What Is the Most Efficient Backup Workflow for Filmmakers and Photographers?

Cloud storage can get complicated for filmmakers and photographers because of the enormous files they deal with. NAS drives can help if they are used properly..

Filmmakers and photographers use an enormous amount of storage space. High-res photos and 8K video footage add up quickly to full hard drives. Unfortunately, the need of these creators for massive files doesn’t scale well with the existing cloud storage options available to them.

That creators need a cloud storage solution is without question. Anyone who has lost even a single file due to a lack of backups knows precisely how valuable they are.

Storing content on the cloud has other benefits, such as more reliable hardware, and the ability to access files from anywhere — an essential need for creatives who travel a lot.

One important yet oft-overlooked benefit of shifting files to the cloud is that it frees up local hard disk space, making the NAS drive faster, an essential requirement for video and photo editing.

The problem with traditional cloud storage backups for creatives

There are three primary problems with the cloud storage solutions currently available to creatives:

  • Lack of space
  • Price (the more cloud storage space creatives need, the more they will have to pay for that space)
  • Ease-of-use


Filmmakers and photographers are less likely to find solutions like Dropbox and Google Drive as user-friendly as standard users. These solutions upload content onto their servers from a specific folder on a specific computer, but creatives typically have files stored on multiple computers, SD cards, phones, cameras, external hard drives, and so on. Constantly having to copy that content onto a single specific folder is a workflow that eventually fails because it is cumbersome.

Upload speed

Another problem with cloud storage is that uploading enormous amounts of data can slow your computer down tremendously — not only in terms of bandwidth, but also in the central processing unit (CPU) speed.

Cloud storage providers usually upload file changes instantly. They do this following an optimized algorithm that doesn’t upload the entire file for every change, but only the modified parts of it. On a file that is being actively worked on and changes saved every few seconds, the cloud storage device will continuously work to upload those changes, thereby taking valuable CPU power from the machine which could be used for something else, such as faster video edits.

And when first loading files onto the computer, the cloud storage provider must upload the entire file to the cloud server. If you have shot several gigs of footage, this could take quite some time, clogging up the CPU, and preventing you from working efficiently with those files locally while they upload.

“Hot” and “cold” files

It’s important to understand the concept of hot and cold files.

Hot files are those files that are actively being worked on and are needed almost instantly. Cold files are the opposite, such as archives of past projects. They are stored away somewhere safe, and immediate access to them is not necessary.

When working out your storage strategy, separating hot and cold files is pivotal. One potential strategy is to upload hot files to the cloud so you can access them from anywhere instantly, and then upload cold files later on an automated schedule when CPU power and bandwidth aren’t so essential.

Why NAS devices make sense as a partial backup solution

A NAS — network-attached storage — device solves at least some of a creators’ problems.

NASes are special devices that connect to a local computer network, and come prepackaged with custom software to backup content from different devices. They also contain syncing software to upload content to a creator’s favorite cloud storage provider.

NAS devices don’t have to come with a specific hard drive inside them; these can be purchased separately. And it is possible to add multiple hard drives of many terabytes to a NAS. A creator can plug in their camera, computer, phone, or any other device, and have the content automatically copied up to the NAS device without much worry about space.

Two popular NAS device manufacturers are Synology and QNAP. These devices are robust and come prepackaged with useful software to automate one’s backups.

One important thing to understand about NASes is that storing too many files on them can reduce their speed, thereby slowing down the editing process. Having too many files on a NAS also means you will need a second, third, fourth NAS to keep up storage. The costs quickly add up.

Although many filmmakers use a NAS as their backup solution, few understand the importance of maintaining a light local load to ensure editing remains fast and to reduce the costs of needing to buy additional devices.

Cost-efficiently uploading NAS content to the cloud

Even with an excellent NAS solution, the need for a cloud backup is still essential as a failsafe, and also to be able to access those files from anywhere. (It is possible to directly access a NAS remotely but it is much more secure to keep that NAS locked down and rather access files via a cloud storage provider’s interface.)

The best current solution for massive, cost-effective cloud storage is Web 3.0 cloud storage — a next-gen cloud storage solution that utilizes a decentralized pattern for backing up files to the cloud.

Web 3.0 storage is extremely affordable compared with mainstream storage providers, and it also offers virtually limitless space because that space is shared across billions of computers in a decentralized manner.

The trick would be to back up those NAS files to this Web 3.0 storage on a schedule, during a time when you are not working on those files so that the syncing procedure doesn’t clog up your bandwidth or slow down your CPU.

For maximum efficiency, you should also separate your hot and cold files so that the hot files get uploaded first, or vice versa, depending on the strategy you prefer.

Moving cold files out of a NAS first means that the drive is kept light and fast. Syncing hot files first means they will be accessible immediately via the cloud storage provider’s interface. This is important if you are working as a team from remote locations and all need access to the file. In both cases, Mineral can help.

Mineral is a new cloud optimization tool that allows people to maximize their cloud storage potential while keeping their costs low. Currently, Mineral does this by automatically syncing cold files to its specially configured multiple cloud storages, and these files will very soon be synced and automatically optimized onto Web 3.0 storage, all taken care of by Mineral’s algorithms that will detect file usage frequency. Those files which are rarely used are sent to Web 3.0 storage.

Mineral — which is currently entirely free — works innately with Synology and QNAP NAS drives out-of-the-box, and configuring these to sync with Mineral is as easy as setting up a few quick options.

To start syncing your QNAP or Synology NAS devices with cost-efficient Web 3.0 cloud storage, managed automatically by Mineral, you can have a look at our detailed tutorials here:

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