Best way to wirelessly transfer files from shooters in the field to studio?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by john_e|2, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. I have several shooters using 1dx's and 7D's. Is there a way for the shooters raw pics to be transferred to the web or any other way so that I can access them without having to have the shooters physically bring me their flash cards. my lab is over 40 miles from most of the shoots and bringing the cards to me is not efficient.
     
  2. Do the shooters have Internet access via a wireless local area network? Possibly an Eye-fi card would be the most convenient way but you will need to do some testing to make sure it is reliable. (Even if the Eye-fi card fails to upload the pictures to the Internet it still stores them on the card, so there is not much risk of data loss, but you should check it can cope with the large files and high burst rate of your cameras.)
    Canon make a wireless attachment for the 1DX (and possibly for the 7D) and it is reliable but expensive, and might need a bit more configuration.
    You could take a wireless Internet 'personal hotspot' with you and have the files uploaded over that. Some of these, using 4G wireless, are reasonably fast - but it would still take a minute or two to upload a single raw file.
    Perhaps the best way to get the job done is to abandon the idea of transferring the files wirelessly from the cameras. Instead, get the shooters to use memory cards as normal, and bring a laptop and card reader with them. They can upload the files wirelessly using either a 'personal hotspot' or some paid-for Internet access.
    Unless you have a particularly fast Internet connection you might find the best approach is to make the cameras record both raw and small JPEG, and download the JPEGs first to choose which shots to keep. The raw files are big and slow to transfer so you want to avoid transferring all of them.
     
  3. I suppose it depends on what you mean by 'best'
    As Ed says, there are a few solutions that will upload the data, via a wifi connection. Eye-fi cards, and the WFT-E5A for the 7Ds, and the WFT-E6A for the 1Dxs are two options. These are pretty reliable and speedy, But all these are going to rely on a reasonably speedy wi-fi connection. That's the linchpin.
    And that is, I think, the crucial point you want to address. A 4G cell w/ a wireless hotspot will likely be the most reliable connection (though 4G network coverage is certainly not universal), however, you are talking about a LOT of data. Most carriers are going to charge you out the yang for anything over 2-4GB /month, or automatically throttle your connection (maybe worse) to a fraction of the 20-40 MB/s bandwidth available - Though better contract terms may be available (although you'll pay for it!) depending on the available carriers. You are probably talking in terms of several hundred GB /mo (though maybe in the TB range?).
    Even a local wifi hotspot is going to be hit or miss. Many (such as at coffee shops, library, etc.) automatically throttle your connection speed to as little as a few MB/s so they can give all users some bandwidth. Though of course that is going to totally depend on the location. They may also allow bandwidth based on usage, or limit it when it gets busy. The bottom line is that unless you control the network/routers, you don't control the available speed - although you certainly could get lucky.
    A 3rd option may be a local (to the shooting sites) 'business center' which often has cubicles and dedicated LAN connections (or at least speedy wi-fi) available for a reasonable hourly fee, though their availability may be quite limited in the region you are shooting.
    I think I'd probably talk to your cell carrier(s) first to see if the data throughput you need is an option, if not, then I'd worry about testing some alternative options. In the end, as inefficient as it is, driving back and forth may be the most cost effective choice.
    OTOH, you may want to rethink your delivery strategy. I can't think of (off the top of my head) any reason you need RAWs now, since, if the photogs have a decent connection wherever they sleep, it would be a delay of, at most, a few hours. Of course I also don't know anything about your photography business ;)
     
  4. Does your photo editing program let you save a series of steps and then apply them to another file? If so you could download small size JPEGs for the purposes of choosing which shots to keep, and then start the post-production work on them. When you get the raw files later you can apply the saved profile (which you created on the JPEG) to the corresponding raw file and make any final adjustments.
    Whether this is at all practical depends on what kind of post-production you need to do and whether the script can be saved and reapplied to a different file (and if so, a different resolution file? or do you need full size JPEGs?). I know that basic things like tone curves and cropping can easily be saved as a script but if you are retouching the photos that might not work.
     
  5. Just as an example, we use Verizon's 4G network when we're on the road. The basic plan has a 5GB limit, which I think you'd burn through pretty quickly with several shooters uploading multiple RAW files. On the plus side, on our recent trip from east Tennessee to northwest Arizona, we had 4G access all the way across.
    I think Ed's suggestion to use wireless transfer for JPEG files first, then select the RAW files you want, is the best solution.
     
  6. Dropbox or any other Cloud based system. Of course the pictures have to be uploaded from a computer as far as I know but it beats sneaker net (hand carried cards) . My Google plus uploads from Mosaic as pictures are imported in LR. I have computers linked in Gplus. I have a mobile hotspot that handles 3Gig per month with Sprint. You can buy more capacity.
     
  7. Hi John,
    First a question - where are the photographers at - by that I mean are they outdoors all over the place and thus mobile internet will be required? Or are they in offices or studios with access to wired internet?
    If the answer to the later question is yes, then perhaps they can shoot tethered with the EOS utility and then use another 3rd party software to push the images from the PC/Mac up onto could storage or even simple ftp sites that you can then see at your office. If there is wired internet and I suspect you would be able to see the images from their cameras in less than a minute.
    I am not a fan of the Eye-Fi cards in the larger bodies. The Eye-fi card needs to be in a CF->SD adapter and between that adapter and these rugged bodies the transfer times for images (especially raws) is quite painfully slow unless very close to the wifi hotspot.
    Its a bummer that Canon's WiFi product is so expensive (but I bet its reliable). Nikon has those add-on units for like $60 and I suspect Canon's is 10x that amount!
     
  8. I don't see that the OP said anything about needing to send the files wirelessly from the camera or that he needs the files instantly. He just doesn't want himself or his shooters to drive 40 miles. So all they need to do is copy the cards to a computer (which they are presumably doing anyway) and upload the files to him, whether it's from the location of the shoot (there's wifi in every Starbucks and there's a Starbucks on every other corner) or when they get back home. If we were talking jpg files I would simply put them in a password protected folder on SmugMug or an equivalent site, which is what I do for my clients. If he needs raw files I would use DropBox since we're talking much larger files and longer upload times. For the sake of making things manageable, I would have the shooters at least chimp their files before sending -- no need to send bad frames. A key question here is how many files are we talking about -- a few dozen can easily be uploaded but if we're talking hundreds and upload and download time can get out of hand. In that regard, I like the suggestion of shooting both raw and jpg -- the shooter could send a full take of jpg's, even compressed, so the studio can choose which raw files are needed and then the shooter sends only those files as raw.

    I've worked as a photo editor sitting at my office in Washington or home outside Baltimore editing the take from multiple photographers shooting for me in New York, but using jpg files to keep upload times manageable. Nothing unusual about it.
     
  9. Pidgeons could carry 40g of payload each. Less than 100mls seems pretty humane and easy for them.
    The issue(s) I see with wireless RAW data transfer: I have no exact clue what the uplink capacity of any method is. For example my far from stellar but dirt cheap domestic connection takes roughly 1day to upload 4GB and downloads them during 5 hours and it is unusally symetric, since my ISP seems to artificially throttle the download(!) speed of a faster connection. Since any imaginable wireless hotspot needs a network base of any kind too and might be located in a less well catered area I guess my domestic figures should be a realistic example for one's share of a public WLAN on a good day.
    Something like a Starbucks' WLAN seems meant to allow patrons to fetch their email somehow, while they sip there. I guess its unlikely that its fast & broad enough to allow downloading big chunks of data instantly and making a cup each other month appear cheaper than upgrading one's domestic connection. - Shared WLANs in hotels etc seem (roughly) the same & as I have been told frequently worse. - My local Mc D's limits login time for its hotspots too AFAIK, so abusing their hotspot for a 24h upload seems no real option.
    If you are in no hurry at all, it should be possible to buy any kind of smartphone contract for your shooters and let the device upload on and on on at dialup speed after the monthly budged of fast connection got used up. - But snailmailing the data would be way faster and probably cheaper too.
     
  10. How did we ever manage when we shot film?
     
  11. "How did we ever manage when we shot film?"

    In the 1980s I worked in Dover, Delaware, for the Daily Times newspaper, which was in Salisbury, Md., about an hour away (equivalent to the 40 miles John asked about, maybe a little more). I had to drive the film to Salisbury pretty much every day. WBOC-TV from Salisbury also had a crew based in Dover (the state capital) and they had to do the same with their 16mm movie film and later their 3/4-inch videotape. Occasionally I was able to get their guy to drop off my film, but the paper and TV station were in competition so our bosses would not have approved. The TV guys eventually got a microwave link.

    In theory, I could have taken my film to the Delaware State News and transmitted it to the Daily News in Salisbury with the Associated Press photo transmitter they had there. (AP transmitters were few and far between. The only other one in the state was in Wilmington and the next closest would have been Philadelphia and Baltimore.) Now that I think of it, I'm not sure why we never made that arrangement. Even then, transmission time for a single photo was about eight minutes, and that was in B&W at the equivalent of a megapixel or two. You had to make an 8x10 print and strap it to a drum for scanning. Wire service and traveling newspaper photographers had to be their own editors since transmitting a whole roll of pictures, let alone multiple rolls, back to the newsroom was not practical.
     
  12. If you have a website that has file space, or set up your own FTP server that has a broadband connection just use FTP, you could use a DNS forwarding service if setting up a dedicated computer on your home or business network, just tie it into your router off you broadband connection. On your computer that you are setting up the FTP, a small app runs, sends the server computers dynamic IP to the DNS forwarding service, when a remote computer goes to log in to your server using the domain name set up with the forwarding service, that service will route the FTP traffic to where ever your remote server is telling the network it is. Your FTP server just needs to be on the internet and running the FTP server program along with the DNS forwarding app.The files could easily be uploaded over high speed internet connection using FTP, keep in mind we are talking Gigs of data so broadband is a must for a memory card filled with raw files.
    Years ago when the internet was young I ran a BBS, using a service like DNS2GO (I think, been over a decade)
    Today it is the cloud. We used to just call it an FTP server, but the buzz word today is cloud storage, sounds so new and hip that way. But it works basically the same.
    If setting up a simple FTP server, look at Filezilla, they have both client and server software for free. (They take donations) kind of like the FireFox/Mozilla of FTP. It's free software, and you can search around for a free DNS forwarding service or possibly a pay one with website with a hosting service like GoDaddy.
    Also if you have broadband service, you may already have file storage space with your account and files can be uploaded to your account via FTP, there may be limitations to how many gigs of space you have and of course there are a lot of commercial services offering that service too.
    But if you are a little computer savvy, it's not to hard to make your own dedicated FTP server with an old PC, big hard drive and (10/100/1000) ethernet card hooked to your broadband router.
     
  13. Not the requested answer but related to the problem.
    If you change to 70D or 6D they have embedded Wi-Fi
    We use a 70D with EOS-Remote to send files from camera to a smartphone using Wi-Fi (only JPEGs, automatically downsized to about 2MB) and then we use WhatsApp to send photo from the smartphone to the customer (I think downsized again). Not the best quality but it takes only a few seconds per photo.
    Eos Remote has other options about destination.
    About pigeons, there is a tech document (RFC 1149) about using pigeons to transport IP frames but it was written on 1st april (as other tech documents jokes).
     
  14. FTP is first choice otherwise have your photographers copy everything onto a USB Drive and mail it to you. Obviously make sure they make a backup until you receive there files.
     
  15. There's a lot of related info over the Internet, but you may be interested in how photo agencies and magazines cover major sports events.
    Here's an article on the subject: http://gizmodo.com/the-inside-story-of-how-olympic-photographers-capture-s-1521746623
    You may also google for technical resources, like the Sports Illustrated case study here: http://store.tekserve.com/business/Data-Storage-and-Security/Case-Studies
     
  16. Bluetooth tethering of an Android tablet reading a
    microsd card or the camera through MTP on a usb cable
    and an OTG adapter for the tablet.
     

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