Pontecorvo Productions explores nature, science and culture through its documentary film projects. Recent productions include Yosemite, The Last Orangutan Eden and Snow Monkeys, all for PBS’ Nature. The team from Pontecorvo Productions frequently shoots in remote locations, and the shoots can last for weeks. To capture footage for Snow Monkeys, for example, Joe and Nimmida Pontecorvo spent nearly two years recording a troop of Japanese macaques in Japan’s Shiga Highlands.
Each day of production represents a significant investment. Footage needs to be backed up quickly and duplicate copies created. Pontecorvo used hard drives in the past, but ultimately found that the technology didn’t travel well. Further, the drives were too heavy, and expensive to ship.
Hoping to solve this problem, Pontecorvo acquired a portable workstation with an LTO tape drive from 1 Beyond. The system offloads footage directly from camera media to LTO and simultaneously to the internal hard drive for review. A second copy of the tape is created from the hard drive once footage is reviewed.
This solution has resulted in significant cost savings for the producers. They have been able to reduce camera media inventory, since material is quickly offloaded to LTO. Additionally, LTO tape cartridges are less expensive than hard drives.
Using LTO and LTFS in combination with the 1 Beyond solution, the Pontecorvo team found a great way to deal with the data management challenge of remote production.
Trailer for the “Snow Monkeys” episode of PBS’ Nature