Photo Copyright Scott Bourne 2010 – All Rights Reserved

I’m coming off eight weeks on the road, away from my Gig Harbor studio. Several of you wrote in this week to ask how my on-the-road workflow works. So here it is.

I now have to manage both video and stills so this represents a slight change to my previous workflow.

I used to rely exclusively on 320 GB G-Drive Minis in the field. These 7200 RPM drives are rock solid. But they’re not big enough to hold all the files I now capture on long trips.

My Lexar UDMA 32GB cards fill up fast these days so I’ve added a G-Drive 2TB G-Raid to the mix. It’s a bit big for on the road use but I make it work.

I’ll break the workflow into two parts – video and stills.


Once full, I dump the CF cards to the G-Raid. I name the folders based on place (Fl – for Florida – XX for client – and 0110 for January 2010) Then I catalog the footage in FCP. I hope to add Aperture 3.0 to this mix but so far, I don’t feel that I can trust Aperture with this important job due to memory leaks and stability problems.

If I do any editing, I put the finished product on the G-Drive Minis and duplicate the work copying from one G-Drive to the next. I also back-up to my server in Minnesota each night to make sure I have an immediate off-site backup. This can be challenging when I am short on bandwidth, but I usually can get it done within a few days.

That’s about it for the video. I will rely on my staff to take the video to the next step and from there it will end up on our Promise VTrack E-Class SATA RAID system back at the studio. We have an A/B system where A is primary storage and B is backup. The server in Minnesota is our off-site storage.


My photo workflow is more complicated. Once full I dump the CF cards to the 320GB G-Drive Minis. I create a folder for each card labeled identically to the video workflow. Then I duplicate the copy to a backup G-Drive Mini.

I then usually import the images into Lightroom 2.0 but on this trip I am testing Aperture 3.0. Since I have the images set aside in separate folders, I don’t feel I am risking much using Aperture to create a managed Library. I create a Library for each card full of images. This makes sure I get the best performance out of Aperture. I can always merge the Libraries in Aperture 3.0 if I need to thanks to that new feature.

The Aperture 3.0 Libraries are hosted on the G-Raid and backed up on additional 320GB G-Drive Minis.

Overnight, the files from each stills shoot are also backed up to our server so we have off-site backup within 72 hours of each shoot.

When I get back to the studio, my staff will copy all the stills and Aperture 3.0 Libraries onto the Promise VTrack E-Class SATA RAID both A/B.

While on the road I’ll make my initial selects and create smart albums full of five-star photos. Other than creating a few JPEGS for addition to the Photofocus blog or to Flickr, I won’t do any serious editing on these photos until I get back to the studio and can work within my color managed system that includes relying on my 24-Inch Apple monitor to make sure I’m seeing everything.

It’s probably not a perfect workflow, but it’s mine. And I provide it here not to say you should do the same things I do, but rather to show you one person’s approach. I hope it is helpful information.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store