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Author Topic: Virgin RAW, Adjusted RAW, and DNG backup  (Read 3473 times)
Joe Reifer
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« on: June 14, 2006, 12:29:09 PM »

After some issues awhile back with corrupted RAW files I started paying closer attention to how many software apps were touching my files in the workflow, and when.

Here's my current thinking:

1. Download to folder on computer from CF reader
2. Immediately backup that folder to an attached Firewire Drive - these files are untouched by any software.
3. When my buckets hit 4 GB, backup to DVD from the Firewire Drive (i.e. the untouched files)

Issue
1. With this workflow I would not be backing up my RAW adjustments anywhere.
(Both derivative and master files are backed up separately from the RAW files of course).

I have not converted to a DNG workflow yet. I am still working with RAW files.

Where in the workflow is the proper place to backup the adjustments? I feel more secure keeping a set of files untouched.

I have files:

1. On my computer harddrive
2. On a firewire harddrive
3. On DVD (kept off-site)

Should I add another firewire harddrive and keep one harddrive and the DVDs with virgin files, and the computer harddrive and other external harddrive with adjusted and renamed RAW files?

Thanks,

Joe
« Last Edit: June 14, 2006, 04:28:06 PM by joe r » Logged

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Joe Reifer
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 04:27:18 PM »

Additional Question: For those who have converted to a DNG workflow, but are also keeping copies of their RAW files, how do you manage your storage and backup of these files?

If I start converting to DNG:

1. Download to folder on computer from CF reader
2. Immediately backup RAW to Firewire Drive #1
3. Go through the rest of the workflow, including DNG conversion
4. Backup the DNGs to Firewire Drive #2 (stored off-site)
5. When the buckets fill up, archive the RAW files to DVD (stored off-site)

This system would account for redundancy with both RAW and DNG files, and have a copy of each type of file on and off-site.

Thanks,

Joe
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Marc Rochkind
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2006, 07:11:58 PM »

Joe--

A few of your steps are automated by ImageIngester (its own section on this forum), which can save the raws to one drive while it automatically runs DNG Converter and puts the DNGs on another drive. It does a lot more than that, too.

--Marc
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Joe Reifer
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 08:33:34 AM »

Hi Marc -

Thanks for the tip. I will take a look at ImageIngester to handle the "How."

I am interested to hear the "Where" and "When" as far as Virgin RAW, adjusted RAW, and DNG storage in a DAM system.

Thanks,

Joe
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AlanDunne
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2006, 02:02:12 PM »

Very good question Joe.

It is interesting how you separate virgin raw from adjusted raw. Different raw converters may have different strategies for how adjustments are saved. Perhaps someone will correct me on this detail, but ACR will never write any adjustments into a vendor's raw file, only into the sidecar xmp file In this case the virgin and adjusted raw files are one in the same, with only the creation of a sidecar file. For this workflow I would not keep a "virgin" copy of the raw file as a separate entity from the adjusted raw, each with their own backups, buckets, offline backups to write once media, etc. Once processed to a DNG file, adjustments can made and saved in the DNG file itself. Once converted to a DNG does it make sense to keep the camera vendor raw? That is discussed in Peter's book, and has been discussed elsewhere in the forum. If you believe that future raw converters that could only operate on the original vendor raw image will come along and you wil re-process those files in the future, then by all means you should treat the DNG and original raw (virgin and adjusted being the same thing with ACR) as separate entities for archiving, backup, etc.

Note other raw converters may differ. For Nikon NEF files, if Nikon Capture is used, then I am pretty sure that the adjustments are saved back in the NEF itself. While the Nikon s/w knows about any proprietary fields, it is certainly possible to still have some sort of file corruption through the act of writing to the file. In this case, the virgin raw and adjusted raw are different entities and I think your initial arguments are valid. I think you would want separate bucket hierarchies for the virgin raw and adjusted raw files to address your concerns. If you are sold on using the vendor s/w exclusively, then DNG may not makes sense. It becomes your judgement call.

I am not sure there is a perfect answer on this. I am following Peter's recommendation very closely, with one exception. I do all the adjustments on the original vendor raw in ACR before converting to DNG because re-building the embedded preview of the DNG is slow. When I do convert to DNG, with full size embedded preview, I am also embedding the origianl raw in the DNG (once of the DNG conversion options). This streamlines my file management because I have one file (DNG) to worry about, not two (or three if you consider the sidecar file). By embedding the original raw in the DNG, in theory this can be extracted from DNG in the future if I ever need the original for processing through a different raw converter, assuming the file format is still supported. This is a belt and suspenders approach.

I compensate for the added cost of larger disk space by ensuring that my investment portfolio includes disk and optical media suppliers  Wink

Cheers ... Al

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Joe Reifer
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 03:26:57 PM »

Thanks Alan.

Maybe I am overreacting to the RAW file corruption I experienced awhile back by considering separating out Virgin RAW files.  Wink
But if I waited until after my RAW files were adjusted to back them up, 2 pieces of software (Adobe Bridge and iView Media Pro) would have touched the files.

Peter actually does recommend adjusting the RAW files before DNG conversion due to the performance issue around embedded previews - which makes a lot of sense.

I adjust anything rated 2 stars or more in Camera RAW as part of my current workflow, and plan to either keep or embed the original RAW of anything rated 2 or more when I convert to a DNG workflow.

Anyone else keeping Virgin RAW files as part of their workflow? If so, where are you keeping them?
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Joe Reifer
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2006, 11:59:46 AM »

I've been pondering this situation a bit more. I went back to my notes I took when I read the DAM Book, and also looked at the DAM notebook I've been using over the last few months. The answer seems kind of obvious now - move to a DNG workflow.

1. RAW file integrity is confirmed in Bridge
2. RAW file integrity is confirmed a second time when converting to DNG
3. The DNGs are backed up right away
4. There is no worry about virgin vs. adjusted files because the adjustments are contained within the DNG

5. I will either embed or keep the original RAW files for highly rated images
6. I will go on a long DAM journey and arrive at my own conclusion that Peter's workflow makes a whole lotta sense.  Grin

Thanks for letting me think out loud here folks!

Cheers,

Joe
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