So the conversation goes…

Producer; ‘We buy new hard drives for each production’

Me: Why?

Producer: ‘Oh it goes on the budget, its only £400 for two. Then we send them to the storage company or back to the agency.’

We’ve had this conversation many times. Producers like to use shiny new drives on a shoot and then send them back to the ad agency with a note saying, ‘the stuff on here — it’s yours’.

So there are three points to consider when figuring out this a flawed approach — money, environmental cost and safety.

Money? If you shoot an average of 16 productions a year, you’re spending £6,400 on hard drives, using them once and then never again. Ouch.

Environmental cost? Huge. Industry bodies such as Albert and AdGreen are trying to make single use plastic bottles a thing of the past on set and reduce waste throughout the filming process. So how come no one thinks about the environmental impact of using hard drives only once? The resources and energy it takes to manufacture and ship drives around the world are huge. And we use them only a few times. Ouch.

Safety? The not so insignificant issue of data loss needs to be addressed. Hard drives die. According to Backblaze 22% of drives will fail in their first four years of use but the figure gets much higher for drives stuck in a box. Our own experience shows that within 5 years our clients will lose 28% of their data to drives that are left in boxes to die. The other 78% of drives that don’t die are actually living for longer, over four years when used regularly.

What’s the take away?

Find another way to archive your shoot data, (you can always use Film Locker, dare I say?) But whatever you do, stop using drives only once and save yourself and the planet.