keep the MSU10 working in the field, as long as you've got a spare tray. Finally, the MSU's battery lasts a long while, and you can always swap in a fresh one. In other words, the MSU10 is perfect for people who spend a lot of time in the field, or shoot through a lot of footage.
So we have two back-up devices with very different approaches. Read on for more impressions...



$2,349 with 500GB hard drive (* tested)
$2,699 with 128GB SSD (256GB SSD available as build-to-order)






The first thing that impresses about the Nexto is its small size. It's about the size of a small paperback book -- and not much heavier -- and you can easily carry it in a jacket pocket. After working with the Nexto for a day or two, you'll never want to go back to lugging a laptop...

Around its black body are multiple card slots -- an ExpressCard/34 slot (which takes Sony's SxS cards), a CompactFlash slot, and another slot that can handle SD cards, Memory Sticks, and MMCs, all in one. If you've got P2 cards, the Nexto also handles those, but in a clunky way: you have to plug a P2 adapter card into its ExpressCard slot, and then stick the P2 card into the adapter. The whole contraption hangs awkwardly off the side of the Nexto, and won't win any awards for aesthetics but it does work (note: in early 2011, Nexto will ship a new version of the Video Pro --the 2525 -- which has a dedicated P2 slot, and uses its ExpressCard adapter for CF cards instead).

The Nexto has a 2.4" screen to show menus, thumbnails and play back video. You navigate its menus using a tiny thumb-sized joystick built into the top of the unit. You can click the joystick in (like clicking a button) to make selections. Clicking the button quickly versus holding it in for a second can produce different results, depending on the menu you're on. That can be a little confusing to the newcomer (I had to look at the manual to make sense of it), but once you understand there are two different kinds of clicks, you get adjusted. Also the Nexto's LCD screen always tells you what a short (S) or a long (L) click accomplishes, so there's never any doubt.





Performance

When you plug a card into the Nexto, it immediately gives you three choices to begin copying the card: a Fast Copy (no verification), a Copy & Verify, and a Safe Copy (which does verification but also checks the Nexto's internal hard drive for bad sectors as it's copying).

Here are some transfer times, using the Fast Copy option with no verification on a Nexto with a 500GB 7200 RPM hard drive installed:
  • Copying a full Sony 32GB SxS card: 6:12, which is about 85MB/s.
  • Copying a 64GB E Series P2 card: 16:34, about 64MB/s (a couple minutes slower than Panasonic's MSU10).
  • Copying a SansDisk Extreme 16GB CF card (UDMA, rated at 60MB/s and used to record Canon DSLR video): 8:08, which is about 33 MB/s.
  • Copying a 16GB Transcend HDSC card: 19:01, about 13 MB/s.
Doing a copy with Verification takes almost precisely double the time, and doing one with Safe Copy, which is for the extremely paranoid among us, adds another couple of minutes to the process.

The Nexto copied some cards faster than others, but if you're using SxS or P2 cards, you're getting pretty cutting-edge copy performance in the field. For instance, using a laptop to copy a 32GB SxS card with Sony's own card reader to an external hard drive would take closer to 15 minutes, instead of the Nexto's 6 minutes. The Nexto also copied SxS and P2 cards faster than the Sonnet Qio ($999), which is a multi-format card reader and eSATA interface that some folks take out on the road.





CompactFlash copies were a little slower than expected, but still reasonable.

By the way, if you're thinking of buying the Nexto with a SSD ($2,699), you shouldn't expect even faster copies. Nexto says that its 7200 RPM hard drive already maxes out the hardware's SATA I bus, which means an SSD's speediness would probably go to waste.


Shake-ability

The nice thing about having an SSD in the Nexto is that you can shake the unit violently, and know that there's no risk to your data, since the SSD has no moving parts. But even if your Nexto has a hard drive installed, like the unit I worked with, you'll find it holds up surprisingly well to shaking while copying. In fact, there's a screw-hole on the back that you can use to attach a belt clip, keeping the unit on your waist as you copy. I didn't try that, but I did walk briskly around and climb stairs while holding the Nexto as it copied. Nothing seemed to disturb the copy (I was using verification, just in case). Finally, I started rolling the Nexto over on one side and the other. At that point, I could hear its internal drive stop, but then it resumed copying as soon as it was level. Again, no problem with the data. I didn't go as far as dropping the drive from a height, but Nexto says the drive would have detected the drop and locked itself before hitting the ground.

One more thing: on the Nexto menu is a feature called "Self Test". This combs your drive for bad sectors, so it can avoid them later on. Nexto recommends running this feature the night before you do a shoot, but it can take several minutes or hours, depending on the level of detail the test uses. Personally, that's just one more thing for me to worry about, and I can't imagine many other people would bother. Besides, you can always do a Safe Copy, which inspects the drive for bad sectors before laying down your card.


File Browsing

Once you've copied a card to the Nexto, you can see it represented as a folder on the Nexto's hard drive (each card gets its own folder named after the date the card was first recorded).

Once you select a folder, you can see the thumbnails for any video clips and JPEG images in the folder, and play back most clips. That's right: the Nexto plays back Sony footage, P2 footage (including video using Panasonic's AVC-Intra codec), and Canon DSLR footage. Playback is at between ½ and ¼ of normal speed, which means it looks stuttery and won't wow any clients. But it's enough to see what you've got, and is pretty impressive for such a small device (the Panasonic MSU10 can only playback AVC-Intra as a tiny thumbnail, instead of taking up the whole LCD screen). Also, Nexto is currently working on a firmware update that lets the 2500 play back RED footage, and an upcoming model, the Nexto 2525, will playback ProRes footage from the Arri Alexa camera.








Power and Battery

The Nexto's internal battery is a bit of an issue. The manual says a battery should work for two hours on a full charge, but my demo unit ran down its battery after a little more than an hour of steady copying. In that hour, I copied three 32GB SxS cards (two with Verification), two 16 GB CompactFlash cards (with Verification), and a 64GB P2 card (no verification).

Of course, my demo unit used a hard drive, and Nexto says an SSD would get about 15-20% better battery life. And you can always run the Nexto on AC power but still, a 1+ hour battery life is likely to become frustrating at some point. And since the Nexto's battery is sealed inside the case, you can't swap in a fresh one. Recharging the battery from a wall outlet takes about four hours, by the way.


Other Stuff





  • When you're ready to offload the Nexto's footage to your computer, you can connect it via USB 2, eSATA, or FireWire (not FireWire 800). The drive mounts on your computer's desktop like any hard drive.

  • In the field, you can also attach an external USB 2 drive (not Firewire or eSATA) and copy footage to it using two different approaches. First, you can simultaneously copy a card to the Nexto's internal drive, and the external USB (obviously, the internal drive will finish significantly faster). You can also "sync" an external USB 2 hard drive with the Nexto. Doing so the first time will copy all folders from the Nexto to the USB drive. The next time you synch the USB drive to the Nexto, it will copy only new folders you've put on the Nexto since the last sync. Either way, being able to attach a hard drive to the Nexto seems like a way to expand the Nexto's storage capacity beyond its internal drive. But to me, having to drag around an external hard drive around with the Nexto defeats the purpose of having a portable storage unit that doesn't need an external drive. Also, since the Nexto can only work with USB drives, you're going to wait hours to copy a full Nexto to an external drive. Again, that's not what I want from a portable storage device. I'm glad Nexto included this feature for rare, in-a-pinch scenarios, but I couldn't personally see myself doing transfers to a USB hard drive while in the field.

  • You can't copy individual or groups of clips on a card (unlike the MSU10).

  • You also can't read any metadata that might be saved with your footage, but I can't imagine many people caring…




$2,500 with empty drive tray
$2,595 with 500GB hard drive tray
$3,095 with 256GB SSD tray (* tested)





The MSU10 is a product that Panasonic should have shipped two or three years ago. In fact, Panasonic did ship something remotely similar --it was called the P2 Store, but had so many limitations that it never caught on. If Panasonic had shipped something like the MSU10 instead, you'd see a lot more P2 cards used on nature and reality shows by now (P2's weakness to date). No use crying about it now, though. The good news is that Panasonic finally has a great, industrial-strength product.

The MSU10 is about twice the size of the Nexto, so you won't be able to stuff it in a jacket pocket or hang it off a belt. But it's still small and light enough (about 2.5 pounds) to carry around in one hand, or squeeze it into the corner of a case with other gear.

The MSU is also very easy to use. It starts up in about 9 seconds, and all you have to do is slip in a P2 card, and hit its big START button. The copy begins, and you can see a 0-100% progress bar on the unit's 3.2" screen. Other buttons on the MSU are self-explanatory (Menu, Exit, etc.) and the MSU uses the same menu system that its P2 cameras and recorders use.


Performance

The MSU can copy P2 cards faster than almost any other alternative around. Using the 256GB Samsung SSD tat Panasonic ships with the MSU, I was able to copy a full 64GB E Series P2 card in 14:47 (without data verification).

To put that in perspective, I used a Macbook Pro and Panasonic's USB 2 card reader (the AJ-PCD2) to copy a 64GB card to an attached FireWire 800 drive, and that took more than 45 minutes! I also used a Mac Pro desktop, with Panasonic's speedy PCD35 card reader, to copy the same card to an 8-drive RAID, taking 10:02.

So the MSU ran circles around Panasonic's USB card reader, and wasn't materially slower than the fastest P2 copying station known to man (a desktop computer with the PCD35 copying to a blazing RAID). Not bad for an in-the-field device that runs on battery power!

Of course, I was using the MSU with a very fast SSD installed in its drive tray. You can also buy the MSU with a conventional 2.5" 7200 RPM hard drive, or install any 2.5" drive you might have laying around. I wasn't able to test the MSU with the 500 GB hard drive that Panasonic sells, but Panasonic says it's about as fast as the SSD. That's because a modern 7200 RPM hard drive already maxes out the SATA I interface used by the MSU10, so having an even speedier SSD installed.

However, I was able to borrow an older 2.5" hard drive from my friends at Los Feliz Hi-Tech in Los Angeles (a great resource for anyone in the neighborhood, by the way), and give that a whirl. The drive was a 120GB, 5400 RPM SATA model from 2007, and it copied my same 64GB card in 27:20 versus the 14:47 of the SSD. So that's proof that the MSU can copy much slower to some 2.5" drives than it copies to an SSD. But again, I can't vouch for the faster, newer hard drive that Panasonic sells.

One more thing: I did all of these copies without data verification. If you turn the MSU's Verification On (via a menu setting), it will double-check each bit to make sure it's copied properly from card to drive. The drawback to this is that your copies take about twice as long than without verification (similar to the Nexto). Personally, if I were using the MSU with a conventional hard drive, I would probably give up some speed and use verification, given that a mechanical hard drive is more susceptible to problems. But if I were using an SSD with the MSU, I'd be very tempted to do copies without verification.

Shake-ability

Like I said, I tested the MSU10 almost entirely with its 256GB Samsung SSD, and that was a pleasure. With an SSD installed, you can start a copy going, toss the MSU in your backpack, and literally run to the next location. Or hop in a cab and copy cards on the way to the airport. Or keep your crew entertained by tossing it around on the set. Whatever.

But how does the MSU handle movement when it's using a conventional hard drive? That's a legitimate concern, knowing how the old P2 Store -- the MSU's predecessor -- would often abort copies if you looked at it the wrong way, much less bumped it. Good news: a hard drive-based MSU is far more resilient. I started a copy, and then took it up and down stairs, and movement it from one table top to another. The copy kept going without issue.

To be fair, I didn't subject the MSU to the more extreme tests I gave the Nexto, because the hard drive I was using was borrowed from a third party. But for normal use, using an MSU with hard drive should be fine.


File Browsing




Once you've copied a card to the MSU's drive, you can see each card represented as a folder on the drive (named according to the card's copy date) and see each clip represented as a small thumbnail. You can select a thumbnail to play it, but it doesn't actually play at a larger size. Instead, it just plays back at the same tiny thumbnail size, instead taking up the whole LCD (the Nexto fills its screen when playing back P2 clips). Also, footage plays back at a fraction of normal speed, especially AVC-Intra footage. Given all this, I would say the MSU's playback features are fine for getting an overview of what you shot, but not for examining each clip.





Removable Drive Trays

As I said, one of the best things about the MSU10 is its removable drive tray (called the MBX10G). You get one tray with the MSU itself, and can buy extra ones for $150. Then, you can buy your own hard drive or SSD, and install it in the tray by removing 5 small screws with a #0 screwdriver (see Panasonic's drive recommendations here).

After that, you can swap drive trays in and out, all day long. It literally takes about 3 seconds. Just slide one tray out and slide the next tray in. You don't even have to turn the MSU off; it pauses for a second and then recognizes the new tray.





For anyone shooting tons of footage at a time, or who's on the road for long stretches, or sitting in a bush waiting for a Snow Leopard to show up, you can spend a few hundred dollars on a couple of drive trays, and literally keep shooting for days, weeks, months. There are very few shows out there that a single MSU10 couldn't accommodate. I bet a couple of MSUs could handle a massive, quick-moving, fast shooting reality show like The Amazing Race.

Of course, to do that, you have to keep clearing footage off the trays themselves, but, they're rugged enough to stick in a small box and mail back to the home office. The folks back home can plug the drives into their editing systems, copy the footage, and send you back an empty drive tray. It's no more expensive than sending video tapes through FedEX, and probably cheaper due to the lower weight. One more benefit to those trays is that they're bus-powered (even if you plug them in via eSATA....just plug in a USB cable at the same time, and you've got power), so there's no worrying about power supplies.





Power and Battery

You get one battery and a charger/AC power supply with the MSU. The battery is the same kind that Panasonic uses with its smaller video cameras (the HVX200, the HPX170, etc.), and can power the MSU for quite a while. I charged my battery to capacity, and then made, about 20 full 64GB card copies (most to an SSD drive) over about 7 days. Even after all that, my battery still appeared to have about 25% of charge left.

If you're using a hard drive, you'll get less battery life, but probably not materially less. In other words, the MSU's battery life won't be an issue for most people, and the fact that you can buy multiple batteries means you can keep it going infinitively…


Other Stuff




  • Besides copying cards to the MSU's drive tray, you can also attach either an eSATA or USB 2 hard drive and copy cards directly to those volumes (note: you can't copy to both the drive tray and external volume at the same time....just one and then the other). Why would you do this? Maybe a client or crewmember will bring their own drive to set, and want a copy of the footage from your MSU. Or maybe you just want to backup your footage to yet another drive. Either way, you've got that option, and while I wasn't able to test my unit with USB drives, but did attach a 7200 RPM eSATA drive to the MSU, and copied a 64GB P2 card in 15:58 (just a little slower than the SSD).

  • A nice touch: you can copy selected clips (not just the whole card) from a P2 card to a drive, and vice versa.

  • You can also copy footage from a drive to a P2 card installed in the MSU.

  • The MSU can display the metadata of any clip, if that's something you use.

  • You can format the MSU's drive as either a Type S or a FAT 32 volume, each with a compromise. Macs and PCs can read either formatting, but if you want to copy cards with verification (where the MSU double-checks each bit it copies), you have to format your drive as Type S, not FAT. The problem with formatting your drive as Type S is that it can waste hard drive space by creating a partition on the drive equal to the card's maximum capacity, instead of how much footage it has. For instance, let's say you have a 64GB card that has only 5GB of footage on it. The MSU will copy only 5GB of data, but it will store it in its own partition that's 64GB GB! If you have a lot of partially-used cards, you'll "fill up" a drive far quicker than you expect. On the other hand, most people using the MSU will probably fill up their cards completely, until the very last one, so the lost drive space will be kept to a minimum. Still, if you don't want to deal with this hassle, then you should format your drive as FAT, since it doesn't play tricks with drive space. But remember that you can't use Verification when copying cards to FAT volumes.

  • I did find one bug in the MSU's firmware, and you have to do a couple of particular things to trigger it (as far as I can tell). First, you'll have to fill the MSU's SSD all the way. Then, when you need more space, delete the various card folders from the drive, instead of formatting it. At that point, when you start copying new cards to the drive, you may find that subsequent cards copy much slower than normal. For instance, after I filled the MSU's 256GB drive with four 64GB card folders. I then deleted each card folder from the drive, and started copying new cards to it. While the first two 64GB cards copied in about 15 minutes, the next two cards needed about 50 minutes each. Panasonic confirmed this is a bug and is working on a fix. But in the real-world, you can avoid any troubles by formatting a drive to free up space, instead of deleting existing card volumes on the drive.

  • The MSU lets you tweak a variety of settings, which is something you can't do on the Nexto. For instance, you can choose how the date is formatted in the folder names given to saved card (Y-M-D or M-D-Y or D-M-Y). You can set the MSU to beep once when it finishes a copy, beep repeatedly, or not at all. You can set the level of backlighting used by the LCD screen, or how quickly the MSU powers itself down when idle. None of these are life changing, obviously, but they can still come in handy.

Summing Them Up

The Nexto and MSU10 copy cards quickly and are virtually foolproof to use, but they're very different beyond that. The Nexto is your only option if you want to back up multiple card formats. It's also the right choice if you think its more-or-less fixed storage capacity -- a 500 GB hard drive or a 128GB SSD - and its short battery life will meet your needs in the field. The Nexto is also a few hundred dollars cheaper than the MSU when you consider real-world street prices. Finally, if you're a P2 user and like everything about the Nexto except the idea of hanging your cards awkwardly off the unit's side, then remember that 2011 will bring a Nexto 2525 with a dedicated P2 slot, as well as FireWire 800.

Panasonic's MSU, on the other hand, is for those P2 shooters who never want to run out of backup space or juice in the field. With its hot-swapping drive trays and long-lasting, replaceable battery, the MSU can keep backing up footage endlessly. Plus, the MSU's drive trays give you a convenient way to send your footage back to headquarters, or send them back with a client.



About Helmut Kobler
Helmut Kobler is a Los Angeles-based documentary cameraman. He's also written three editions of Final Cut Pro for Dummies. For more information, go to www.varicaminla.com

Comments

Re: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Bob Fleck
Thanks Helmut. Very interesting. I used to use Panasonic (an A100)and loved it. When the new camera came it felt like a cement block in my hands and so I went to Sony. I also had doubts about how long the P2 card (very expensive) would be around, so went to Sony. I've had 3 cameras from them, now the EX1R which I love, as I do the Z7, so naturally that meant the Sony box. It's not unlike Canon and Nikon, back and forth, forth and back. Frankly, I'm old fashioned, I still like seeing that tape sitting on the shelf but never mind, time for me to come out of the darkness. Thanks again.
Bob
Re: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Bob Fleck
And then there's the Sony PXUMS240 Mobile storage unit, perfect for backing up SxS cards on removable 240GB fully enclosed hard drives. There also is a device which you can plug back into the camera to access and watch anything stored on the drive. I intend to have 2 of the 240GB drives, on a cross country project, back up to both and keep the drives in two separate places. I think it's an excellent system. Add it to your list.
Bob Fleck
@Bob Fleck
by Helmut Kobler
Hi Bob,
I actually wasn't aware of the Sony when I did the round-up, but then came across it in December. I definitely would have included it had I known.

The first thing I can say is that it's very surprising how similar the Panasonic and Sony units are....size, removable trays, buttons on the top, etc. It's almost as if both products come from the same OEM, but I doubt that's the case.

I think the Sony beats the Panasonic on price, as it's about $800 cheaper! I would be much more inclined to buy one of these devices at Sony's price point rather than Panasonic's.

I think the Panasonic beats the Sony on flexibility/features. 1) The Panasonic's drive "sleds" don't need an AC adapter to run, while the Sony's cartridges do need wall power when you want to attach them to a computer. 2) The Panasonic sleds also feature eSATA connectors as well as USB, so you can download footage from the sled much faster than Sony's USB-only cartridges. 3) You can install your own drives into Panasonic's sleds, while I believe the Sony cartridges are sealed and only come in 240GB capacities (and no SSD option). 4) The Panasonic can display thumbnails of clips, and play them back at 1/4 frame rate, on its screen, whereas the Sony needs to be plugged into a camera to display any clip visuals. On the other hand, the Sony main unit can act as a card reader when you plug it into a computer (and the main unit does have an eSATA port)....

Anyway, I would have said all that in the review, so I'm glad to have the chance to say it now!

-------------------
Documentary Camera
http://www.varicaminla.com
Re: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Timothy Sorel
Having been to Afghanistan and Cambodia shooting P2, I have to respectively disagree with this review. If a shooter has $2500 to invest, the money is better spent on a small laptop, external firewire and single P2 reader. Yes, it more in the backpack but I also have an editing station, email, Skype etc. at my disposal.

Better yet, climb on to EBAY on track down a 13" PowerBook G4 which takes the cards natively. With 2 GiG of RAM it will run FCP 6.0.6. Not sure about FCP 7.

If money is no object and a shooter is traveling great distances by foot, canoe, ATV and extra devices are simply to much to carry around than one of these portable drives is a nice luxury to have.... but it is a luxury.

Tim Sorel
Gainesville Florida
HPX370, HPX170, HVX200, PowerbookG4, Lacie Rugged Drives

Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Mark Roberts
Just for what it's worth, I have a USB duplicator at work that would also do the same thing. Use a USB to SD "reader" like the ones you get with Transcend cards SD cards and you're good to go. The duplicator cost about $700 bucks and does 7 at a time. Still expensive but not quite 2 grand. You may be able to find a cheaper USB duplicator.
Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Michael Sacci
Mark - what are you using and is it good for the field, battery powered.
Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Mark Roberts
I can't recall the brand...I'd have to look at it. I've got it in my office and use it for work related stuff occasionaly. It's not very portable and not battery powered but if you're dragging a pile of gear somewhere, it's not that much extra being slightly bigger than a loaf of bread. I have a 750watt inverter and a deep cycle battery that goes with me so that I always have some 110.

If I ever get around to shooting some shorts or something, I'll use it and blow the files onto two flash drives ASAP. Some times you don't get a chance to reshoot something.

Clearly those portable duplicators are great...I was just thinking how I could get the same thing done with what I have. I only have a netbook, it doesn't have much disk space(20gbSSD) so the last few trips, I was using it as a passthrough from the SD card to USB flash drive. Very slow.
Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by John Frey
Also found this. Sure there other other options.

http://www.produplicator.com/sd-card-duplicator-1-to-3.html

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore
Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Michael Sacci
I don't see lunging anything that big around. I would just use my laptop, copying the SD to another SD doesn't make much sense to me. if I had the other card I would get use it in the camera. I also want to be able to test the footage. Just my two cent.
Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by John Frey
I also backup to laptop. Just posting another alternative.

John D. Frey
25 Year owner/operator of two California-based production studios.

Digital West Video Productions of San Luis Obispo and Inland Images of Lake Elsinore
Re: Article: Backing Up Solid-State Cards In The Field
by Les Wilson
Mark, John, Michael:
The point of the two reviewed devices is to provide a backup capability in the field (battery power) without a computer. Plan a trip to Haiti or similar energy scarce country and the value prop of computer-less battery only card wrangling is obvious.

There's a third device that is less expensive but, like everything, has it's compromises.

The MxM Express recorder is an inexpensive enclosure that houses an SSD or an up to 500GB hard drive (albeit only ones that meet specific specs). This device has a tether that plugs into the SxS slot of the camera. You can then use the camera to copy the contents of a card in the available slot to the MxM. Multiple cards end up in a single BPAV folder but the meta data is retained so you can sort out things back at the ranch when you have the luxury of a computer. This consolidates power requirements to camera batteries.


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“Before I forget: don’t wear any underwear.”

“Before I forget: don’t wear any underwear.”

Before coming to Creative COW, before his lives in product marketing and product management at Avid and Boris FX, Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson ran a video production company. As we also observe the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the US Parks Service, Tim recalls one one especially memorable adventure to Everglades National Park, wherein he found himself quite literally up to his armpits in alligators. He had no idea that this was going to happen when the day began. At the time, he was focused on a brand new fear: getting sliced in half by burning underwear.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Tim Wilson
Field Production
A Tale of Two Field Monitors:Panasonic & Flanders Scientific

A Tale of Two Field Monitors:Panasonic & Flanders Scientific

The world is full of production monitors these days, but two new models stand out thanks to their big screens that can run for hours on battery power. That alone means cameramen and producers can finally take a big monitor into the field, without giving up much mobility.

Review
Helmut Kobler
Field Production
TV Pro Gear Builds 3D Flypack for WealthTV

TV Pro Gear Builds 3D Flypack for WealthTV

When cable/satellite network WealthTV decided to offer a 3D channel, they turned to TV Gear Pro, experts in creating flypacks, to make the first-ever 3D flypack. TV Pro Gear president Andrew Maisner, who was also the project's design engineer, tells Creative COW what's in the flypack and how it's being used so far.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Field Production
NAB 2012: K-Tek

NAB 2012: K-Tek

K-Tek introduced several products at NAB 2012, including the rugged Shark Wireless Antenna Mount, and a range of tools designed to respond to the ergonomic needs of small form factors such as the GoPro camera and the iPhone. Also debuted was the K-Tek Tripod Mount Case for the iPhone4/4S, which turns the smartphone into a professional camera.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Field Production
NAB 2012: Sachtler

NAB 2012: Sachtler

Sachtler debuted the Ace tripod system for the first time in the U.S. With a payload of up to 8.8 pounds (4 kilograms), the Ace tripod is ideal for smaller HDV camcorders and video-enabled DSLR cameras.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Field Production
NAB 2012: Petrol Bags

NAB 2012: Petrol Bags

Petrol Bags introduced four new products for audio in addition to the Liteporter for a Litepanels 1x1 LED light fixture, Rolling DigiSuite DSLR Camera Case and two new LCD monitor bags.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Field Production
Atomos Integrates with FCPX and AVID

Atomos Integrates with FCPX and AVID

Atomos, the Melbourne, Australia-based company that creates solutions in continuous power technology and affordable digital recording to HDDs or SSDs, continues to extend its workflow-related products to more media productions and projects.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Field Production
Panasonic BT-LH910 9 inch Broadcast Monitor

Panasonic BT-LH910 9 inch Broadcast Monitor

The world is full of broadcast monitors these days, but Panasonic’s new BT-LH910 9" monitor is a standout. It's got a stunning picture, an extreme viewing angle, and a form factor that’s small enough to still work in the field, but big enough to still work in a studio. It’s also got some very unique features that 3D shooters will find helpful.

Review
Helmut Kobler
Field Production
Anton/Bauer Tandem 150 Modular Power System

Anton/Bauer Tandem 150 Modular Power System

Want to charge an Anton/Bauer battery in just about any situation, whether wall power is available or not? Anton/Bauer's small, lightweight Tandem 150 is what you need.

Review
Helmut Kobler
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