The Slanted Lens: Workflow on Location

For more than two decades, Jay P. Morgan has been shooting surreal scenes for clients like 20th Century Fox, Disney, Kelloggs, RCA/Columbia Pictures, Proctor & Gamble, and more. He’s known for composing playfully bizarre cinematic portraits—single shots that tell complex stories. To get those stunning shots, his crew travels to remote locations across the globe. And they take LaCie Rugged drives with them everywhere they go to capture their shots.

In this video, Jay explains a foolproof workflow to ensure he doesn’t lose a single shot when he’s in the field. “Because things can and do go wrong, you need a solid workflow on location,” he says. “A card is worth 100 bucks, but the minute you put images on it, it’s worth thousands.” Lose even one of those images, says Jay, and you can jeopardize the entire project.

Every Jay P. Morgan Pictures shoot is born in the studio. The photographer creates a numbered folder for each job on the studio’s main storage RAID and on a pair of LaCie Rugged RAID drives. This ensures the crew will use the correct job number on location.

On site, the crew labels each camera A through Z with pieces of low-tack tape. When a card is full, the tape label goes with it and a new label (A-1 and so on) is stuck to the camera with the new card. At the end of the shoot, the crew isn’t left with a stack of mysterious cards—they can easily identify each card by letter and number.

Instead of packing up the cards and hitting the road, Jay’s crew copies all images onto a pair of LaCie Rugged drives. The crew chooses Rugged drives for their durability and reliability. “I’ve used Rugged drives for years and I’ve never had one fail,” says Jay. “We have 10 or 12 of them now and we use them constantly.”

The first LaCie Rugged is set to RAID 1 for mirrored data redundancy. The second is set to RAID 0 and is used as a backup. “It’s a hard thing to do to sit on location and make yourself back the data up before you drive away,” he says. “But when you’re shooting a huge shoot and you have so much money involved, I want to see the backup, I want to know the data’s clean before we break everything down.”

Jay keeps one LaCie Rugged drive with him and gives another to a production assistant. The untouched cards are sealed in the camera bag. “If I set my bag down somewhere and it gets stolen, the data is still in two places,” says Jay.

When they return to the studio, the team transfers all the photos from the first LaCie Rugged drive to two LaCie 5big Thunderbolt™ 2 RAID storage solutions. Once the data has been copied to those two LaCie 5bigs, the crew can erase cards and Rugged drives.

It seems like a lot of extra work, but losing shots can cost thousands of dollars and countless hours. The extra time it takes to backup the data on location is well worth it. “It’s a simple process, but it’ll save you thousands of dollars if you follow it meticulously every single time you shoot,” says Jay.

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