Whether you’re shooting on a Sony HD video camera or using your smartphone, finding an effective way to protect your digital footage should be on the to-do list of any videographer, amateur or professional. It’s equally important for those with digital movie libraries, whether purchased or acquired via torrent.
While cloud storage is one approach to keeping your collection safe, using dedicated backup software able to automate video backup is by far the better choice.
We’ll talk about why that is in a moment. We’ll also delve into the more critical decision of local versus online backup, before demonstrating two choice software options and the steps involved to automatically backup videos in case your hard drive decides to roll its own credits.
For shutterbugs, we have a similar article on how to automatically backup photos. We also have an article on the best cloud storage for video, though, as mentioned, that’s probably not the best approach to ensuring that you’re never left trying to reclaim your losses with data recovery software.
The Benefits of Online Backup for Video
You’ll find many capable solutions that can be used to protect your videos in our best online backup guide. The benefits of using an online backup solution over cloud storage are that cloud storage takes a lot more work to ensure your hard drive is faithfully replicated.
You can read up some more on the differences between online backup and cloud storage in our article dedicated to that subject. The quick version, however, is that online backup solutions can be set to backup specific folders or even your entire file system automatically, while cloud storage depends on a sync folder that you have to move files into manually.
With online backup, you can often set the software to include or exclude certain file types automatically, too, so you can build your backup plan solely around your video collection if so desired.
Most decent online backup solutions also support continuous backup, meaning videos are sent to the cloud as they’re added to your hard drive and as they’re edited or otherwise changed.
For those that frequently edit their video footage, online backup tools tend to more often support block-level backup than cloud storage. That’s important, as without this feature, whenever you make an edit, your entire video would be backed up all over again. With block-level backup, only the changed parts of the video get replaced.
The Disadvantage of Online Backup for Video: Speed
That brings us to the major problem of online backup, particularly for large files (like videos): such solutions can be really, really slow. While block-level backup helps with edited films, you still have to get through that initial backup. If you’re trying to upload several terabytes, that could mean days or even weeks.
Online backup speed, as you can read about in our article on how long your backup should take, ranks as one of the biggest complaints users have with cloud-based backup software in general. Unfortunately, if the cloud is your aim, the only thing you can really do is spend more money on a backup solution with better infrastructure (that usually means more data centers).
For that reason, many video buffs prefer to keep their collections local, making use of standalone external hard drives or network-attached storage (NAS) devices. Both solutions are reasonably cheap to invest in these days and backing up locally is much faster than backing up to the cloud.
The disadvantage of going local is that, just like your computer or mobile device, local backup solutions can be damaged by water, heat or otherwise, and aren’t built to last forever. The servers used for online backup are housed in climate-controlled data centers to reduce such risks.
Moreover, such solutions are almost always built for failover, with three or more copies of your files secured on different servers for redundancy. Check out our article on RAID for a better idea of how that’s accomplished, or our article on data center security.
Online Backup and Local Backup Together
Given the distinct advantages or disadvantages of online and local backup, usually, the best approach is to use both. Doing so means you’ll be following the so-called 3-2-1 rule of backup by building a hybrid backup plan.
Because incorporating both can mean more work if you choose the wrong solutions, we recommend finding a solution that, at least, partially supports hybrid backup.
For value-seekers, one of the best for that is IDrive, which we detail in our IDrive review. IDrive provides 2TB of backup for just over $50 per year for the first year, or 4TB of backup for around $75. That should be plenty to cover most video libraries.
The problem with IDrive is that which we mentioned earlier: speed. IDrive has just one data center, which can lead to server congestion and frustrating waits for your data to backup. However, IDrive also provides something you won’t find elsewhere: free courier service for backup and recovery.
Using IDrive Express, as the service is called, for backup means that IDrive will send you an external drive in the mail. Your job is to load that drive with your videos and other files, using a USB connection to speed up the process. Mail it back, and IDrive technicians will load the data on the server for you, saving you quite a bit of time in the process.
In addition to hybrid backup support, IDrive is one of the few online backup services that supports smartphone backup, meaning you can upload your phone footage for no extra cost.
IaaS and Video Backup
For those that don’t mind spending more, CloudBerry Backup is probably the most sophisticated backup solution we’ve yet to test here at Cloudwards.net. Rather than provide cloud server space, with CloudBerry you can choose to backup your files to one of over fifty different cloud options (see our CloudBerry Backup review to find out which ones).
Those options include cloud infrastructure as a service (cloud IaaS) options such as Amazon S3, Google Cloud, Backblaze B2 and, this writer’s personal favorite, Rackspace Cloud Files.
Rackspace isn’t necessarily cheap, but at $0.10 per gigabyte, you can backup a terabyte of data for around $10 a month, and there are no egress (usage) charges to worry about. Amazon S3 costs twice that amount.
Backblaze B2, meanwhile, costs half as much as Rackspace, but doesn’t have nearly as robust infrastructure, meaning you’ll run into some of the same speed issues presented by IDrive and other cheap online backup options.
With the preamble out of the way, it’s time for the main feature. Coming up, we’ll give you a quick look at the steps required to backup video automatically using either IDrive or CloudBerry Backup.
Automatic Video Backup with IDrive
Whether you take advantage of IDrive Express or not, you’ll need to create a backup plan for your computer using the IDrive desktop client.
Within the client’s “backup” tab, there are two radio buttons near the top of the screen. The first lets you backup files to the cloud, while the second lets you backup files to a local device.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to create two separate backup plans for cloud and local backup: IDrive doesn’t let you manage both concurrently.
Additionally, IDrive backs up based on file location rather than file type. That means you’ll need to tag the folder locations where you store videos, whether that’s a “videos” folder, a folder for Kodi downloads or another location.
If you prefer to simply backup your entire drive to ensure you don’t miss files, that’s an option, too, so long as you don’t exceed your backup space cap.
IDrive lets you exclude specific folders or files based on name to manage that aspect, although this is a feature that could be streamlined a bit better by letting you select common file types to exclude (or include, for that matter).
For those looking for a simpler backup approach, Backblaze automatically backs up files based on file type, as detailed in our Backblaze review. However, without the benefit of courier backup service, those with many large video files to upload will be left waiting.
Additionally, the Backblaze client doesn’t support hybrid backup. That’s why we ultimately decided to suggest IDrive for video backup for those looking for an inexpensive solution.
For those with more financial wiggle room, however, CloudBerry Backup is tough to beat.
Automatic Video Backup with CloudBerry Backup
As mentioned, in order to use CloudBerry Backup for online backup, you’ll need to settle on a cloud solution since the company doesn’t maintain data centers of its own for that purpose. If you choose a cloud IaaS service like Rackspace, you’ll need to retrieve an API key for that service in order to let CloudBerry connect to it.
We detail the steps to do so in our getting started with Rackspace guide, in which we also discuss connecting CloudBerry Backup, so we won’t go into detail again here.
Like IDrive, backup plans created using CloudBerry are usually based on file location, though you can craft a plan that uses file types, too. Create a backup plan for files by clicking the “files” button at the top of the client.
A wizard will launch to walk you through the process, starting by letting you choose either local, cloud or hybrid backup.
One of the reasons we tend to fall heavily in favor of CloudBerry here at Cloudwards.net is how easy it makes hybrid backup. Unlike with IDrive, you don’t have to create two different backup plans.
Instead, CloudBerry processes both local and cloud backup as part of one plan, first backing up files locally, then sending those local files to the cloud. This approach saves you from having to do extra work and saves your computer from the same by not trying to process two different backup jobs at once.
Next, you’ll need to select your cloud service. If not added yet, you’ll need to do that part (this is where the API key is required).
The next steps of the process the wizard walks you through include setting some of those advanced mode options, after which you’ll be able to select locations to add to your backup plan.
As with IDrive, you’ll need to select all of the folders where you keep video files, otherwise, they won’t get backed up. Alternatively, you can select your entire drive. That second approach works better with CloudBerry than IDrive because CloudBerry actually lets you include or exclude files based on type.
You still have to add all of the file extensions you want to be included or excluded, however. Each file extension needs to be preceded by a wildcard character and separated with a semicolon (for example: *.wmv; *.mov; *.mp4).
We’d love to see CloudBerry enhance the process with an option to backup all file extensions based on categories, such as documents, images or videos. Still, you won’t find many backup services with more feature options than CloudBerry Backup, so we can’t complain too loudly.
Once you’ve got your backup selections squared away to include all of your video files, the wizard will let you enable private encryption. This is a key feature for those that want to ensure their video collection doesn’t become part of a Saturday matinee at NSA headquarters.
Private encryption also helps ensure any torrented videos aren’t automatically deleted by your cloud service, as some occasionally do.
The next two steps include setting a retention policy and a backup schedule. Retention policies dictate how many file versions are kept, which is especially useful for those that frequently edit files. For your backup schedule, you can set it to only run during specific times, but we usually suggest you opt for continuous backup for the best level of protection.
The last steps are to review your backup plan and kick it off. Assuming you’ve made sure to backup every location where you keep videos, they’ll be automatically backed up as new videos are added or existing ones are edited.
A good backup plan for your videos — or any important files, for that matter — can save you considerable grief. Whether you’ve built a movie library or recorded your own footage, IDrive and CloudBerry Backup are two good choices to implement such a plan.
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We like IDrive for its low cost and IDrive Express service, while CloudBerry Backup is among the most powerful backup services available, supporting hybrid backup, block-level backup, private encryption and many other useful features to keep your videos safe.
That said, all of the options in our best online backup guide can be used to automatically backup videos. Let us know which service you prefer below, and thanks for reading.