6 Examples of How Offload Software Makes Your Life on Set Easier 4 min read

A film set is a busy place. If you are responsible for offloading footage – either as part of other responsibilities, or as a designated data wrangler – there are always a lot of things to take care of. Usually more than expected.

Therefore it makes sense to look out for helpers that reduce manual work, help you deliver a great job and give you time to focus on all those other things that also need your attention.

A dedicated offload software that supports you when backing up camera footage can be such a helper. In the following we gathered some examples of how offload software can make your life on set easier – by automating and simplifying a lot of your manual work.

Copy with Checksums and Verification of Backups

The most basic behavior of offload software, which sets it apart from copying footage e.g. with MacOS’s Finder, is that it creates checksums and verifies the camera backups.

How this makes your work on set easier? When copying footage without checksums and verification, footage can become corrupted without anyone on set noticing. At the time the error gets discovered visually, the card may already be formatted, and the original footage lost. Checksums and verification prevent this from happening. They give you an immediate feedback on whether the source and the copy are identical or not – making sure that corrupted copies are detected right away.

By using checksums and a confirmed verification process, an offload software gives you certainty that your copies are absolutely identical to the source.

Maintain Folder Structure of the Source Card

As someone working on set, you always want to make sure that you do your work in a way that makes it easy for subsequent production steps. This includes e.g. an adequate naming and folder structure of the copied footage.

By default, a good offload software makes sure that the folder structure of source cards remains as it is for all the copies and backups you create. This makes it easy for post to work with the files you deliver, as they can easily refer back to the source material at any point.

Detect Duplicates

On a busy film set it’s always possible that by accident, already copied files get copied again. An offload software would usually prevent you from doing that by showing a warning message.

Preventing duplicates is important not only to avoid problems in consecutive production steps. Duplicates can also indicate a problem much earlier in the process. This can simply be a  a quirk in the manual card handling process (mixing up cards that are copied with those that still need to be copied).

Being able to easily detect duplicates and avoid them in the first place keeps your offloading process clean, and helps you identify potential problems early on.

Pausing and Resumption of Copy Jobs 

Imagine the following situation: You have a copy job running, but you are now required to change locations. What would you do in this case?

Offload software gives you an easy solution for cases like this, by allowing you to pause jobs and resume them later at the same point. The software makes sure that the process of stopping a copy job and continuing it at a later point in time is well managed, easy for you to perform, and displays incomplete processes clearly.

Recognize Metadata and Create Reports

Each clip you offload comes with a lot of metadata, such as the clip length or the format. Offload software often understands this data and automatically logs it for you, e.g. in dedicated reports.

Often those reports can be created with just a few clicks and without much manual work from you. They can act as an important reference and proof of your work, and also provide next production steps like editing with highly useful information for their work.

Example of a report containing metadata from the Silverstack Offload Manager.

Provide a Robust and Steady Platform

The environment on a film set is often challenging. You depend on temporary power and work in a fast paced, constantly changing environment. Unexpected events, such as a power blackout, can happen at any time.

When such events are occurring, it is important to be prepared and to have the confidence that your work is well-protected. Offload software can give you this confidence, by minimizing the effects of unexpected disruptions. In the case of a power outage for example, jobs would automatically be paused and can then be resumed later without loosing any copy progress.

The above examples show that you don’t need to be a workflow specialist to do things right in the first place – offload software helps you to do things right by default without having to think about every detail. Like this the mere utilization already gives you a vast advantage over an unmanaged process when backing up shooting data.

If you are interested in trying out an offload software yourself, have a look at our Silverstack Offload Manager. This simple offloading tool comes with all the the benefits mentioned above and more. Download your 10-days free trial below, and get started with it yourself!

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About the Author
Samuel is a product manager for Pomfort's on-set applications. Usually you can catch him working on new specs for the software products, writing documentation and shooting videos for our products – and sometimes writing blog posts about workflows and equipment.