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Do More Lights, Camera, Seagate! On Location in the Amazon

Seagate hard drives on set in the Amazon play key role in Brazilian film Xingu.

Seagate is helping filmmakers tell the epic story of two brothers who fought to protect Brazil’s indigenous Indian tribes.

Xingu tells the true story of Orlando and Claudio Villas Boas, who established the vast Xingu National Park in 1961. The brothers lived among the many Indian tribes they met while exploring the Amazon, gaining their trust and persuading them to make peace with one another so that they could eventually integrate into modern society. Among the film’s supporting cast are more than 100 Xingu Indians.

The film is a production of O2 Filmes, which released the acclaimed City of God, which garnered four Academy Award nominations in 2004. Xingu was filmed on location in the Amazon, in the west–central state of Tocantins. The hot, humid environment was a tough test for the film’s crew and their storage products.

Peace–of–Mind Storage

“Seagate’s hard drives were very dependable,” said Hugo Gurgel, a post–production manager on the film. “They were easy to use, and they gave us real peace of mind. We never had a single drive failure, which was just amazing, considering where we were filming.”

In exchange for promotional consideration, Seagate donated several of its external hard drives to the production. Those products included portable and drives. In all, the filmmakers had 16 terabytes’ worth of storage capacity for backing up, protecting and sharing their daily footage while on location.

The filmmakers were impressed with the reliability of Seagate products, but also left nothing to chance. Rugged Pelican cases helped protect the drives from accidental drops or impact during transport. And because thick dust was a constant presence on location, the drives were regularly cleaned with blasts of compressed air.

The compact portable drives were used on a daily basis, Gurgel said, enabling crew members to easily share both incoming and outgoing video footage. The crew would load the drives with video from each scene, and pass them along to director Cao Hamburger and his team for review. The drives were also sent to an off–site lab for processing, and delivered to O2 Filmes headquarters in Sao Paulo so that producers there could see the work in progress and relay their input back to the filmmakers.

The bigger drives, meanwhile, stored raw footage captured from the production’s different film and sound crews. The high–capacity desk drives (with storage capacities of up to 2TB) and the speedy eSATA connection were ideal for film production and editing, where files can be very large and fast data–transfer speeds is critical.

Something Extra

Much of the Xingu footage stored on Seagate’s external drives were incorporated into special “making–of” documentaries for the film’s DVD extras, as well as an on–set blog.

The desk drive also was used to store and backup all sound recorded on the set. The filmmakers load that footage onto portable drives for editors who mix the video and audio content.

“The entire process was so smooth and simple, thanks to Seagate’s products,” Gurgel said. “They helped us keep our workflow going each day, without interruption.”

Xingu was released in Brazil in late 2010 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Xingu National Park. Among the local film fans eager to see the finished work was Jessica Pimentel, marketing manager for Seagate’s South America region.

“The story of the Villas Boas brothers is very important to the history of Brazil,” Pimentel said from her office in Sao Paulo. “It’s also a story that was in danger of being forgotten as the years go by. I’m very proud that Seagate was able to contribute in a small way to the making of this film.”

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–By Steve Pipe

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