I just got back from a TV program shoot in Mexico, where we chose to shoot with a Sony SRW-9000 HDCAM-SR camera. Here is a short description why we used a tape based solution for the production.
We estimated to shoot aprox 20-25 hours of footage during 1,5 weeks. This might sound a lot, but it’s an “adventure” program where we could not decide when things happens in front of the camera so we needed to roll more than in a normal production.
Here are some of the camera options that could have been chosen with a similar quality (compression):
Arri Alexa 20 – 25h ProRes 4444 2.8 – 3.5 TB
RED One 20 – 25h REDCODE 42 2.4 – 2.9 TB
Sony SRW-9000 20 – 25h HDCAM-SR 30 – 38 Tapes
What you need to have in mind for you project when considering shooting file based is your data safety. It’s crucial and can not be compromised!
Here is a simple description for the data safety procedure:
2.8 – 3.5 TB will take approximately 20 – 24 hours to copy to single disc hard drives. As your files safety is crucial you will need 2 sets of backup, as an insurance policy! Backup is now up to 40 – 48 hours of data processing.
Also to consider with RED and Arri is that you record RED Raw and ProRes 4444. These two formats is not the best for offline editing, they will limit the performance of your offline. So best is if you transcode to a offline format.
Aprox 20 – 40 hours of transcoding, depending on your computer.
The Sony SRW-9000 workflow is just that simple.
There is one last thing to think about! Is your footage of any value in the next coming 2 – 10 years? Are there good shoots of things that you might use in the future? Then you need to consider how you keep your footage safe during that time. One thing is for sure, the hard drives are not a safe option for that time frame. So how to keep it safe? No one have a perfect answer or a perfect solution. But there are solutions like LTO tapes that are becoming an industry standard for data storage / backup. For the RED and ARRI workflow you then need to consider copying all your data to for example LTO tapes.
With the HDCAM-SR tapes, they are already on a future proof media, a tape. This tape will last for very long time. Minimum 5-10 years, probably 5 – 20 years. All depends on how long the tape machines are alive for. But we can look back to Digital Betacam that are still in use after almost 20 years.
This is a simple description of workflow and backup, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me or any of our producers.