Amber Cloud Storage for Filmmakers

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Amber?

Offsite backups are the best way to keep your work safe. Hard drives crash all the time and irreplaceable files can disappear. Most video professionals are careful to make at least one duplicate copy of all their data, but an onsite backup doesn’t protect from other threats like power surges, fire, flooding, ransomware, or even degradation.

There are plenty of options to get small files like documents and photos into a cloud backup, but uploading and downloading large amounts of video is a challenge. Filmmakers are shooting more often at higher resolution. With uncompressed or RAW file formats in 4K, 6K, and 8K filmmakers often generate many terabytes a day. It’s painful to upload these large files, and monthly storage costs in the cloud add up quickly.

Amber is the cloud built for filmmakers. We securely transport your data and deposit it into a private, permanent archive that’s designed around film industry workflows. You pay once to deposit a batch of files, and you can retrieve them for free anytime. It’s a simple, affordable offsite backup that keeps your footage safe long-term.

Who should use Amber?

Anyone that has footage they need to protect. That means you: producers, directors, editors, cinematographers, documentarians, production companies, film festivals, news outlets, internal marketing teams, ad agencies, post houses, drone operators, one-person-crews, film schools, videographers, DITs, DMTs, VFX artists, crane operators, studio engineers, VR companies, previs artists, post supervisors, and high-speed specialists.

Amber is a solution that is built to fit the multi-faceted needs of the film industry. Many producers, directors, and data technicians choose to bring AmberDrives on set to avoid purchasing their own redundant hard drives. Production companies with libraries of footage often move their files into Amber to free up their own storage space. Freelancers and videographers build archives in Amber to catalog years’ worth of clips for their demo reels.

Filmmakers are visionaries, storytellers, logistical masterminds, engineering wizards, and creative geniuses, not data security experts. Bring your vision to life, and we’ll keep it safe.

What’s an AmberDrive?

AmberDrives are the portable storage disks that we use to shuttle footage from your workspace to our data centre and vice versa. They’re small, rugged Lacie 2TB hard drives that we pack into custom waterproof cases designed for the wear and tear of set life.

We only use AmberDrives for transport. Users keep them for as long as it takes to copy their data or finish their shoot, and return them to Amber to deposit the data. We copy the data off of the AmberDrives byte for byte, performing MD5 checksums and integrity checks at every stage of ingestion. When the data is completely archived, we perform a secure, ISO-compliant erasure of the AmberDrive to prepare it for reuse.

You don’t have to buy or rent AmberDrives, it’s free to take as many as you need for a couple days. The only cost is the round-trip drive delivery, which we can waive if you’d like to pick up in person.

What are the specs on the AmberDrives?

Each AmberDrive is 2TB in capacity and features a ruggedized 5400 RPM hard drive. Every drive has a Thunderbolt 2 and a USB 3.1 connector. All drives are securely formatted to ExFat GUID and are non-case sensitive.

How do I backup my data in Amber?

First, you order AmberDrives from our website. We can drop them off or you can pick them up. After that, you can keep the AmberDrives for a few days to copy your data onto them. Once they’re ready we can pick them up or you can drop them off. From there, we immediately begin the backup and maintenance of all your data. After we have successfully deposited all your data we issue a Deposit Report, which has detailed metadata on everything we’ve received.

Data in Amber is deposited and withdrawn in batches. The contents of a single 2TB AmberDrive are considered a “batch”. An AmberDrive is ingested all at once into your Amber archive and can be referenced at any time by the batch number, which looks like “AMBER_185A2”.

How do I get my files back?

Due to the size and sensitivity of the film industry’s data, our web app doesn’t offer direct downloads of files in your archive. This avoids the exposure of data moving across the web, and helps us validate a user’s identity.

We hand off your data personally to you on an AmberDrive, and you’ll receive your whole batch exactly as you deposited it. Submit a withdrawal request from your dashboard and let us know which batch you’d like back.

Can I upload my files to Amber?

Amber uses AmberDrives to transport data back and forth. We don’t currently support direct uploading of files from your computer or internet connection into your archive.

What kind of files can I deposit into Amber?

Amber can archive any kind of file. We currently house files from every major camera manufacturer in the world, including Arri, RED, Panasonic, Canon, Sony, Phantom, Kinefinity, and Panavision. Our ingestion system is incredibly flexible and processes metadata and previews for every major file format in the broadcast and cinema worlds, from .R3D and .CINE to obscure flavours of .MXF and image sequences.

How many AmberDrives can I take out at once?

As many as you need! We don’t want you running out of space on your shoot, so feel free to book an extra AmberDrive just in case. You only pay for the data that you deposit into Amber.

How can I see files I’ve deposited?

Every batch of data deposited into Amber generates a Deposit Report, which you can see on your Amber dashboard. Your report is your deposit receipt; it list every file in your batch as well as previews and metadata for video clips.

To keep your report readable, we prioritize the display of video clips. On the report, image sequences and complex video files like .R3D are consolidated into a single clip, and non-video files are listed only by their filename and directory path.

Your files are actually stored in the archive exactly as you copied them onto the AmberDrive. We record MD5 checksums and other metadata on every file you deposit.

How quickly can I get my files back?

We can book an AmberDrive delivery 24 hours after a request for withdrawal. Standard withdrawals are free, but delivery cost still applies. If the request is urgent, contact the Amber team and we’ll begin a prioritized withdrawal.

Is my data secure?

The security and integrity of your files are critical to us. Film assets are among the most precious pieces of data in the world, and our systems have been designed with extreme care to protect them.

A big difference between Amber and other cloud providers is that Amber handles the ingestion and retrieval of your data. The user doesn’t need to upload data themselves over a consumer internet connection, which is a serious exposure to external threats. In Amber, your data flows through a constantly monitored pipeline that adheres to industry standards.

Where does Amber store my files?

Every file in Amber is copied multiple times to different storage locations. We keep a copy close by so we can get to you quickly, but other copies are stored in several far away locations. That’s right, the offsite backup has offsite backups.

How much does data retrieval cost?

Data retrieval is free and unlimited.

Is my data safe if I don’t pay my membership?

Yes. We know a film production can be a flurry of credit cards and mistakes happen. Your archive remains protected and monitored even if your membership payment fails. If there’s a payment issue, we’ll reach out to you until get it resolved.

If you go a few months without paying your membership, your data is still safe. You just need to settle your past months of missed payments to renew your subscription and access your files again.

After three months of missed payments your archive will be queued for removal. For customers that have been with us for less than a year, we will provide you with 30 days before your data is deleted. Customers that have been with us for more than a year have a longer grace period before data is deleted. We’ll do everything we can to get in touch with you before this happens.

How do I delete my files?

Contact Amber support and submit a delete request. There’s no cost to remove data from your archive. Due to the sensitive nature and high value of your files, we need to verify your identity to make sure there’s no unauthorized or accidental erasure.