So much data, so little time for process


The question came Saturday night from Joe Dejarnette, who runs sound and does a lot more on a lot of activities at The Floyd Country Store and is a talented musician on his own right.

“What,” he asked, “are you planning to do with all the video and images you shoot of music in and around Floyd?”

Good question.  Not one I can easily answer.

Over the Columbus Holiday weekend, I took a look at what I have on hand from the first Friday Night Jamboree documentary that Amy and I show in 2002-03 to the various events, musicians and the like since moving here in 2004.

The video files occupy 67 terabytes of disk space plus backups.  Photos occupy another five terabytes.  For those who wonder what a “terabyte” is, it is one million gigabytes, with is one million megabytes, which is one million bytes of space. One byte is 1K. When the original Apple and IBM personal computers launched the world of home-grown data processing, both Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple said something like “oh, 64K should be all anybody needs.”

So much for predicting the future.

When I shoot a high school athletic event with two cameras for stills, each of my Canons have two data cards that hold 64 gigabytes of space.

For video work, my cameras each contain two 128 GB of space and, sometimes, I have to change cards during a shoot.

I hope to shoot a candidates forum later this month featuring candidates for contested races for sheriff and two spots on the county board of supervisors.  Two cameras at that event will need at least 65 gigabytes each to capture at least two hours of the event in 1080p high definition video.  An approaching “new” video standard of 4K would take more than twice that amount of space.

The original 51-minute version of our documentary on The Friday Night Jamboree shot in 2002-03 easily fit on a standard T-60 VHS video cassette or a single layer DVD.  Shooting a similar documentary in high definition video would require a double-layer DVD and nobody even asks for anything on video cassette any more.

Nowadays, we get fewer and fewer requests for items on DVDs.  Most clients want “solid state media” like SD or SDC cards and video streaming online.

Which goes back to Joe’s original question:  What do I plan to do with all the footage accumulated over the last 12 years?

Compiling the footage started as an archive project with some thought about producing some documentaries on the music heritage of Southwestern Virginia.  I still hope to do that, some day.

But “some days” seem to get further and further away.  Edited footage shot Friday night at The Friday Night Jamboree went online on Monday.  I’m still working on final versions on music shot Saturday night of Hot Rize at The Floyd Country Store, Sway Katz at Dogtown Roadhouse and Gravel Road at Wildwood Farms General Store.  While some folks seem content to post 30 seconds of jerky, unedited footage shot with a smartphone to YouTube, I try to turn what shoot into an edited product.  It takes time.

I also shoot photographs at athletic events and cover courts and government for newspaper use.  Floyd County circuit court will occupy much of Tuesday and high school sports brings volleyball on Tuesday night, cross country track on Wednesday afternoon and football homecoming on Friday evening.

I love what I do.  I just wish there were more hours in each day and night to do it right.

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