A Note from the Editor: The below article is excellent advice. As a journalist for many years, I take similar precautions since losing data overseas.
We live in a era of digital photography and filmography. Some of the places we see and some of the moment we experience, cannot be framed with a camera or a cellphone… but while we travel we certainly spend a lot of time making sure we take home, not only the experience of the adventure we have been through, but also some tangible (or virtual in this case) memories.
Usually, the average traveler has at least one smartphone which can be easily used as a camera; on top of this, some use a small action camera (such as GoPro, Sena, etc) to record riding or any other action-oriented activities. Many use a proper digital camera too, or DSLR, to take photos and videos. Others, nowadays, also have a drone, something that is becoming more and more accessible, pricewise and sizewise, in the past few years.
As you can imagine, having al l this technology recording our epic adventures, require some precautions, other than common sense. The understanding of how to use these technologies HAS TO come also with the ability to manage storage and backup for all the information collected.
You wouldn’t want to have your smartphone broken or stolen and loose all your precious photos, wouldn’t you!!??
Modern camera phones have high-resolution lenses nowadays, which can reach up to 16 MPixels and aperture of f1.4; regular digital cameras can reach 24Mpixels and DSLR are now up to 52 Mpixels. Commercial video recording can now easily reach 4k resolutions at 30fps, making video editing also quite challenging for not so new laptops.
All this information have to be stored somewhere first of all; Micro SD and SD cards, which commonly can be found in Android based smartphones and regular cameras, are now available up to 64 to 512 GB at a reasonable price. Shooting at these high resolutions, increases dramatically your storage space requirements and consequently your backup procedure times. For instance, a 20 minutes GoPro video shot in 4k is roughly 4GB; a 2 minutes video shot in Super HD with your smartphone could also be close to 2GB.
If you think about it, you are going to reach the full capacity of your memory cards in few weeks, so it’s important to keep all the information continuously stored and backed up in a secondary location, such a hard drive or a Cloud storage.
Many would recommend using Cloud storage to backup your photos (like Apple and its iCloud, for instance) but, personally, I don’t like that at all. I do store my documents and copies of my papers in my cloud account, but photos and videos are too bandwidth dependant to be accessed or stored online. Using the cloud is a way to have your data saved securely (and you don’t have to carry with you any extra drives) but I feel that you will need to rely on a strong wifi connection to be able to backup large amounts of data, which is something that doesn’t occur all the times for instance, while on the road.
In this sense I rely on the good old hard drives; I have 3 level redundancy applied to my data. I backup my smartphone, action camera and drone multimedia content in a single 3 TB Shockproof and Waterproof Hard drive, which I carry on my tank bag. This HD is backed up (mirrored) to another 3 TB hard drive, which I carry in my backpack. Then, I backup the second HD to another 1 or 2TB hard drive (which I Ikeep in my panniers), which I send home every 6-8 months, depending on location. At home I have a similar 3 level system that I manage every time I go back home.
Never trust your luck of NOT LOSING your information, in the first place, but also never trust machines too! Hard Drives fail as well. And also memory cards.
Always having a backup of the backup (and a recent one too) makes you feel safe and protected in case of failure of your devices or your drives. Protect your memories, people!