If you own an action camera such as GoPro, Eken, ThiEYE, SJCAM, etc, there’s definitely footages that you want to keep for life because the experience or holiday trip that you went through only happens once in a lifetime and it’s really valuable to you. I personally have quite a few so I understand how important it is to keep them safely and share them with your friends or families! 🙂
However, in order for that, you’ll need a reliable medium to store those memories, to relive that memory and share it with your grandchildren in the far future (assuming you are a young adult). Without proper storage techniques, you can lose your data very easily.
I personally have lost some of my previous footages because I stored it in a HDD (explained below) and left it there for a few years. After that period of time, I tried to retrieve my data back, but I realised it was ‘dead’. In other words, all my data was gone. There’s really no way to ‘revive’ a hard disk. Hence, I have decided to write this article so you will not make the mistake that I previously did and lose the data that you personally cherish.
Anyways, moving on, in this article, we’ll be discussing on how you can store your once in a lifetime footages reliably and for a long time using external hard disks and online storage services.
Using External Hard Drive
This is the most straightforward and practical approach to storing your footages here.
To introduce external hard drive to you simply, there are 2 main types, hard disk drive (HDD) and solid state drive (SSD).
SSDs are slowly and steadily becoming more popular as an increasing number of laptop and desktop manufacturers are using it in their computers.
Furthermore, SSDs are also very new (few years) when compared to magnetic media storage (50+ years).
SSD vs HDD
Usually, to consider the life duration, professionals use the amount of data it can write before it fails, to determine the life expectancy.
For HDD, there are many factors such as the brand, type and environment that determines when it fails because it is very mechanical when compared to SSDs. But according to a study by Backblaze, on average, most hard disks last about 6 years on average used by a typical consumer.
However, on the other hand, SSD on average can find 800 TB of data without failing, meaning to say even if you transfer 20GB-40GB per day, which is already way more than a typical consumer, it can last for 50 years before it fails.
SSD comes more compact than HDD because there are more mechanical parts in an HDD, including a rotating platter, but for SSD, there are many microchips and a controller, which doesn’t take much space and power consumption.
How It Works
SSDs use a controller similar to USB sticks and memory cards. The data is stored in microchips, making it fully electronic.
The controller act like a motherboard in a computer, making decisions for the SSD and deciding what data is going to store where. Most SSDs nowadays also have controllers that will stop reading and writing data before its life ends. This is so that the SSD will not fail when you do not expect it, making it very reliable to use.
On the other hand, HDDs use magnetism to store data on a platter (disc shaped). There is also a mechanical arm similar to ones in disco record player to read and write data on the platter. Most HDDs spin at a rate of about 6000rpm but enterprise ones can go up to 15000rpm. The faster the platter spins, the faster the data can be written and read.
Speed wise, it is clear to say that SSD performs way faster than HDD. This is due to the fact that SSD uses a controller and require way less labour or physical movement to retrieve the data. You must also remember that electronics are always faster when compared to mechanical things. It’s like you going to the library and walking around to find the book as compared to reserving it beforehand and immediately being able to take the book. Which is faster? Of course, you reserving it.
With all the pros of SSD, there is a con. SSDs are more expensive than HDDs due to it using a new technology. However, it is constantly becoming cheaper and more affordable as the year passes.
Ultimately, which should you get?
If you don’t have much that you want to store (less than 1TB) and want a reliable and fast option, go for SSDs.
However, if you have lots of storage (TBs range) and want a cheap option, choose HDDs.
Having said that, below are my top 2 recommendations for the best external hard drives for data storage for both HDDs and SSDs.
Best SSDs for your money
This SSD costs less than $150 and for its price and reliability, it really is very worth for its value. It is one of the most compact, fastest SSD in the market not to mention it is also pretty rugged, being able to survive jostling and damp when other drives simply cannot make the cut. It weighs 1.1 oz (32g) and able to fit in your palms. All of this makes it a great option for travelling.
As far as speed goes, it is also one of the fastest drives out there already and uses a type c port too.
The T3 SSD is overall very durable and has a pretty well-built interface system to work with. Speed wise, it is one of the fastest in the market. It also uses a USB Type C Port, which makes it last a long longer and relevant as the future seems to be heading towards USB Type C ports. Furthermore, it is also complemented by a very cool and rugged design. It has many sizes all the way from 250GB to 2 TB, but it seems that the 500 GB one is the most worth in value.
Best HDDs for your money
1. Seagate Backup Plus Fast Hard Drive 2 TB – 70 USD ($35/TB) (Best for portability and convenience)
This is my recommendation if you want something that is reliable and portable to store. It has a very fast speed performance comparing to other HDDs and it’s the best value in my opinion. It also comes with a backup software which makes it very convenient to transfer all your photos and videos. It comes with a 3 years warranty too.
The Backup Plus Fast comes in 4 capacities, 1 TB (55 USD) , 2 TB(70 USD), 4 TB(110USD) and 5 TB(140 USD) . The 4 TB is also slightly thicker than the 1TB and 2TB drives but is still very portable and can be fit easily into your pocket.
This is the cheapest 4TB hard drive in the market. It has the performance, speed, reliability of other more costly drives and basically does what it is supposed to do. However, it is a little bulky and requires external power, thus not making an ideal choice for travelling, but instead being better off at a desk. It uses a USB 3.0 type connector and only comes in 1 capacity, 4 TB at $100 on Amazon.
Storing It Online – Cloud Storage
Lately, more and more users are steadily moving towards online or cloud storage because it is more convenient and getting cheaper.
Because it’s in the ‘cloud’, you do not have to bring your HD around and yet still have access to it anywhere as long as you are connected to the internet. It also lets you view it on any of your phones and tablets very easily and sharing through social media are also much easier because of that.
It is also generally more reliable than external HDs (above) because many companies do actually keep multiple copies of your data in the ‘cloud’ so in the event that it fails, it still has a backup of it.
As far as pricing goes, it is cheaper than both SSDs and HDDs because it is charged on a yearly basis (similar to renting), unlike hard drive where you’ll just have to buy it and pay it one-time.
Having said that, below are my best cloud storage sites for your storing your videos and pictures.
If you do have a Google account, you should already have this.
I’d recommend you to create a new Google account and dedicate the whole account to your videos and photos because it can be quite a hassle to mix with your personal account.
It comes with 15GB free and if you wish to upgrade and add on your storage, these are the pricing. Having said that, if you just upload your very important footages inside, it should suffice.
100 GB/Year – $19.99 (20¢/GB)
1 TB/Year – $99.99 (10¢/GB)
iDrive has one of the most attractive pricing plans out there now and because of that, it is also one of the best options if you want to backup your files. It also gives you 5GB of free storage when you sign up.
Furthermore, you can also access and add your files on any of your devices, making it a very versatile cloud service to use.
The pricing are as follows.
What about leaving it in your memory cards?
If you were thinking of keeping the memory cards and buying every time space runs out, sad to say, it’s not very practical.
Firstly, after a while, it will get a bit messy after the cards start to accumulate and when that happens, it starts to get missing and very difficult to manage, unless you really keep good care of it and store it in cases like this.
Secondly, the data retention time of micro-sd cards, which are used in all action cameras, is only about 5 years. Meaning to say it is about 5 years after you write the data before it vanishes or erases. Furthermore, since you won’t check on it regularly, it’ll be no surprise if you realised it years after the data is erased.
Thirdly, if you are a thrifty person, constantly buying Micro-SD cards can be quite costly as memory cards cost more than SSD, averaging 40¢/GB as compared to SSD which costs 30¢/GB. Furthermore, the difference can be huge when it goes to the 100GBs range.
Hence, unless you know what you are doing, I don’t recommend you leaving your data in your memory cards.
Side note: If you are looking for a good yet cheap memory card for your action cam, I’d recommend the Samsung Evo Select 64 GB – $23 on Amazon which costs about 35¢/GB and is really cheap for its speed. Overall best micro-sd card in terms of value in my opinion as I personally use it myself.
Working around a lack of computer
Some people don’t have a computer because they simply don’t need it or don’t bring it to long holidays. If you fall into this category, don’t worry there is a simple alternative.
You’ll need to buy a reader (such as Kingston MobileLite Wireless G3 (65 USD on Ebay) that acts as a bridge to transfer your data from your memory card to your external hard drive. Hence, you’ll still need to buy an external hard disk. (sniffs…sniffs)
This is also useful to transfer to your external HD if you are travelling for a long period of time as carrying a computer may be a little bulky.
Below is a simple video on the how you can use the mobile reader by IFTi’s Tech Corner.
My Best Advice
What I recommend for most typical consumers would be to have multiple sources to store your media. For me, I personally use a SSD to store all my media and for the really important clips, I store it online into Google Drive and iDrive free cloud storage space. That way, I can store your media most reliably and at the same time in the most cost effective manner.
To conclude, there are many ways to store your footages. It all depends on your needs and determining which suits you the best. Also, when buying, you must think of the long-term benefit of it and invest accordingly.
You do not want to regret it because you did not store them properly after losing your once in a lifetime footage!
That comes to the end of my article. If you have any questions, comments, or wish to share on how you backup your data, feel free to comment down below! I’ll really value it! Thanks for reading and have a nice day!