A Journey Through the Jungles of India, Powered by Seagate and LaCie

Nothing achieves realism like shooting on location. But We SF production house took it to a whole new level when they shot their upcoming feature film, The Ramayan, in 4K in an Indian jungle.

In this video, take a sneak peek behind the scenes of this upcoming film and see how they managed data in inhospitable conditions using Seagate and LaCie storage.

The story of two brothers in exile looking to reclaim their kingdom, the film revolves around an ancient Indian epic called the Ramayana. Much of the film would be filmed deep within the jungles of India, which presented significant challenges.

“We had to haul heavy equipment through jungle and deal with ever-changing weather,” said Ronnie Allman, Creative Director with We SF, the production company behind The Ramayan. “The morning would be freezing cold, and then by noon we would be down to shorts and a T-shirt. Then by mid-afternoon, the rains would start.”

You Can Take It with You

But weather and location weren’t the only challenges facing the filmmakers. The narrative film was shot in 4K and in 1080p, filmed on cameras that would need to be brought along to every filming location, no matter how remote. And while we may have moved on from the days when film storage meant mixing chemicals and physically storing 35mm reels, it doesn’t mean that storage doesn’t create problems — especially considering the film’s high resolution format.

“Cameras are only getting better, using more data and producing higher quality images,” Allman said. “Our edited files are only getting more massive and computer internal hard drives just can’t handle them. On a single day, we would shoot between 200-350GB worth of footage. One eight-minute piece of footage that I exported recently was 95GB all by itself.”

Deep within the jungle, Allman and his team had to bring along the drives where footage would be stored. Every day, these files would be transferred from the cameras to external drives, necessitating a data storage solution that was large enough to comfortably hold all of the data while being robust enough to handle the physical challenges of filming within the jungle.

We SF turned to LaCie and Seagate to help them rise to the challenge. Their data storage solution began with a 2TB Seagate Wireless Plus Mobile Storage device that came in handy while traveling for working on updates to the script and for storing location photos. While traveling, team members could wirelessly access data at the same time, even when lacking internet access. This became a critical collaboration tool for the entire team. Two LaCie Rugged RAID drives, 4TB each, were used in the field to upload all footage collected from camera memory cards. Once the team made it back to the production house, all of the footage was uploaded to a 30TB LaCie 5big Thunderbolt 2.

Peace of Mind

But why did Allman and his team choose Seagate and LaCie? It all starts with reliability, which Allman called the most important consideration for choosing a storage product.

“In my line of work, you don’t get the luxury of going back and shooting it again,” Allman said. “Hands down, [what’s most important is] knowing that your data will be there when you need it. I take risks creatively, but when it comes to storing footage, I’m pretty straightforward, and use what works time and time again.”

Reliability wasn’t the only factor. Transferring hundreds of gigabytes of footage can be a tedious, painstaking process, but the speed of the Thunderbolt connection made backing up the data a snap. We SF estimates that they saved days’ worth of time that would have been spent simply on data transfers — which not only sped up production, but also helped to lower costs. Even though traveling with their data could be nerve-wracking, LaCie and Seagate helped give the team peace of mind.

“We never have to buy new drives, because [these products] don’t let us down,” Allman said. “We could do it all on our own, and easily. That’s priceless when you’re on the move. Recovering data off drives that fail can cost thousands of dollars. I’m just not willing to waste money like that. I need something reliable across every platform, and these all work together.”

The Ramayan is scheduled to be completed sometime in early 2017, and we can’t wait to see the footage they’ve collected. A big thanks to Ronnie Allman and We SF taking the time to talk to us about the film and their data storage solution. For more information about the film, visit www.ramayanfilm.com.