Interesting NYtimes article about the cost of digital storage compared to film storag

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by CatLABS, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Long-term storage of digital assets is a problem that has yet to be solved. The failure rate of digital storage mediums I've experienced has been depressing--floppies, Zip disks, burned CDs and DVDs, hard drives--all had disturbingly high failure rates. All sorts of files I stored in "the cloud"--gone forever. Eventually, there's going to be a much better method for digital storage, but when?

    The static nature of film negative storage has always been something I've valued. Amazingly, I've still got most of the negatives and slides I've shot over my lifetime. Other than some crappy Agfa reversal stock, it hasn't degraded. It hasn't taken much time and effort to preserve this stuff.
     
  3. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    ...........things are supposed to get better with progress
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Exactly!

    Jeff
     
  5. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Which Agfa is it? My Agfachrome from the 70's is still beautiful, but my Fujichrome up to the early 80's has had a lot of yellow fading.

    Just the other day, PE said that the older Agfa was not E-4, but their own process, and later Agfachrome was E-6.
     
  6. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    Hmmm, I'll need to check, maybe it's just the funky warm color balance of the Agfa films.
     
  7. clayne

    clayne Member

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    That assumes "progress" is true progress, not false progress designed to sell more crap and go through another cycle of multi-generational marketing.
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Agfa were very, very reluctant to change processes. They were one of the last to change. They skipped E-4.
     
  9. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Well, their color was certainly superior to Ektachrome or Fujichrome, and as it turns out so was their longevity, so I think they were wise to not change.
    I have mistaken my Agfachrome for Kodachrome, based on the original color and how unfaded the slides still are.
     
  10. hdeyong

    hdeyong Member

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    This is typical. Everything now, whether deliberate or not, is planned to be obsolete in the not-too-distant future. Our economy is now based largely on waste. Nothing gets fixed or upgraded, it get tossed and a new one is bought to replace it.
     
  11. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Film is dead..long live film!
     
  12. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Yep. Fight the power.
     
  13. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    Storing digital data on HDD's is not a problem as long as you follow a process and basically keep 2 copies, and in separate locations. Inevitably one will fail but it's extremely unlikely both will fail and AT THE SAME TIME! Arguably as likely as a house fire or burglary which could just as easily destroy and film.

    It's also wise to upgrade to current HDD's periodically, with greater capacity.
     
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  15. Naples

    Naples Member

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    Or you can place negatives in a box. :smile:
     
  16. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    In the end we need to question what we need to keep. I have a couple dozen hard drives humming. And a building that doesn't need another file cabinet.
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Discs are just so beautiful and sentimental to look at. But the nice thing about them is, even if the data is lost, you can always use them for
    skeet shooting!
     
  18. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

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    How easy it is to make such statements, when the scope of experience does not span 20-30 years, and the accompanying lack of realization that harddrive controller technology and motherboard buss connectors that they plug into all have evolved multiple times...
    so that it would be very hard for the average consumer to read the data written on harddrives from 30 years ago unless they still owned a PC from back then! :blink:

    OTOH, I pulled out some 45 year old B&W negs of Janice Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, shot in 1967-1968, and made prints from them only a couple of years ago.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2013
  19. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I work in IT at a University, and I've been tempted to mess with the student techs who think film is bad. I have some old 3.5" DS/DD floppies, and would love to ask them to get "important" documents off of them.

    First they need to find a floppy drive. We have a few in the tech room, though I'm the only one who has them in my machines. Yes, every now and then a professor brings a floppy with important material and either they have no drive, or windows thinks the disk is corrupt and wants to format it (but it's not DS/DD). I use Linux, so this usually isn't an issue for me.

    Then the students would have to learn the disks look like what they know, but are not DS/HD. They then have to learn how to setup the computer to read them, if the BIOS or firmware lets them, and if the floppy drive can handle it.

    If I do this to them, they would hopefully learn backing-up their digital pictures (and class projects) is something that has to be actively maintained - forever. It is not a low-maintenance affair.
     
  20. jjphoto

    jjphoto Member

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    In fact my background is in Electronics/IT and dates back to the early 80's, ie just about the time the IBM PC was released. That's about 30 years of direct experience with IT/technology obsolescence so I think I can speak with some experience in the field. I think my first digital files date to about 2001 and I have ALL of them, in their 640x480 perfection!

    The reason I said the above is exactly for the reason that you describe, ie because technology does become unreadable eventually and you do have to 'keep-up'. That's all part of the procedure and if you upgrade your drives every so often then you are not only keeping up with technology but probably also reducing the number of drives you have to keep too. Who knows what the next 'data-storage-method-of-choice' will be but eventually you'll have to have your data on it otherwise you WILL loose it. In some respects you are more likely to keep that data than with film, as long as you can keep up to date (ie 2 copies, with one in a second location) but I agree that most people probably won't, in the long term anyway.

    It's true that to some extend you will always be able to print film, even if you have to scan your trannies and print digitally instead of printing Cibachromes or similar chemical prints. However film is not completely immune to degradation/damage either. I have plenty of film (B+W and trannies) dating to the early 80's, all kept carefully in storage sleeves, which have stuck to sleeves to varying degrees and done some minor damage (maybe this can be cleaned/dealt with, I don't know, maybe the sleeves I've used where not adequate, maybe the storage conditions, maybe, maybe...). Ironically the B+W films wrapped in sheets of plain paper are just fine.
     
  21. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    If you really want to drive them insane I have some 8-inch SS/SD floppies somewhere around here. As I recall, the drive was about the size of a laser printer. And you had to specify custom "blocking factors" to write anything. Essentially each write operation was also a formatting operation.

    Hand them one of these and tell them that it contains the next winning lottery number...

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  22. madgardener

    madgardener Member

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    I can send some of my TRS 80 model one ss/sd disks, and some of my C64 disks formatted on that wonderful commodore 1540 disk drive. Their heads would explode! lol
     
  23. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    This thread has prompted me to ask a question that entered my head after I had seen the credits on a movie film that was on TV many years after being made. Sorry I forget what film it was but it certainly was post World War Two.

    It said the film had been digitally re-mastered. I wonder what this meant and why was it necessary given that film has a very long life.

    Was this the exception rather than the rule i.e. the film in question had simply been physically damaged rather than suffering an inevitable form of age deterioration?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  24. AgX

    AgX Member

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    You can compare that re-mastering with the same in the audio-world:

    a film having faults either by origin or due to storage is digitalized, cranked through enhancing programms and then either printed on film or kept as digital file.
     
  25. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Scanned, rekeyed, any blatantly noticeable visible errors corrected. That's about it. It's not a directly analogy to sound engineering as usually these days the studios and mastering engineers can't help but compressing the dynamic range even more than the original master (see: loudness war).
     
  26. GregW

    GregW Member

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    Slightly OT but in the ballpark, Perhaps not everyone is sold on digital start to finish. J.J. Abrams has hired Dan Mindel to shoot the next Star Wars film on 35mm Kodak 5219.
    A quote from Mindel's IMDB profile:
    "I think the film medium is irreplaceable. The rendition of film is so good and the quality is so high, especially when you use large format. That is something we won't be able to do with HD for years. I was watching Vertigo yesterday, which was a VistaVision movie. My god, the quality! You could project that on the wide of the Queen Mary and it's going to look good