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Tech-y Rant/Cautionary Tale
Old 08-15-2004, 04:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Okay, no sooner do I have my first "formal" shooting session than I realise that, yes, it's Time To Spend More Money. This sad tale will edify and horrify those of you who are transitioning, or considering transitioning, to digital, perhaps, but if I get just one of you to shell out for a REALLY big hard drive, and a DVD-burner right from the start, it will be worth it.

Anyway, I thought I was fine, I really did. G4 PowerMac with 768MB RAM, 130GB total hard drive space. Granted, only about 30GB free total, but I can work with that. Do sessions, do the work, when I'm happy, catalog with JPG's and move the real files (RAW and PSD) to CD's.

Uh-uh.

That's a big negatory, good buddy.

It ain't happenin'. Here's why:

Filled up all my "main" chips yesterday with RAW images. That's roughly 160 shots, give or take. I had two more chips in reserve, and I could have dumped chips into my computer, but I thought that was about good. So, roughly 1 GB of raw images. Here we go...

Dump chips direct to main working drive. 1GB gone off it. Only 2.5GB left. Well, that should be plenty to work in.

Dump chips direct to backup storage drive. (A physically separate hard drive.) Another 1GB gone. Plenty room on there, though.

Burn *unopened and untouched* RAW images to CD's. 2 CD's used up already just on RAW. That's okay, they're cheap.

Okay, let's start to browsin'. Hey, a few of these are actually good! Let's move 'em into PSD. Let's do 16-bit, just for fun - what was the point of dropping that moola on CS, after all?

Hmmm. A 6MB RAW image becomes a *36MB* PSD in 16-bit RGB. Oh, Lordy. This is gonna add up quick. Going through first roll[1]... going through second roll. Already up to 30 PSD imports. That's... *figures* 1080 MB or another 1GB. Already this *single shoot* is over 2GB on HD, would take 4 CD's to archive, and that's before *any work,* and, by the way, there's another roll of pics to go through.

I concede defeat. I need a DVD burner, and I need one right now. I gotta get some stuff off my HD's, and I need a high-capacity backup device. But wait! The day is saved! Fry's Electronics has just opened a megasuperdooperultraplex store a mere half-hour drive away! To the Marcmobile! No, wait, back to the Marc-cave for some tollway change! Okay, now back to the Marcmobile! Zoom, zoom, we're off to see the Wizard!

Okay, Fry's Electronics are HUGE. I was impressed. I'm not afraid to admit it. After wandering around for a while, I locate a huge shelf - and I mean HUGE, it was five rows high, and forty feet long - of CD/DVD writers. Back and forth. Any of these darn things labeled for Mac OSX? Of course not. Don't be silly. Well, here's one for only $69.99. No, wait! It's on sale, $59.99! It was meant to be. It's EIDE/ATA 33, which is the same interface the Mac uses. It'll work. It has to work!

Just for fun, I wander the Mac aisle looking for a Mac-compatible DVD burner. I'll let you guess how well that worked out.

Back to the Marcmobile... zoom, zoom... to the Marc-cave... in we go. I actually remember how the drive bay comes out this time. Old one out, new one in. Hook back up. Computer says, "Optical drive? What optical drive? You crazy."

Curses. Well, hold on. Maybe slave/master is set wrong. (HD on other port of ATA Bus-1 is not labeled: just guessed it was set to "master.") Open box. Move jumper. Close box. Power on. Computer says, "Oh, THAT optical drive. Why didn't you say so? You crazy." Loud cheers all around. Power off to button up everything.

Button up, reposition box, hook up, hit button. Nothing. #)(*&$(*$! Open box a crack to see if wires are all clear. Hit button. Startup. Close box. Poweroff. What the #)$(&#@(*&? Looking for loose wires... looking for something blocking fan intake... nothing. Wait, what's that? Holy pinchpoints! HD power cable is caught between halves of case and insulation is worn through, shorting to case! $#)(&)@#(&)(@#*_$$@#$#*! *Very carefully* leave case open, get electric tape. Inspect wire: appears to be reasonably sound, just insulation worn through. Lucky, LUCKY Marc that nothing got zapped or cooked. Tape up wire and tape to case so it won't do that again. Hook up, short prayer, hit button.

Bootup, no sweat. All drives reporting for duty. Toast says, "DVD-burner? No problem, Cap'n. Let's burn us a DVD!" Whoo-hoo!

So you see, you *don't* want to go through this. Just buy the DVD-burner and the big hard drive when you start, and get it over with. You'll be happier that way. Okay?

M


[1] I label each hundred shots as a "roll" for cataloging purposes. It Amuses me to do so. Obviously it has no connection whatsoever to actual rolls of film.

P.S. For those of you who made it this far, here's a sample pic:

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DVD burners can be scarey.
Old 08-15-2004, 04:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Did you pick up a DVD+R or a DVD-R?
Or did you get one that does both?

If you picked a DVD+R or a -R why did you choose the one you did?
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They don\'t scare ME.
Old 08-15-2004, 04:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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But then I am a professional geek. (I maintain a computer network at an industrial design firm. I do stuff like this all day long.)

The one I got is a dual-format (+/-). If I'd had to pick one or t'other, I'd have got a +, because that's what I have at my office. Also, I seem to have better luck playing burned DVD's in video DVD players using + format discs.

M
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....Yep.....Mmmm hmmmm........
Old 08-15-2004, 04:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yep, the LaCie firewire DVD burners have come down in price since I bought mine a short 8 months ago.. Also, firewire card readers are worth the extra few bucks...and I just learned of some new Iomega "disc" that can store something to the effect of 30gigs / "CD" I haven't seen anything mentioned about it in the recent Macmall.com catalog but I did see something in Mac Addict magazine.. The only thing is that before you burn a DVD....or even a CD, one must have the amount of storage space available that is on the disc it's self before attempting to burn one.. so, please don't fill up your HD and then try to burn... For one to take advantage of one of these megamamajama CD's, they must have a mamajama HD to begin with..

Yep..

JP
 
 
Re: Tech-y Rant/Cautionary Tale
Old 08-15-2004, 05:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Try shooting weddings for a living. I work part-time with a studio that does just that.. At the moment we are using about 2 TB, yes tera-bytes.. Everything is online but backed up to CD's and very soon.. DVD's..

For my own stuff I shoot everything RAW (NEF) so I have close to 500GB.. and backup to DVD.. I bought a +/-R drive as well.

Beat's the heck out of storing negatives, slides, and prints though..

Israel
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Don\'t you LOVE technology?
Old 08-15-2004, 05:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I replace my computer every 18 - 24 month whether I think it needs it or not. I know that the NEXT BIG THING courtesy of Microsquish is going to bite me BIG TIME if I'm not ahead of the game....

And an image for you:

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Re: They don\'t scare ME.
Old 08-15-2004, 05:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What is the difference between +, -, and +/-? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
Toad
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Re: They don\'t scare ME.
Old 08-15-2004, 06:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Slightly different writing mechanisms. Nothing that really impacts the actual user much, except that as I said + format seems to work better in video players, at least in my experience. Might's well buy a duallie, they don't cost any more. Cheapest one they had was a duallie.

M
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Re: They don\'t scare ME.
Old 08-15-2004, 07:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Marc, that sounds like very sound advice. When it comes to digital photography, we have had this problem for years. Who remembers SyQuest (or was it CyQuest) which held (at the time) an amazing 44 or 88 Megabyetes. Cd burners are great, now we are at the point that we need DVD burners. I'm just curious as to what's next.

Isaiah
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Re: you don\'t have to tell me.....
Old 08-15-2004, 07:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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After only two real shoots with my D70 (shooting RAW) I also knew I'd be in trouble so I went out and bought a new Dell PC - 2gb 533mhz RAM, 160gb HD (I can add more later), DVD burner, 3.4 chip. This one is going to do nothing but image processing, management and DVD burning. I'll keep the old one for internet, word processing and accounting. Now if I can only find the time to hook it up - its been sitting in my garage for a week.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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