Backup Of Camera Flash Memory In The Field

A reminder that Macintosh OS X is unix-based which lets you leverage the power of the rsync command for doing incremental backups of your SD media from your AVCHD camcorder - by David R. Beebe
Backup of Camera Flash Memory In The Field

Backing up still and video images from cameras such as Canon's 7D and G12 is easy. I import the still (RAW, jpeg) and video (.mov) directly into a subject specific Aperture library. Aperture knows what images have already been imported. If you shoot RAW + JPEG, I import them as separate masters. If I don't need the RAW version, it can easily be deleted to reduce the size of the library. It also seems easier to import all images and delete the ones you don't want than to exclude them from import. Anything previously unchecked will keep showing up for subsequent imports. Backing up any still images recorded with an AVCHD camcorder like the Canon HF200 can also be loaded into Aperture. These appear in the root of the AVCHD card in the DCIM folder.

Backing up video from an AVCHD camcorder like the Canon HF200 is a bit trickier. There does not seem to be any advantage of doing anything more complex than copying the SDHC card to a folder on your Mac but if you intend to use FCE's Log and Transfer option from the backup, you need to retain the integrity of the full filesystem in the copy. This is where it gets to be a pain as there are not only the new clips and thumbnails, there are index files that need to be updated to include the new clips. In the Private/AVCHD folder, you'll need to copy over the new contents of STREAM (.mts files) and CLPINF (.cpi). You'll also need to replace the previous versions of INDEX.BDM and MOVIEOBJ.BDM. Miss any one and FCE won't be able to see all of the clips. I don't think FCE needs PLAYLIST as that is specific to the camcorder. If you import your video clips into FCE via Voltaic, you only need to keep a copy of the .mts files in STREAM. It does not need the full filesystem of the AVCHD card.

For whatever reason, I've not found any OS X application that can read through the SDHC card and make an incremental copy elsewhere. I stress incremental because I see no good reason to have to re-copy an entire SDHC card just to get the new ones. That does not mean you need to deal with manually copying files over. OS X is unix based so an rsync command via Terminal will do just what is needed. You can adjust your script as needed. A quick tip is to drag the desktop icon (not the Finder's sidebar icon) of any disk or folder into terminal to see its full path for use in the script. So for example, to sync up a folder copy of an SDHC card, from terminal I run the command:

sudo /usr/bin/rsync -E -a -x -S --delete /Volumes/CANON_DC/ /Volumes/External500/CanonBackup

If you start to backup another card, just change the destination path to a new folder or rename the first folder. Check out man pages on rsync for more options but these work nicely.