Tips on Drone Data Storage
Any photographer or videographer will tell you about the importance of organising your photos and videos. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a photo you took six months ago that could be on any of ten SD cards all with thousands of videos and images.
In this post, we’ll be giving you our top tips on where to store your files and the different ways you can organise your data to help you keep track of what you need. These tips will apply to all drone pilots. We’ll be going from amateurs using their DJI Spark or Mavic Air who’re capturing images and video for fun; through to commercial drone pilots who’re using a Phantom 4 Pro or Inspire 2 to capture a huge range of data.
Keep reading to find our tips to help you keep your data organised.
Choose Where to Store Files
With the wide range of drones on the market, there’s also a lot of different ways you can store your drone media. Where you store your photos and videos will largely depend on the how long you’re keeping them for, the type of drone you’re using and the stage in your workflow.
Check out the different storage options available for you:
Internal Drone Storage
Internal drone storage was brought to the DJI range with their latest quadcopter, the DJI Mavic Air. The Mavic Air features 8 GB of internal storage and along with the standard micro SD card slot. Storage options can be selected in the DJI GO 4 app.
Internal storage is best-suited hobbyist users for short-term storage before editing. It’s recommended the internal space is cleared of data before taking the Mavic Air out and left as an option for additional storage.
It’s a handy new feature on the Mavic Air and will likely be included on future consumer drones from DJI.
The majority of drones use SD or micro SD cards as their standard storage option. The benefit of SD cards is they’re usually a relatively cheap option as well as easy to transport and store. They’re best suited to storing unedited footage straight from your drone for a mid-level duration, such as one to three months.
Make sure you label your SD cards to keep track of them. You should also format your SD cards before use to ensure there aren’t any errors.
You may also encounter a compact flash card if using advanced equipment with your drone such as a RED camera with a Matrice 600 Pro. This card is more advanced than a standard SD card but has the same functionality.
The DJI CINESSD is a data storage solution for the Inspire 2 when using the Zenmuse X5S or X7 along with a CinemaDNG or Apple ProRes licence. CINESSDs are available in 120GB, 240GB or 480GB capacities.
The CINESSDs allow you to achieve the best results with the Inspire 2 and capture a vast amount of data in the highest quality. Like SD cards, they’re suited to storing unedited footage for a mid-level timescale.
External Hard Drive
One of the main storage solutions for photographers and videographers is external hard drives. Hard drives are used following post-production to store both the edited and unedited files in one place. They’re usually available in high capacities and are easy to use and maintain.
Hard drives can be used for long-term data storage for archiving footage you don’t need to access every day.
Make sure you clearly label your hard drives. A preferred method for labelling is usually by year or type of work.
LaCie DJI Copilot
The Copilot is a 2TB advanced BOSS (Backup On-Set Solution) drive that takes hard drive data storage to a new level. Copilot allows you to transfer data without a computer quickly and easily. Simply insert your SD card or plug in a USB device to transfer data.
You can also manage and view your files whilst on the go as Copilot using the Copilot BOSS app. Photos and videos can be viewed labelled and deleted.
The Copilot is a medium-term storage option that is made to be used in the field. Store files you need access to and clear SD cards regularly and without any worry.
A common form of data storage that has advanced over recent years is cloud-based storage.
The benefits of using a cloud-based system is you can access your data anywhere in the world by logging on to your account. You also don’t have to physically store it like the other tools with have mentioned, completely removing the chance of physical damage or loss.
There are a multitude of different options for cloud storage so make sure you do your research to find the one that is best for you if you’re going down this route.
Cloud storage can be used for the long-term storage to store edited and unedited data. You can then access files whenever and wherever you need to.
Label and Organise Your Files
Once you’ve found a storage solution that suits you and your work, you need to find a way to label your files to keep track of them. This will help you organise and sort your files making it easy to find anything you need with a simple search.
A common filing system is to separate your images and video into separate shoots. You can then save each session chronologically by date with additional information such as the location of your shoot or the client it was for. This allows you to sort by date to find what you need or search client detail or locations.
Alternatively, if you capture a wide range of pictures and video of different kinds, you can separate files into categories. Folders like ‘Advert Work’, ‘Just for Fun’, ‘Inspections’, ‘Mapping’ and great for someone who works for a range of clients. You can then arrange into files by date or client to separate your work further.
Once you’ve decided on the category type, you can break down your files even further to help you stay organised. Separate your subfolders into file types like ‘Edited’, ‘RAW’, ‘Best’ or ‘Sent to Client’. This will save you searching through folders to find the best images from the shoot.
Find the way that works for you and stick to the format you decide, using the same name layout.
Backup Your Files
Do not learn this lesson the hard way; backup your files to avoid losing them. You can either choose two of the different storage tools from the above or just store two copies in different locations, but all of your files should be backed up.
Backing up will prevent the loss of data from file corruption, general loss and any physical damage to your storage location.
Your outlay may be slightly more when purchasing multiple storage locations but it’s definitely worthwhile to avoid losing your work.
Create a File Log
If you’re creating a lot of different files, it may also be beneficial to create a log of when your files are saved. You should use the same file name to make it easy to search and detail where the original and backup data has been saved.
This tip will likely only apply to commercial users and users with a lot of different data types that need to be organised. The log should be used to tie together the process of your data storage.
Using a log will allow you to keep complete control of your work, no matter how many files.
Only Keep the Good
The majority of photographers and videographers will capture a huge range of photos and video when on a shoot. This will likely include test and setup shots that will be of no use to anyone and can simply be deleted.
Additionally, there will likely be shots that aren’t a true reflection of your work. If the shots are bad and can’t be salvaged with editing, delete these too. Bad and unnecessary footage will just take up room on your device and clog up your folders making searching harder.
Please note, it’s always recommended you keep a copy of both the edited and unedited files for future changes.
Managing your drone data is vital for keeping your photos and videos organised as well as safe. Choose the right option for you that suits the type and volume of data you need to store.
Labelling is the key to organising files, making them easy to search to find whatever you need in a matter of seconds.
Avoid one of the worst things that can happen to a photographer or videographer; losing your photos and videos, by following the above tips.
Keep checking back to Heliguy’s Insider Blog for more announcements, insights into drones and, of course, the latest news from the drone industry.
David is Heliguy’s Blogger and Head of Digital Content Production. David keeps our readers up to date with drone news within the ever-changing industry.