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As I explain in my books, if you think you may need to re-edit your video later, you should save a master copy:
1) If you're shooting in standard definition, you should save a master of your project using Share/Computer/AVI using the DV preset. This is the ideal type of video to edit in a project set up for DV.
2) If you're working in hi-def, you should save a master of your project using Share/Computer/MPEG using the 1440x1080i preset. This is the ideal type of video to edit in a project set up for HDV.
And, true, your back-up drive may fail. But the odds are much greater that your internal drive(s) may fail, since they're used constantly and your back-up is only used occasionally.
There are also a number of online back-up services available.
There are several possible backup schemes, as Steve points out.
Which one chooses, and also where it is located, will be determined by what one anticipates doing at a later time.
First, take a look at this ARTICLE, as it goes into detail on various forms of Save, which are useful, but are limited to the PREL (Project) file. Still, those are where the work is being done. One would still need the origianl media Asset files to use them - there are no Assets in a PREL, but just links.
Then, there is the Project Archiiver, which functions as a full Project backup utility. This is a method of archiving the full Project, plus all Assets, so that one could return to that Project, and resume editing. One caveat, is that Project Archiver works best, if all Assets (or the Copies, that one has Imported), are located in a central location, ideally within the Project's folder structure. If Assets have been Imported from all over the system, one should check the Archived Project very, very closely (not a bad thing to do anyway), before Deleting the Project and Assets from the system HDD's. I Archive my Projects to a series of external HDD's.
One can also do their own archiving, to almost any form of media, but due to the size of the AV files, the Assets, I'd look into external HDD's again, or a BD-Data disc. In this case, one would basically just Copy the PREL, and then the Assets to the HDD, or BD-Data. If that Project was revisited, one would likely have to use PrE's Find to re-link to all Assets in their new location.
Now, if one only wanted a Copy of the output file from the Project, Burning to Folder (DVD only), would allow for this, as would Burning to BD-Video. However, all edits will be "burned" into this output file. It could be re-edited, but there are two considerations: to replace one Transition with another, the original Transition will have to be cut out, both Clips (on either side of the old Transition) will have to be Trimmed for the new Transition, so material will be lost, (that is just one example), and also the output file will be Encoded to MPEG-2 (SD Project), HD-MPEG-2 or H.264 (HD Projects), and if re-edited, and then output again, another level of Compression will be added. Quality will suffer, though might still be adequate.
A DVD-Data, even a DL DVD-9, is adequate for only very small Projects, or for outputting to the DVD-Video standard files. Even for a modest Project, one would need a BD-Data disc, to store much, without the compression of BD-Video. That is why I use external HDD's - they can hold a lot of Projects, with their full, uncompressed Assets, and have things ready to go.
Lot of things to think about, and one needs to ask themselves a few questions, before deciding which is best. The main question is, when I revisit this material, exactly what do I want to be able to do?
If it's just burn another DVD-Video, or BD-Video, the answer is simple - just Burn and extra copy, and store it. If it's pick up editing from where I left off, then the Project Archiver, or similar manual "saving," would be the best choice.
Thanks for the advice
Wow! I have a lot to consider. Thanks for your very thorough reponse.