Nexto Di NVS 2825 John Ford - Head of Film by John Ford, Head of Film

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Looking after what Matters Most

The masterminds behind camera tech are making it cheaper and easier to shoot in challenging situations and in increasingly creative ways. What might have been prohibitively costly or difficult in the past is now possible (most of the time)!

At Contra we film all over the world in some pretty difficult scenarios. Remote African villages miles from a power source, frenetic Bangladesh where you need to watch your kit almost as much as your focus, or large commercial shoots in London with multiple cameras, multiple formats and it’s own specific brand of chaos.

The old adage of the ‘right camera for the job’ is still very much true. When planning for any production we will look at what we are trying to achieve with any given shot or scene and will then make a kit decision based on exactly that. On a single shoot we might find ourselves shooting 50Mbp/s on the C300, 240Mbp/s with F55, with the occasional DSLR or Raw format thrown in as well!

With all this in mind, it’s paramount that we can easily and quickly back up our files. Most of the time we aren’t working with a D.I.T and frankly, securing our data is a hassle we don’t want to deal with. That’s where the NEXTO drives come in. Here’s a little video review we did of the product.

A Hero amongst Drives

We’ve been using NEXTO drives for over 5 years now, since the NVS 2500 and 2525. It’s the most commonly undervalued bit of kit that we own. In principle a NEXTO device is just a hard-drive, but with the rugged exterior, multi-sync and backup functions, colour display and plethora of ports it’s proved itself a hero amongst hard-drives.

We recently got our hands on NEXTO’s latest model, the NVS 2825.

Let’s get the technical details out of the way. The NVS 2825 can gobble up any SxS you care to mention (SxS PRO+/SxS PRO/SxS-I), P2/E, CF, SDHC, SFXC, XQD, SSD and even micro SD. Out of it’s durable little hard-case, the 2825 comes with a variety of adaptors, cables and an external battery. Essentially everything you need apart from the camera, cards and something to shoot.

Just like the previous versions of the drive you can power-up in a number of ways. When you’re in the field you can rely on the internal battery, a handy external battery or (if there’s a power source nearby) a mains-plug. On a full charge you don’t have much to worry about, you get about 120 minutes internally plus another 180 from the portable.

What’s the fuss all about?

So all these tech features are great, but where does the NVS 2825 really come into it’s own? Well for us, even if you ignore the other features, it all comes down to workflow. In short, the ridiculously easy ability to backup & sync multiple drives.

The 2525 has three back-up functions. Fast Copy, Copy & Verify and Safe Copy. This is what they do:

Fast Copy: This will make a new folder on the drive and copy all the files and folders from your memory card.

Copy & Verify: Once the drive is done with a Fast Copy it will do another sweep to verify that all the data has indeed been transferred.

Safe Copy: Before proceeding with the above process the NVS 2825 will check for bad sectors before proceeding. If a bad sector is detected then a new area of the drive will be selected.

We use Safe Copy because why not!

Multi Copy and Sync:

Now the NVS has a limited capacity. It’s good for 512GB of data, which frankly isn’t much. However we would never limit our backup to a single drive anyway. The NVS2825 really shines as an interim storage device at the end of a shoot day, before you archive your data properly. This is done quickly and easily using the Sync feature.

On a recent trip to Burundi we were shooting several hours each day. In an evening we would sit around at dinner whilst the NEXTO did it’s work, syncing it’s content to three USB3 drives. At the click of a button each external drive was updated with additional footage, clearly logged and organised. This model even comes with a handy detachable case to hold your secondary drive (depending on the model).

This meant that we could sit with our clients, crew or curious Burundians and review the day’s work (a blessing or a curse depending on the client) via a laptop. More importantly it meant that at the end of the trip we had several clones of our main drive to split amongst our crew in case the worst should happen and a drive should fail, get lost or magically find itself.

Summary

So as you may have gathered, we don’t have much to gripe about. We can’t speak on the longevity of this particular model, but we have never had an issue with any NEXTO drive. The build and design has been well considered, with a rubber exterior and reassuring red bumpers, as well as an internal motion sensor and auto-off feature to detect slips and falls.This is a simple, powerful device. It’s easy to use, reassuring, and does away with cheap thrills to offer a high-end product that is truly built for field use. Go get one!

 

John Ford - Head of Film by John Ford, Head of Film
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