Tips for Success in a 48-hour Film Festival: Fast Storage, Good tools, and a Great Crew

A 48-hour film festival is an interesting challenge for filmmakers. Essentially, a filmmaker had only 48 hours to write, direct, and edit a short film together. The parameters are usually set by the festival's host, such as genre, line, character, and prop. The keys to success in a 48-hour film festival are fast storage, good tools, and a great crew. 

When there are only 48 hours to write, direct, and edit a short film, speed is naturally of the essence. What drives can best serve a filmmaker tasked to do almost the impossible? 

AN Productions recently partook in the Create PoCo Still Rendering 48 Hour Film Challenge. Their film "Turn Around" won Audience Choice against 13 other teams. 

The first step is to know your camera. For ANP, they used a Black Magic Pocket 6K. What formats will let the editor work fast? ANP decided to shoot "Turn Around" in Ultra HD, 3840x2160 422 HQ 23.976fps, which needs the drive to write about 110 MB/s. While not RAW, the footage is good enough to properly color correct (dropping on some LUTS) and manipulate. 

The perfect drive for filmmakers when speed is of the essence is the ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II V90 memory card. ANP uses two 256Gb cards with the Black Magic Pocket 6K to ensure they do not need to dump footage constantly. The larger the card, the less time is required for constantly dumping what is shot. When there are only 48 hours to put everything together, one must keep shooting no matter what. 

ProGrade Digital SDXC UHS-II V90 memory card specs

  • Read Speed: Up to 300MB/s
  • Write Speed: Up to 250MB/s
  • Form Factor: SDXC UHS-II
  • Dimensions: 0.94″ x 1.25″ x 0.08″ (24 mm x 32 mm x 2.1 mm)
  • Operating Temperature: -13℉ to 185℉ (-25℃ to +85℃)
  • Storage Temperature: -40℉ to +185℉ (-40℃ to +85℃)
  • Compatibility: Compatible with SDXC and SDXC UHS-I enabled host devices
  • Security: Built-in write-protect switch prevents accidental data loss

Once shooting at location one ended, ANP moved to their HQ to begin the dumping process. They needed to dump footage and audio from separate SD cards and put them into one location. ANP split duties and used different laptops with SD card readers to dump the footage and begin labeling to save time. To assure the footage and sound went to one location, ANP needed a fast and reliable portable drive. They used the LaCie Rugged SSD. 

However, the night was not done. While dumping audio and footage, the crew moved to the next location. While there, nature reared its head. As night fell, rain began to fall. Lucky for them, the 1TB LaCie Rugged SSD is built for such wild environments. ANP never needed to worry about their SSD failing or short-circuiting due to the water. 

*GOOD TIP* If your camera doesn't have the proper protection for the outside, a 1-gallon zip-lock baggie will work just fine (if it is not a torrential downpour). 

The LaCie Rugged SSD is built to take a beating with LaCie's patented design. This drive is a perfect solution for any filmmaker in a hurry to best organize your files and even edit off of, which is what ANP wound up doing. ANP used the 1TB model. Knowing to have more space than necessary is better than not having enough space. The LaCie Rugged SSD is also available in 500GB and 2TB sizes, but ANP says the 1TB is the best bang for your buck. 

LaCie Rugged SSD Specs

  • Connection Interface: 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (USB Type-C)
  • Maximum Read Speed: 950 MB/s

LaCie also offers a sweetener for any filmmaker with their five years of rescue data recovery services. 

When it came to editing, ANP turned to Magix Vegas Pro 18 to use its amazing audio effects features built into the NLE platform. After all, having lousy footage but good audio is better than awful audio and good footage. Lucky for ANP, they had both. There is no need for separate software. When time is of the essence, Vegas Pro 18 offers a wide array of audio effects and capabilities, including a fantastic de-noise effect perfect for helping improve your film's audio. 


However, where would fast storage and good tools be without a good crew? 

The last aspect to remember for a 48-hour film festival is your crew, and arguably the most important. Who is on set with you? Ironically, the key is to plan ahead. Know you are entering a 48-hour festival. There are no rules to planning for equipment, talent, and locations before the 48 hours begin. Don't be afraid to reach out to people you haven't spoken to for a while. Don't be scared to put yourself on a limb. 

And - like ANP - if you're working on a less than shoe-string budget, remember the number one way to win over a person's heart. 


Set aside money for food to feed your crew. This includes your actors. A fed crew is a happy crew.

Thanks to fast storage, good tools, and a great crew, ANP's entry for the 48-hour film festival was submitted on time and on schedule. Eventually, their film won the Audience Choice Award (and the cash prize with it) against 13 other entries. Utilize these principles, and you too can have a successful and fruitful experience for whatever a 48-hour film festival throws at you.  

Watch "Turn Around" here in full. 

Learn more about ProGrade here!

Learn more about LaCie here!

Learn more about Magix here!

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