So I see there's a slew of questions about the logistics of backing up, but as Hudzee cases start stacking up, I'm interested in how you keep track of what's on each drive.

I have been manually creating an excel spreadsheet for years and while it's good to have that connection with it, it's tedious and time consuming. I'm thinking there's got to be a better way. Is there a backup utility that keeps and outputs a log? Is there an app that can scan a drive and create a database based on the existing files? Since my file structure is Client >Project >Session File, it'd be awesome if there's an automated way to extract all that info along with the creation and last modified dates from the Session File and create a new database file that I can append with notes.

What do you g(uys + als) know? Lay some knowledge on me.


Everyone's approach to this is gonna be different, but here's my personal ultra-low tech approach, certainly not pretending it's the best.

First of all, every project gets its own HD. Every project has a three-letter code (for reference, billing, etc.) - OK, three letters plus a digit if it's a long-term account/client. Every project has an IDENTICAL high-level directory structure, standardized from years of experience (e.g.: Invoices, Contracts, ReferenceFromClient, Assets, Sketches, PictureCuts, Sound, etc., with many subfolders below each). This way, I know where to look across every project for a file of type [foo]. Every hard drive sits with a huge three-letter code and a year on the spine of its Hudzee, visible from across the room; my archive search engine is my eyeball. I keep zero paperwork beyond those three characters for the project code. I laser-print little paper labels with specific project start/end dates and a more detailed subtitle of what the project actually was. If I'm especially liking specific sounds for a specific project, I'll enter that 3-letter code as metadata into SoundMiner, to make future searching for specific assets or elements much easier.

Secondly, my daily/weekly backups (onsite) and monthly (offsite) backups are just mirrors of my working drives, so again, no paperwork or records kept there.

  • Cool, thanks for that NJ. I think that makes sense for projects of that scope. My current setup is: back up to an HD until it's full, then start a new one, because my turnaround is much tighter. For example, last week I completed 6 projects for 4 clients. Perhaps rather than your HD per project idea, I should dedicate an HD per client...hmmm, interesting. Jun 26 '12 at 6:00
  • @Steve I go about the same as you. Have wanted to keep the same formula but switch out HDs for LTO instead, unfortunately too cost-prohibitive right now but that seems to be the ideal archival medium (granted, as long as you don't place it next to magnet heh). Jun 26 '12 at 6:55

Did you try gobbler? It can backup your sessions online, but what might interest you is that Gobbler can scan your drives for projects and make a database; this is searchable without the original drives connected. It even lists all the media in your Audio Files folder. And supports not only PT projects, but a growing list of DAWs and other software.

  • This. This sounds promising. I have a Gobbler account, but only used it to x-fer sessions back and forth with @MixingManiac across the country. This is definitely worth looking into! Thanks @Davide! Jun 26 '12 at 7:47

we use Retrospect. It manages its own database across all of our backup media, so when it comes time to restore something we just search the database for the year and backup set and then grab the media that the software requests.

  • Right! I used Retrospect as an assistant to archive sessions to Excabyte ages ago. But back then we ran a File Maker Pro database in tandem for searches. Good to know that it has its own database as well. You're running a pretty similar (albeit larger) ship @Rene, how do you dole out backup HDs? per room, per client, per project? Jun 26 '12 at 23:13
  • 800 gig DLT tapes cover the entire facility as one large catalogue. New backup sets are created at the start of each year. I run two completely unique backups daily.
    – Rene
    Jun 26 '12 at 23:50

Well, i think your question is already thoroughly answerred, but i wanted to add that i use http://diskcatalogmaker.com/
It's a simple app that makes an index of your HD's and you can manage them. So backup is really easy. It's not perfect for your scenario maybe, gobbler is much close (and i love it!).

  • This is cool, it does give me the ability to easily search offline drives (I'm amazed at how quickly it scans a 1 TB drive). But not much more than a simple pseudo-Finder search. I'm liking that it's a local app as opposed to Gobbler's great database in the sky. But I do like the features that Gobbler has, especially the tagging. Jun 26 '12 at 23:00

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