Budgets are squeezed… we all know the pain of trying to make sure that there’s some margin left at the end of a project. We’re also now very aware of the positive trends towards making our shoots greener and lower carbon. With some excellent sustainability guidelines from Albert (BAFTA) and Ad Green, we’re well on the way to making real carbon savings.

So how can you save cash on your shoots? Typically, production will buy two or three G-Tech or LaCie drives for each shoot, at around £150 per drive. After the edit and the project is delivered, they’ll put all the data and back-ups on these drives and store them in their office, (under the desk?) or send them off to some cold dusty storage facility to sit there for a few years. In effect, they are then paying £450 per shoot/project to store the data on single copy drives, with no guarantee that it can be recalled when needed. Storing data on drives long term is bad news. According to Backblaze, the failure to spin after years of lying idle is around 12%. We’ve seen a drive fail rate of 15% after three years.

Then there’s the environmental issue. These hard drives are made up of different alloys and precious metals, (steel, aluminium, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, copper, nickel, tantalum, cobalt, tin, zinc and neodymium to be exact). These need to be mined, and manufactured into the final product, then shipped to the final user. Think of all that embedded carbon for just one hard drive. However, that’s fine if you’re going to use it lots of times, but terrible for single use. It’s a bit like buying a steel water bottle, using it once and then throwing it away.

So, what’s the alternative? We’d advocate using your hard drives only to transport and hold data during your productions, and then using LTO for long term storage. LTO is the industry standard, (used by all the worlds data centres for longer term storage), it’s robust, has large capacity and can hold material safely for many years due to its stability. You can then reuse your hard drives time after time, saving you money and saving the planet.

Here at Film Locker we specialise in low carbon long term data storage for the media industry. Once our clients start to see the cost and operational benefits of working this way there’s no going back. We use safe, cost effective methodologies and our low carbon offering counts towards your agency’s annual sustainability statement.

If anything we’ve said here sounds familiar and you’d like to improve on your current set up, please drop us a line or give us a call.