I took the WD Passport Wireless drive on a recent assignment to the remote northern mountains of Vietnam. Whenever I travel I take multiple hard drives along with my laptop. I taking backing up my photos very seriously, I have to. My clients invest a lot of money in hiring me whether it’s for a commercial, wedding, or editorial assignment. Losing images would be catastrophic, so a good system is imperative. I can’t even imagine losing a couple’s most treasured moments from their wedding day or losing a take from a commercial shoot where tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested in production.
My typical workflow for all shoots is to leave my laptop at my hotel room and take a memory card wallet full of cards. Every chance I have to get back to my hotel room I back everything up on a My Passport Pro because it’s super fast thunderbolt connection and the double redundancy of the RAID drive. I also back up that drive nightly to a My Passport drive. Those two drives come with me on every shoot and when I travel those drives always are in two different locations, for example one in my camera bag and one in my luggage. For bigger shoots I’ll carry one hard drive and my assistant carries another. Those drives are wiped only after the client has received their images.
Once we get back to the office we have an archive manager who's responsibility is to get all the RAW files first thing when I return. We have a sign-in sheet for the RAWs to avoid any mistakes, I sign that they were given to her and she signs they were copied to a double redundant drive. Once that drive is full, one is kept in the office for storage and the other is kept locked in a safe.
Enter the new technology of WD - My Passport Wireless drive. The drive has built in power and can accept SD cards directly so no need for wires or power. I should add it does have USB 3.0 so if you want you can also use it like a typical wired hard drive.
It’s as simple as putting the card in, turning the power on, and pressing one button to copy the entire card. This comes in handy on shoots where I don’t want to take my laptop with me. Sure I can have plenty of memory cards on shoots and enough memory to cover me so I don’t need to dump cards but backing up throughout the day adds another level of security.
It’s also convenient when you don’t want to lug around or worry about your laptop. I can back up throughout the day, protecting me if I drop my card-wallet or drop a card somehow. It’s a lot easier to lose a small SD card than it is to lose a hard drive.
We tested the drive on a weeklong shoot in the remote mountains and it performed flawlessly.
I wanted to work lightly for this shoot so I left my laptop back at my hotel and during lunch breaks I would back up the cards on the drive. It really came in handy for this type of shoot. I could also see it being awesome for weddings for an extra layer of security by backing up images throughout the day. The battery life is great, 6 hours of continuous video streaming and up to 20 hours of standby time.
I can also see us using the drive on commercial shoots or in meetings, with the wireless capabilities I could have multiple clients looking through a take on their preferred device. For example the client, art director, models, production team could all connect to the drive wirelessly and go through a sequence of shots on their phones, iPads, etc.
This workflow might seem like overkill but honestly I can’t afford to lose files one time, it just can’t happen and this system protects me from that. I can’t imagine losing someone’s most treasured moments from their wedding or losing pictures from an assignment for someone like the New York Times.
The WD My Passport Wireless is definitely a welcomed edition to my gear and my workflow system. For a professional it's a fantastic piece of technology but I can also see it being useful to novices or even families to take with them on vacation to back up those once in a lifetime moments. The only thing I wish they did differently was I wish they added a slot for CF cards. Many pro-cameras have both options but there are still a lot of cameras leftover that only take CF cards.
Some images from the trip
Some information from the manufacturer
Wireless-N with MIMO
SD card slot
Data transfer rate*
USB 3.0 up to 5 Gb/s
SD 2.0 up to 25MB/s
Operating temperature: 0°C to 35°C
Non-op. temperature: –20°C to 60°C
A USB 3.0 host and USB 3.0 certified cable are required to obtain USB 3.0 speeds.
Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system and Mac OS®X