I produce a lot of podcast content each week: about 45 minutes of clean-comedy, 45 minutes of podcasting how-tos, and almost 2 hours of Once Upon a Time. Since I record in four-channel, uncompressed WAV, process my audio, and keep my master files, this generates up to 5 GB of data per week.
In the image-editing world of Photoshop, the most offensive word is “flatten,” which is removing all ability to tweak previous edits. I feel the same way about my audio. I keep my original, raw recordings, as well as my master project file. The only thing I don't keep is my temporary WAV export that I convert to MP3 with iTunes.
This fills up my hard drive very quickly. So instead of deleting these old projects once the podcast episode is uploaded, I have a digital-packrat in my brain that tells me to keep the stuff “just in case.”
So I burn previous episodes to DVD-Rs. This photo is a spindle of about 80 such archive discs, going as far back at the Ramen Noodle #36.
You might think an external hard drive would be cheaper. But let's do the math:
- The Verbatim 4.7 GB DVD-R (100-Disc spindle) costs $28.84 with free shipping from Amazon.com.
- That's 4.7 terabytes (TB) of storage for $28.84.
- Even if I average 4 GB per disc (depending on how large my episodes are), that's still 4 TB of storage for under $30.
- 1 TB external hard drives seem to average $100, while 4 TB external hard drives are around $280.
- Thus, my DVD-R storage costs less than a penny per gigabyte. An external hard drive would cost about ten times that.
Speaking of which, I should probably order another spindle. This last Verbatim DVD-R 100-Disc spindle has lasted for more than a year.
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The DVD solution works for long term low access storage, like a backup that’s being held offsite. If you actually were planning on using those files, for example, as an end of the year special compilation, you would probably end preferring the external drive since that would be so much easier to sort through and use.
Good point. But even for a once-a-year thing, I would probably rather pay a tenth of the price and have a minor inconvenience.
Thanks for the tip. I’ve been trying to get a handle on just which files
were the optimal ones to back up to disc so I can get some hard drive
Has that brand been consistently reliable for you? I tend to get a
little nervous about discs that are so inexpensive, especially if I
remove the files from my PC after backing them up.
TDK and Verbatim seem to be the best brands.
Hi, I just wanted to correct you on your math, because I have been thinking about buying more discs vs. an external drive for data storage.
4.7GB discs x 100 discs in a spindle = 470GB, not 4TB. Since 1000GB = 1TB, a 100-disc spindle would give you less than half a TB of storage. It’s still cheaper than a 1TB external drive (which could fail on you one day) but not as dramatic as is written above. Hope this helps!
Whoa. You’re right! I crunched these numbers dozens of times, but all in my head. And I kept messing up by a factor of 10!
Actually, my new solution is simply Amazon Glacier. Have you seen it? 1¢ per GB per month. Retrieving files takes a long time for the request to go through. But it’s perfect for long-term archives like this.
I’ve already starting zipping and uploading my past podcast episodes to Amazon Glacier.