As photographers & visual creatives we all know how important it is to have a reliable data storage solution and an efficient workflow to transfer, backup and archive media. Hearing stories of card failure and experiencing drive failure once before (luckily I was able to recover the data although it was a lengthy process), I knew investing into a redundancy system was an essential area that I needed to look into.
External hard drives are a dime a dozen and after researching through the multiple brands and storage solutions I rounded down my choice to the G-Technology G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt for its versatility, speed & potential to expand.
The G-DOCK ev with Thunderbolt comes with two 1TB G-DRIVE ev drives in the box which is a nice amount of storage and adding more drives is a breeze as it’s compatible with the complete line of Evolution drives including the new ruggedised G-DRIVE ev RaW & G-DRIVE ev ATC. This is great for studios with a few photographers or shooters since everyone can use the same docking system.
Having a single Thunderbolt cable for two drives keeps the workspace clean while also providing fast transfer speeds. The G-DOCK ev also provides a second Thunderbolt port so you can add on an additional G-DOCK ev or Thunderbolt device by daisy chaining the units together.
The individual G-DRIVE ev drives work as standalone units and are accessible via the USB 3.0 port so they are much more useful than having naked drives which require a separate adaptor to use without the dock.
The aluminium build and design give the drives a premium feel and I can trust that they will outlast dings and knocks in my bag. The recent addition of the All-Terrain Case provides another layer of protection when you’re going to be in an adverse environment providing a tonne of protection against water, dust & drops. It’s great that G-Technology still provides upgrades for current and previous owners.
In my experience I have heard far too many stories of data being lost, so to minimise this risk, I have listed just a few steps which give me the peace of mind that my data is secure and backed up.
Shooting in the studio
In the studio, I am usually shooting tethered (which has its own benefits that I won’t get into too much right now), but when doing product photography attention to detail is crucial as a lot of small details are a lot easier to fix in camera rather than in post. Spotting dust, marks, odd reflections and adjustments in angles are just a few of the things which are a lot easier to identify while shooting tethered making sure that you don’t have to reshoot or spend extra time in Photoshop.
Another major advantage of shooting tethered is that I can connect the G-DRIVE ev directly to my Macbook Pro and store the images on the drive directly as well as in the camera providing a backup system in the case that the memory card fails in the camera.
With the change of having a traditional HDD to SSD storage in laptops we gain much needed speed but sacrifice that at the cost of having larger capacity drives. Of course technology will catch up but I have regularly had the trouble of maintaining enough free space on my internal 256GB drive on my Macbook Pro so having the G-DRIVE ev as the capture location ensures that I won’t run out of space mid-shoot.
As a side note, Omnidisksweeper is a free application for OS X which I use to find large unused files or folders to free up space.
Tether Tools provide a great solutions with their Aero system for tethered shooting keeping everything neat and tidy, not to mention their high-visibility orange USB cables so you or your guests don’t trip over in the studio.
Shooting on location
Backup, backup, backup! Having redundancy and file integrity is crucial when working on location or off-site.
A lot of higher end cameras have multiple card slots allowing you to record a copy or JPG safety to the second card providing one way for minimising risk, but lately I have been using my much smaller Sony A7s & A7 ii which only provide a single SD card slot so backing up my files after wrapping up is critical.
Software such as Shotput Pro give me the assurance that all my data has been transferred correctly with checksum verification, completion logs and automatic options.
Similar to shooting in the studio, the G-DRIVE ev creates a safe location for all the media to be backed up while in the field. If it is a critical job, I may even create two backups to the second G-DRIVE ev and pass this to another crew member to store until archival.
Back at the office
Arriving back to my workstation I simply dock the drives in and i’m up and running. Working directly off the drives isn’t a problem thanks to the speedy Thunderbolt connection which also helps for archival to the second docked drive or raided NAS. Following best practice, this is also backed up to a cloud service like Backblaze.
Label tapes are a simple way to stay organised, providing a quick and easy way to identify what’s on each drive. Especially if you have used multiple drives on a shoot.
Carbon Copy Cloner is another popular tool you can use to backup, copy & verify your media with your G-DOCK ev station.
As you can see, I have integrated the G-Technology products into my workflow and I will definitely be adding more G-DRIVEs in the future.
Timothy Tan is a professional photographer and a well versed videographer, who works regularly with Clinton Harn on video productions and other various projects. He currently works at RØDE Microphones in the marketing department and is a keen gear head at heart who loves to share his tips & tricks on his instagram account.