Avoid breakdowns with back-ups. How Cinemate manage their back-ups

It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, if you’re a freelancer providing a service to clients you should invest time into perfecting your back-ups. Investing time and money into your workflow now can avoid expensive lessons later.

Cinemate’s 5 step approach to safeguarding client footage:

  1. Footage is imported immediately post-shoot
  2. Footage is backed-up onto a SSD drive
  3. Footage is backed-up onto a second SSD drive
  4. A copy of the footage is uploaded to Google Drive
  5. Another copy is kept in the office

Cinemate have heard horror stories from friends who have had their car broken into, or where the camera bag has been stolen during the shoot. This is why they take great care with their back-ups, but the underlying message to their workflow is: keep it simple!

What kit do Cinemate use for back-ups?

  • The SSD drives are SanDisk Extreme Pros. These are fast and robust so if they’re dropped there shouldn’t be any damage to the data
  • The office hard drives are Western Digitals. These aren’t robust like the Extreme Pros but they’re designed to be desktop hard drives—they’re never removed from the office
  • The cards they use are ProGrade SD cards. Cinemate utilise in-camera dual card slots so there’s a back-up should one card fail
  • Google Drive is used for online back-ups

Ashley’s experience having her kit stolen

Ashley has worked in insurance for years and has noticed it can take a bad experience before you review your workflow and tighten things up.

Before Ashley worked in insurance she was a photographer. Whilst on holiday her house was broken into and her kit bag was stolen. Inside the camera bag was a card holder with a recent wedding. Hard drives with the photos backed-up were kept next to the camera bag.

The laptop was usually in the wedding bag, but fortunately Ashley had taken the laptop on holiday. The outcome wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but this one event highlighted how fragile Ashley’s workflow was. Three copies of client photos could have easily been stolen.

Lessons learned? Keep hard copies in different locations. Always import or back-up client work as soon as possible.

What is the cost of backing up work?

Cinemate pay £60/month for Google Drive and each SSD costs £100 (remember they use two SSDs per wedding!). It’s not cheap, but let’s look at the cost of not backing up your work.

One of the most common claims at With Jack is data reconstitution. If an item suffers accidental damage and the data becomes corrupt or lost, the insurer can pay for data recovery costs. These claims are anywhere between £1200-£5000.

One customer lost all of their footage immediately after their shoot due to a damaged hard drive. Data recovery costs were about £5000, but the recovery process wasn’t successful. The client responded negatively and looked to recover the costs of the shoot from the freelancer. Their professional indemnity insurance helped with this, and between both claims the cost totalled £9000.

The insurer covered this, but it highlights the price you may have to pay if not backing-up of your work.

How long should you keep client data?

This should be specified in your contract. Cinemate say they’ll keep raw footage and the final edit for 1 year. Clarifying this in their contract helps to set expectations.

They do keep edits for as long as possible and have had customers approach them years later due to losing their film. Having a copy allows Cinemate to be a hero and “adds to the customer experience”.

From an insurance perspective it’s a good idea to accept responsibility for client data for a specified period of time. Make sure this is communicated with the client in your contract. For example, “We will retain assets for 1 year from X date. After 1 year it is your responsibility to make sure your assets are safe and you have back-ups”.

If you’ve started freelancing and are panicking that you don’t have a contract, you can approach past clients to give them plenty of notice that you’ll be removing their files / footage / deliverables. Give them a sufficient notice period so they can download and make copies.

And remember, keep it simple!

We asked ourselves one important question…

What do we want out of an insurance provider?

With Jack is the answer