How are snapshots supposed to work?

Hello guys.

I’m working on an album for one local band. I have recorded it with another DAW, then exported all tracks and inserted it into one big project in Ardour, containing all of the songs.

This “big project” was pre-mixed (like it was a one song) as a preparation for more detailed work on individual songs.

Then I started with individual songs. (In “big project”) I used File -> Snapshot (& switch 2 new version), deleted everything except the song I wanted to work on and fine-mixed and edited the song. After that, everything was still OK.

After then, I did opened “big project” again and trying to make second song using the same procedure as the previous - Snapshot, delete surrounding tracks, work on one song.

However - after I finished the second song, I opened “big project” again … and the big project was almost (not exactly) same as the second song - just without few last edits - exactly was the same as second song before last closing and reopening.

So, I would like to ask two questions:

  1. Was this bad method to approach what I wanted or bug? If not bug, how I’m supposed to do it better?
  2. Is there a way, how to recover “big project” (without touching the two already finished)?

Thank you!

PS: I admit that I might be an total idiot and just used right tool wrong way … but I don’t think it would look like this. Anyway, I’m still f***** off - hours and hours of work are gone :frowning:

I’ve had similar problems before too. I don’t know the solution but for recovering the work you did have a look in the project directory to see if there is a .bak file there, if it’s bigger than the current project file then you might be able to get your work back (just rename the current one to .bakbak or something and remove the .bak extension on the older one. You might want to make a backup of the whole directory before trying this, just in case.

Thanks for reply. Yeah, I’ve tried it immediately - but “bak” files was already lost too. And history files didn’t go so far to re-create old state.
If you’ve had same problem, it could be a bug, so after re-doing what I’ve done, I’ll try to reproduce this bug again, as it is pretty dangerous bug (if it’s bug).

I just had this happen to me too. My usual workflow is to start with a long multitrack live recording, find something I want to put together, make a snapshot for it, and do all the work of cutting it out and mixing it in the snapshots, leaving the original recording intact for future use.

In this case, the original somehow got overwritten 11 days after, towards the end of the work on the snapshot, which is two days older than the original session now.

I have crashplan so I restored the original file. Would have been a real pain to have to put the original live recording back together from the regions.

The manual seems to imply that I should be making new sessions using Session -> Save As and not using snapshots this way… but I’ve never run into this before 5.9. So is this a bug in 5.9 or was the old behavior a “feature” that got fixed?

We need some added clarity in the manual if this isn’t a use case for snapshots (and if so, what’s the use case for snapsnot and keep working vs. snapshot and switch). And if not, there is probably a bug.

Hm. Looks I’m not alone, but I think we should investigate it more - when and why this exactly happens, as it sounds like a serious bug. I did not have a backup (what a shame!), however the project was recorded in cubase and I’ve made per-track exports, so I will just create new project and import them… I’ve lost just some pre-mixes and simple edits … and two vocal re-takes.

Are you using it on Linux or another OS?

There isn’t much of a point to backuping the whole ~40GB sessions each week, at least for me, as it really only appears to be the session file getting clobbered. Ardour is still being quite non-destructive with the rest of the files, as it should be. Additionally, you know, Crashplan. I just happened to be working off the external disk because I was in a hurry. Normally I copy it to my internal disk first, which gets picked up automatically by Crashplan. After I’m done, I move it off to my NAS for archival. If my NAS dies, well, eh, that stinks, but I’m just doing this for fun anyway. Maybe someday when I have a little more discretionary cash, I’ll make tarballs and ship them to Amazon Glacier or get Crashplan backing up the NAS as well.

Also, it’s usually better to use something like rsync -av(zP if remote) to make a backup, although it depends on your use case somewhat. -a is equivalent to -rlptgoD, which is almost always what you really want, except in certain cases.

I’m using Linux and sessions are always on local SSD.

I’ve found preserving permissions and owner troublesome when restoring backups. They can be a pita when restoring as another user who made the backup or when the username used to make the backup no longer exists in the system. IMHO Permissions are important in backups only in few cases like backing up executables or backing up the whole os. After all Ardour files are data only and should be always readable to anyone restoring the backup.

40 GB is quite a lot to backup, maybe you could skip audio files by: rsync -rtv SourceDir/ TargetDir/ --exclude=‘audiofiles’

I’ve heard that Amazon Glacier is good and cheap, but as its name says it moves slow as a glacier. This might be ok when making backups. As far as I know glacier uses tapes for storing data.

A little healthy paranoia concerning files stored on disks has served me well in the past :slight_smile: Disks are quite reliable nowadays, but I have given the rm -rf * command myself in a wrong directory a couple of times. Nothing saves you from that except a backup :slight_smile:

Sorry I cant be of more help than this.

I use “Snapshot & switch to new version” heavily. So far I have not had problems with it. I have had corrupted sessions out of the blue with Pro Tools so I routinely backup my Ardour sessions to another drive each day when I stop working. This has saved my bacon a couple of times. On Linux backing up is simple, just: rsync -rtv SourceDir/ TargetDir/

Forgot to mention: On 5.11 now, recorded this particular session with 5.10 though.

Happened to me again. This time I didn’t have a backup because I was working directly on the USB drive. One thing I did note is that, when trying to open the original session, Ardour asked me if I wanted to recover crash data. Ardour hadn’t crashed so far as I know.

It seems like sometimes, for reasons unknown, Ardour gets confused and writes both to the snapshot and the original for a period of time. So far it seems to happen to me only when I use the Snapshot and Switch to New Version functionality, but I hardly ever use the other functionality.

It seems like my workflow should be to make a snapshot for the original full recording before I make the snapshot for whatever I want to pull out of it, and then cross my fingers and hope saving the smaller snapshot doesn’t overwrite all three. Or manually back it up, just in case my auto backup hasn’t kicked in yet or I’m still on the thumb drive. Annoying.

Now on to the work of creating new tracks and dragging all the regions back into their correct place. Ugh.

I’ve been using 5.12 almost since it was released and I haven’t experienced the problem yet. knocks on wood

Forgive me for placing this question in an old thread, but I think the previous posts serve as a good context for it.

I have just started to work in the same way that lnasuk describes above, i.e. I have one “big draftboard session” which contains snapshots of individual song ideas (Snapshot 1 = Song Idea 1, Snapshot 2 = Song Idea 2 etc.). I am fine working like this in the composing phase of the process, but once a song idea (=snapshot) has started to resemble a more advanced composition, I would like to save it, not as a snapshot, but as a separate, independent session (one song = one session). So, I guess my question is this:

Can I save a single snapshot as a new session, without the other snapshots in the original session being saved with it in the new session?

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