Red Giant Offload is an independent utility that makes data wrangling simple. If you’re familiar with Red Giant’s BulletProof, you can look at Offload as its slimmed-down cousin. Available for Windows or Mac, Offload unloads virtually any media from one source to another.
What stands out about Offload is the interface: it’s incredibly easy to navigate. Once you have it loaded, there are four main panels: source, copy, backup, and awaiting media.
From the “select a source” menu, choose the starting point you want to copy. The source can be anything – an external hard drive, a card reader, or even an existing folder on your machine. Offload even has the ability to recognize inserted media cards automatically.
This is the first destination where the media will transfer. After a source is selected, the copy area will activate, allowing you to choose a specific folder path. You can also add subfolders to the destination such as import number, source name, date, or your own custom text. We’re not sure how many subfolders you can make, but we stopped after twelve.
Backup is an optional panel. We repeat, optional. It allows you to create a second copy to another media destination. It works exactly like the copy panel.
At the bottom of the interface you will see thumbnails of the media from the selected source. Most media will provide a preview image, but others, like PSDs, for obvious reasons, won’t. The panel is used to show the progress of the offloading as it cycles through each clip, one at a time.
We looked at Offload version 1.01, which is no different than 1.0 other than a few bug fixes. It’s compatible with Windows 7 and 8, 64-bit and Mac OS X 10.8, 10.9, and 10.10. You can purchase the software as a standalone for $49 or as part of Red Giant’s Shooter Suite that also includes Plural Eyes, Denoiser II, Instant 4K, Frames, LUT Buddy, and BulletProof.
You might be asking, why would I purchase a transfer utility when I can just as easily plug a card reader directly into my computer and drag and drop the files without it? Well, if you want to avoid experiencing hard drive corruption that can cause you to lose huge amounts of data, then it’s worth the money. Offload uses checksum verification to make sure each bit it copies over is an exact match. If there’s a problem, it will stop and let you know of the issue. With a drag-and-drop method, you won’t get this kind of confidence.
To see how fast Offload transfers files, we connected a SanDisk Ultra 240GB SSD (SDSSDH-240GB-G25) via USB 3.0 to a Window i7 machine and copied over 5.8GB of data; it took 3:53 for the first copy to finish and a total of 7:22 to create the second backup. When finished, Offload produced a summary log. One thing to note is that when you select your copy and backup locations, even after you close the program, Offload will remember those locations upon reopening.
An option that took us a second to figure out is: what if later, you don’t want to create a second backup? How do you clear out the backup location? You actually have to right-click in the backup panel area and choose “reset destination folder.” Doing this will disable the backup panel, allowing you to make only one copy until you choose a new folder location. (This option is something Red Giant might want to consider adding to the menu tree – maybe under “events.”) During transfer, the interface shows the progression of each clip with color and percentage finished, giving you peace of mind as the utility moves from one to the next. You can cancel the transfer at any time, and Red Giant has added a pop-up window to make sure you want to do so before continuing.
Another nice attribute to mention is that Offload won’t ever copy over existing media. If you accidently choose the same folder destination or run clips a second time, it will automatically create a subfolder with the words “copy-conflicted” in its name. If you do it a second time, it will create another folder with a “copy-conflicted-1,” and so on.
With that said, Offload does not have the ability to copy from multiple sources at once. You can create a queue of sources, but you have to click “start” for each one. The same “one at a time idea” goes for the backend. It doesn’t run the copy and the backup simultaneously, but one consecutively after another. If you’re looking for something more robust, you should definitely take a look at BulletProof.
Offload works extremely well and we will be adding it to our post workflow. Again, it’s super easy and gives an added vote of confidence when transferring that ever so precious media.
What potentially could be really cool is if Red Giant opens it up to full file transfer solution. Offload can already transfer PSDs, JPGs, GIFs, MP4s, MOVs, and an onslaught of other media formats. So if you wanted to make a backup of your personal pictures to an external drive, you can. What would be great is if Red Giant opened Offload up to everything – .doc, .zips, .xls, ppt, system files, you name it. We don’t know how many times we’ll be transferring data from a smaller drive to a bigger one and receive an error – it’s infuriating. With its checksum verification, Offload could save a lot of hair pulling.