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Formatting the card vs. erasing files?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Formatting the card vs. erasing files?

Hopefully, this is a stupid question.

I've taken to the habit of, once everything has been moved over to the computer for processing, of just automatically reformatting the cards in the devices and cameras, to leave a clean slate for the next project and allowing for the maximum space available.

Is there any possible downside to this? Should I reform my habit to erasing the single files?

I just instinctively presumed that re-formatting would also double check the validity of the card, and somehow spiff it up, give it a tune-up, is this the legacy car mechanic in me, maybe reformatting over and over will "wear something out"?

Or is this the kind of query that has a million answers and no consensus? What say all of you?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
With flash and solid state media, I don’t think it matters much any more. Especially with SSD drives, they are much closer to RAM than they are traditional hard disc drives. I think most manufacturers rate their media, wether flash media or SSDs storage drive for a certain number of reads and writes per lifetime. But it’s like 300,000 or some ridiculous number. I don’t think that reformatting the media will affect that number.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I tend to let a few 'projects' accumulate on the card (and a 32GB card holds a crazy number of these !) and then delete them to free up space .....while leaving the original formatting intact.

If formatting represents more of a 'massive jolt' and large scale data rewriting, I don't see any need for doing so repeatedly, and possibly shortening the number of future writes and 'usable sectors' ....even if the durability and longevity now gives no cause for concern !

I also acknowledge that my practice (vs frequent re-formatting) probably has more superstition than factual evidence as its basis... !

What’s perhaps more important is to periodically check the updated recommendations of SD cards for the devices you record to…as published by the mfrs. The example linked below acknowledges that it’s hard for them to keep track of the evolving card performance situation…when the card mfrs themselves seem to have ‘shifting supply source issues over time’ !

https://zoomcorp.com/media/documents...e_cards_en.pdf

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 11:25 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
For video and stills it's long been the recommended best practice to format the card rather than deleting individual files, reportedly because deleting can increase the risk of corruption compared to reformatting. The jury appears to still be out on that conventional wisdom, but I follow it. I have SD cards here that I've reformatted hundreds of times and have never had issues. I reformat the SD card in my stills camera at least a couple of times per week when I'm doing a lot of photography and have followed that practice for 15 years. In all that time I've had one SD card go bad, and that was an ultra-cheap Kingston card. My SanDisk cards have been rock solid to date.

For music, since even 96k files take up relatively little space compared with, say, raw video (where you can fill a 64 gigabyte card in 16 minutes), I tend to leave my projects on the card until it starts getting full, then reformat.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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JayTee4303's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I format. Reason being, I never know what device that card may go in, next.

A standard capture for me, two to three hours long, with 32 track audio, and 5 to 7 video cameras, 4k and HD, runs about half a terabyte worth of data.

Two, 32 GB cards in the FOH mixer, about 2.5 hours worth.

32 GB cards in the backup two track recorders. Those will last weeks. 32 GB thumbdrives in the FOH desk for a two track audio capture, those will hold up to 8 shows, with what all else usually rides on those cards.

64 GB cards in the Sony HD cameras give me 5.5 hours each, so I can get a couple shows on those.

256 GB cards in the 4K cameras can hold one to three shows, depending on what I record and how.

Since every individual file has to be synced to audio, within 1/30th of a second, I prefer to start them once, then let them run, thru set breaks, past the end of the show.

Not possible where 4GB file limits get in the way, with 4K video and 32 track audio, but fortunately, those butt together tight and can be synced as a block, but you have to check near the start and near the finish, every source, to make sure you're synced, before you start chopping.

With this year's crazy schedules, and the amount of time a data dump/PC ingest takes, that third show is likely to involve data card changeouts, on the fly, in a hurry.

As much as possible, I'll line data cards out in advance, but any problems before or during the show can interfere, so being able to grab any of the 50 to 60 data cards on site, shove em in the slot, and get the capture restarted, keeps project gaps to a minimum, and saves me a lot of peace of mind.

I keep them all in burrito sized ziplocks, labelled with mixer tape as to size and status, with many blank, labelled empty bags prepped in advance. Those all go in a Shure mic bag, and hopefully, all end up in the control room at ingest time.

X/M-32 Multitrack Wave files never get deleted. Those get used in the shop, for building showfiles in advance, and during or after abortive soundchecks, where one or more band members aren't present.

I might start Live Mixing instruction with those, as well.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
You are better off reformatting, preferably in the device you intend to use the card in.

Reformatting is not some massive jolt, unless you are doing a complete "wipe" of whatever media you are using, though back in the old days with magnetic media it was actually a good thing to do so every once in a while - among other things, it allowed the disk to note dodgy sectors and avoid using those locations. As far as I know, this just isn't a thing with flash media.

A quick format of any media is generally just a wiping and re-writing of the "table of contents" which allows a device to recognise and locate data on the drive. Once the table of contents is wiped, the device sees the medium as a blank slate and will simply overwrite whatever was at those addresses (if there was anything).

Deleting files without formatting runs the risk of "fragmenting" - again, I'm not sure if that's even a thing anymore with flash media - but if you delete some files and not others, the disk may end up having to store parts of the same files at different points on the disk. There's is greater risk of corruption there, I think, not to mention it takes slightly longer to read or write (at least it did on the old spinny magnetic drives).

At least that's my understanding of it.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
The SD association has a free card format software that they strongly recommend using over the file formatting utility included with most operating systems.

https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter/
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
What's worked best for me is to format in the device that will use the card. Why screw around?
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Ignorance is sometimes a comfort, but now you've asked the question Joel.........

Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
...but now you've asked the question ....
I feel both completely and marginally less ignorant! Thanks everyone for their perspectives, vague intimations, beliefs, personal mythologies, and invaluable assistance.

Old 4 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Tommy-boy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In the past I was burned a time or two by deleting, instead of reformatting.

Any more, this is not an issue for me. I fill the cards up and retain them as a back up copy of the captures. I can get away with this because I'm not recording a ton of events.

One of my projects is to better organize and label these SDs.

Tom
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy-boy ➡️
In the past I was burned a time or two by deleting, instead of reformatting.

Any more, this is not an issue for me. I fill the cards up and retain them as a back up copy of the captures. I can get away with this because I'm not recording a ton of events.

One of my projects is to better organize and label these SDs.

Tom
Seal them in paper snail-mail envelopes (one card in each) and write the SD card contents on the envelope...as if you were addressing a letter

Just don't seal it in first, and then apply ballpoint pen pen pressure over the card inside ...snap ! Put the card inside last....then seal it and store in a cool dry place...
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