Articles, Blog

How to Backup Video Projects and Archive Completed Videos

October 31, 2019

– Hey it’s Justin Brown
here from Primal Video. One of the questions I get
asked about all the time is in regards to backups,
how do I back up my videos? How do I backup my videos
for the YouTube channel, how do I backup my corporate
and documentary work? So I thought, in this
video, I’d run you through three ways that you can create backups or archive versions of your videos. Okay, so you’ve just finished
your video masterpiece, whether it’s a YouTube video or whether it’s a full on feature film. What I recommend everyone
do, and this is option one, is to create a master
version of that video. This is typically the
version that you will upload to YouTube or to Vimeo, but it’s something that you should definitely keep, as the highest quality
version of the video that you’ve created. So, when you’re exporting, Pick the best quality settings
that you can for your video. So what you’ll end up with there is an archive-able master
file in the best quality, best resolution, for the
video that you’ve created. Beyond that, you’ll have to
ask yourself the question or figure out the
likelihood that you’ll ever have to open up that video
editing project ever again. If you never, ever will be opening up that video editing project again, then that one archive-able,
full quality master of your video may be enough. In the case of these YouTube videos, that is exactly the process. For every video, we export
a full quality master and we save that, and we back that up. Our backups go to Google
Drive, and they go to Dropbox, and we’ve also got a physical drive that we copy everything off to, and put it on the shelf in the cupboard. So besides backing up our B roll footage or our overlay footage,
footage that could be used in another video down the track, the rest of the editing project,
it is extremely unlikely that we will ever need to reopen that and make changes, and then save out another version of these videos. So then after about three weeks, so we’ve given the video
some time to settle, to get some comments and
feedback and everything, we will then delete
all of the projects and all of the files
associated with that video that are no longer needed. Because the chances of us
ever needing to go back and open and make any changes
is probably next to nothing, so we don’t bother keeping them. So that’s the main question
you’ll have to ask yourself. Now if you’ve answered
yes to that question, and there is a chance that you’ll need to go back and re-edit or make any changes to
that video at a later date, or you just want to make
sure that you’re saving everything with the video
project that you’ve created, then you should look at
step two and step three. Now step two is to do a total backup or a full back up of your file
and folder tree structure. So when you’re creating
your editing project, it’s really good practice to create a folder on your computer where everything for that
editing project goes into. I’ll link up on screen now
a video we did a while back talking about file and folder structures for your video editing projects. So in this folder should be
everything that you’ve used for your video editing project, all your music, your
graphics, your animations, your project files for the actual edit, everything in the one folder. And then it’s just a matter
of backing up that folder to something like an external
drive or some cloud storage depending on how big that is. Now the biggest thing
you’ll notice with step two versus step one is the
file size difference. Exporting only the finished product is going to give you a
much, much smaller file or smaller backup than backing up every file that you used
in your entire edit. Even if you’ve got a one hour
video that you’ve ended up using two seconds of in
your finished product, then method two will back up that entire one hour file as well, even though you only used a short portion of it. So now onto option three,
and this is actually a tool that’s built into most professional video editing
software, and it’s called media management, or project management. So what this does is you can either pick your entire video editing project from within your video editing software and choose to export, or
consolidate is what it’s called, all of the files into a new folder. So the beauty of this method is it’ll copy your footage, from no matter where it’s located, and where it’s linked
to or brought into your editing project, it’ll copy
everything that you’ve used into a new folder, that
you can then back up. And that folder will contain everything that is used in your
video editing project. Depending on your editing software, you can also do this on a timeline, or on a sequence basis. So if you’ve got a huge
overall video editing project and might have 10
different videos inside it, if you only want to export or backup one of those timelines,
or one of those videos. In a lot of cases, now a lot of programs, you can just pick that one timeline and you can media manage or consolidate just the files that were
used in that timeline. So not everything from the entire project, just every little clip,
every little sound effect, every little bit of music,
every graphic that was used in that one timeline, you can pull out and it will copy, and it
leaves everything else intact, to a new folder, that you can then backup. Now this is a great way to move projects between different editors as well, because you’re only transferring the data that’s actually used, not
the whole heap of extra data that just happened to be
sitting in the project that may or may not have been used. Now this is something that
you can do in Final Cut, in Premiere, in Avid, you’ll find it in most professional
video editing software. But one step up from that, again, is that, in some cases
and with some programs you’ll actually have the
option to specify handles. Now what handles let you do, is if you’ve only used a small portion of a much larger clip in your end product, you can create handles, whereas it’ll only take the piece that you’ve used, and it would take a little bit, a handle, on either side, so you can choose five frames or 10 frames. So you’re taking slightly
more than what was used in your finished timeline,
so in case you’ve got to go back and edit again, you’ve got a little bit more wiggle room, in case you’ve got to
apply and transitions or any effects, or you want to make any slight changes to that edit, you’ve got a bit more footage
without having to export the entire clip when you’ve only used a short portion of it. So that was a pretty quick run through of three ways to backup
your editing projects. I would highly recommend that everyone at least does step one,
and if you need to do it, depending on the project, look at step two or step three as well. If you found this video helpful, we’d really appreciate a thumbs up and make sure you click that big subscribe button if you haven’t already. If you’re looking to streamline
your editing process, and you’re looking for the
most efficient editing process, then check out the link on screen now to our free PDF download. I’ll see you soon.


  • Reply AnjinhaGamerBr January 6, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    Passem no meu canal e realizem meu sonho de conquistar 100 subs obrigado pela atenção e tchau <3

  • Reply Kalab Templeman Vlogs & Tech January 6, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    what is the music used in this video?

  • Reply Pritesh Palan January 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Simplified and well explained. Thank You.

  • Reply alittleolder January 6, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I do the same. The master goes on the NAS immediately. the project itself stays on the computer for a few weeks and then gets removed. I was keeping everything for a while but that proved to be way too much data. But keeping the project for about a month is pretty important.

  • Reply EpicMango January 6, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Video files are huge. My 500 gb ssd is not enough I need something bigger

  • Reply Dude with a Dog January 6, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    The issue with FCP X Master Files is that the file size will be around 10x larger than what I upload to YouTube which is export for "Computer" at highest settings. I think you meant "not for YouTube" on your Master file comment, by the way… it's way too large to upload there.
    I as of yet have to create a permanent master file archive, but incidentally have been considering implementing it in my workflow just last week, and now your video is synchronously nudging me towards that.

    I much disagree that discarding the project file makes sense, as the essence of the project file is tiny, only having directions for the NLE software on that do do and which files to access. Rather, it makes most sense to flush Render, Proxy, Flow and Optimized files inside that project file, which will offer amazing space savings and those are files the NLE will recreate when needed, so it's no permanent information loss. Instead of doing this flushing manually (on Mac, "show package contents" on the project file, then deleting the Proxy etc. folders), I use Final Cut Library Manager to flush those.

    Hope this helps, thanks for the video, and please do return the love and check out some of my videos (and comment if you like ;).

  • Reply Terry Lyle January 7, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Perfect timing for this one Justin! I'm just getting into vidoes and was saving everything but the file sizes are massive. This is just the advice I was needing right now. The info about consolidating was very helpful. Many thanks!

  • Reply ck bhall January 7, 2017 at 6:42 am

    awesome tips . really helpful not just in theory also in practical too .

  • Reply JDave Foster January 7, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    All digital storage media have an expected life of maximum about 10 years, while film can last over 100 years. One hundred years from now, will anyone be able to watch our current videos?

  • Reply Ravin Chandra January 8, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Hi Justin if you have a 2015 13" MBP and a 2016 MBP 13", both i5 variants, could you compare the video editing performance in FCP. Do you feel that 2015 13" MBP would be enough to do 1080p video editing? I won't be using it professionally. Mostly YT videos and small editing projects.

  • Reply Mike Haines January 8, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks Justin some great tips. I never knew about the ability to back up just a particular timeline and only the files it uses – I can see that I'll use that!

    Sometimes the projects I work on last for many weeks and I use the old robocopy DOS cmd to copy only changed files to a 1tb drive at the end of each edit. That way I know I have all of my latest project work saved. Cheers Mike.

  • Reply Himalayan Roads January 16, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks! That was really helpful 🙂

  • Reply Kasim Abid August 23, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    very good explanation,

  • Reply PartyOn Brother January 30, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    This was helpful, thanks!

  • Reply SoloSphere Entertainment April 2, 2018 at 7:37 am

    how do i back up all my porn??

  • Reply Dark Horse April 6, 2018 at 5:39 am

    This is extremely helpful right now as I am starting my documentary which will take close to one year to complete but want to have smaller portions to upload weekly for my channel.
    Sorry I had to re subscribe must have hit the wrong button by mistake.
    So do appreciate you and your channel.
    Cheers, Pete

  • Reply Mark Henry Cooney May 10, 2018 at 5:17 am

    Dang it, I thought this was for Premiere Users.

  • Reply DutchAussieProductions July 16, 2018 at 7:45 am

    Thanks Justin. I have just started using Final Cut Pro X and the information you supplied about FCP in this vdeo was very timely. Your efforts are very much appreciated.

  • Reply vikrant September 15, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I accidentally deleted my version of *How to backup your video project*'s original video files, Embarrassing 😓.

  • Reply Robert Hawtin November 26, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Hmm, if you never, ever, want to open the project again …….. I suppose, though, that you might NEED, but not WANT to ……

  • Reply The Begg Family Antics December 11, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Highly appreciated. I did wonder what Consolidate in FCPX meant and will pursue that option further.

  • Reply Michael Frymus January 11, 2019 at 12:30 am

    My problem is:
    I have a folder on my hard drive with subfolders with everything that the video project contains (video clips, music, graphics, etc.)
    I tend to just move the folder from the hard drive ive been using to edit and move it into a Raid archive hard drive system I have.
    But, if I ever want to go back into my project file, everything is offline. Yes, the files are all there, but I have to connect the files back again.
    Does this always happen?
    Is there a way to prevent it from doing that and having to connect again?
    And what about cloud storage?
    I want to save my work to my Raid for a physical copy, but I also want it to automatically upload to the cloud, and if any changes are made to my raid system, the cloud will update.
    Is that a think?
    How do I get the cloud?

  • Reply Smithi Skunnawat March 16, 2019 at 6:34 am

    I came here to figure out how people afforded keeping so much footage and realized I'm just too poor to buy big hard drives, because that's what this video assumes people already do.

  • Reply Kelly Shockley April 17, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    Hey Justin – I just joined your primal video accelerator course. Amazing content.

    If I just want to export a master file in Premier Pro what are the best settings? FCP has the Master File option, but I'm not seeing that in Premier Pro.


  • Reply CRYNMA May 5, 2019 at 6:01 am

    Great video. I got a question: I’m archiving a project of about 11TB data, do you know or use any software to safely transfer those amount data to another hard drive instead of just copying and pasting? Can you share some experience like this case?

  • Reply Dylan Galvin July 5, 2019 at 6:07 pm

    Why not just keep the project library (I'm using Final Cut Pro X – can't afford the Adobe subscription) and if need be, then edit, re-render and upload?

    My only issue with keeping master files is because I use lots of LUTS and layer or color corrects and edits, some of my uncompressed videos are stupid huge. Sometimes they are like 50+GB. I could only store a few of these on my hard drive before it's full.  

    Wouldn't it be good to just keep the project library on standby for a few weeks after uploading to youtube, then if need be make tweaks, re-upload and then take the project and archive it on an external hard drive when you know you won't need to do anything else? Also once you render a master file, it's pretty much as-is. Isn't it easier to edit if you just keep your project rather than a rendered file? I'm still a first year student of the art of video so maybe I'm missing something.

    Thank you for all your vids! I bought my first tripod via your recommendation!


  • Reply Kelly Joanne July 28, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Thank You!

  • Reply shaimondp September 1, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks, this was helpful.

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