How I backed up all my wedding footage in the cloud


My wife and I absolutely love our wedding video. I honestly can’t imagine how it could have been any better. In addition to their excellent work, we chose Amari Productions as our videographers because they offered us the ability to get all our wedding footage in raw. This really appealed to us since we think it would make a really great anniversary present down the line to eventually produce a longer wedding movie. This presents us a problem — how do we download and store all this video?

We face an immediate problem: Amari has sent us a Google Drive folder with the 100 or so gigabytes of raw files (zipped) that will be deleted in about a few weeks. My wife and I are not at home at the moment, so it’s a bit impractical for us to download all of this to a terabyte hard drive.

A remote backup is definitely the right move. However, I am not quite ready yet to pay for that much Google Drive space every year. Can I do better with Google Cloud Storage?

Ideally, I want to solve for both 1) convenient data transfer and 2) cheap long-term storage.

What’s this going to cost?

My approach was to set up a Google Cloud Storage bucket as cheaply as possible. (For the non-technical reader: A bucket is like a folder in Drive.) I’ve estimating that it would cost me about $14 in the first year, given that I need to transfer the data and I’ll probably want to download it once. This is cheap enough that I don’t really care to estimate the exact annual cost thereafter, which will almost certainly be lower (maybe $7 a year).

I don’t expect to access the data that often, so the archival storage class seems good enough for me. I feel pretty confident about GCP’s lack of data loss, so I only chose to host the data in a single data center.

Wedding Footage Cloud Storage Cost Estimates

How did I back it all up?

I basically followed this article ’s approach for copying data between Google Drive and Google Cloud Storage. The steps for me looked like:

  1. I “Added a Shortcut” from Amari’s shared folder to my personal drive. This was essential for the it to show up in my mounted drive later on.
  2. I created a cloud bucket that suited my needs. I called it gs://merose-wedding-video-raw. I typically use long, verbose names like these since bucket names have to be globally unique.
  3. I created a new Colab notebook and followed the steps mentioned in the article. After the setup, the actual transfer more or less amounted to a gsutil invocation.

Here’s the actual Colab that I used to make the transfer, if you’d like to do something similar yourself (remember to change the Drive folder name and destination bucket).

Google Colaboratory


I think I’ve met all my goals to have a convenient, cheap backup of my wedding videos. This whole process was incredibly easy: With Colab, I didn’t have to install or set anything up. Writing this article probably took ten times as long as it did to write the code. My favorite part: this basically amounts to renting a hard drive from Google, where they’re on the hook for maintenance.