Movies learn the lesson: Film is a LOT cheaper to store than digital

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by summicron1, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    That's very interesting. Maybe it will bring more use of film...at least while the price is so high for storage. I just wish that projection was still film based.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    This has been the case since the first digital image files were created, so I don't consider it news. Of course this applies to still image storage also ( or at least until PrintFile pages become unaffordable ).
     
  4. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    It worth noting again, I think, that this behavior is by design. The entire digital technology marketing premise, and with it the reason for digital's very existence, is the principle of planned obsolescence.

    Today's digital technology is engineered to not work with yesterday's digital technology. That's the whole idea. Were it not, then the economic house of cards underpinning the entire industry would collapse.

    Unfortunately, this model which is so good at intentionally causing, then making money off of, people's frustrations is in direct opposition to the meaning of the term "archival..."

    :sad:

    Ken
     
  5. Europan

    Europan Member

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    Considering a 1000-ft. roll of standard black-and-white film we talk about some $400 generating cost. Since that roll will last about 400 years the archiving cost per anno is $1 for it. A 1000-ft. roll of 35-mm. film contains 16,000 frames of 24 mm × 18 mm. Given a resolution of 200 line pairs per millimeter we have 17.28 Megapixel available, the roll thus holding 276.48 Gigapixel. Encoded 34.56 Gigabytes

    Raising the resolving power of the overall system we could go to Terabytes. If not used numerically, the photoreprographic quality of modern films allows archiving in fantastic fineness. Actually, there are stocks on the market that have resolving power up to 5000 line pairs per millimeter, grainless.

    He who believes in digital archives is ignorant.
     
  6. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    I think that the other thing that comes into play here is the cost associated with the storage. Servers vs. Archival space. Sure, film will last 400 years. If its kept in a hermetically sealed vault with 24-7 temp and humidity control, say in a salt mine or something. With the quality of storage come costs. You certainly could store film cheaply, but you can store it expensively too.

    I agree with the permanence of film, and its staying power, but I think the costs being given here are only a select example, and on that favors our side of the table at that.
     
  7. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Hmmm. How much did it cost to store the Dead Sea Scrolls for 2000 years?
     
  8. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I'd agree that film storage would, in practice, attract extra costs for monitoring, security, temperature, etc., as you suggest, to make the best of the permanence.

    But, surely, digital media would attract similar costs, even ignoring the lack of permanance (what's the life of a CD or a hard drive?) and the obsolescence of the media.

    The business where I worked 15 years ago used Zip Drives for data storage...the present boss told me recently that they now have no means of reading the disks. Fortunately the records are obsolete and no longer needed, otherwise it would have been a major and expensive task to bring it forward onto more modern media.
     
  9. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    as I say in the blog -- a major advantage of film for long-term storage is that the technology to read it is pretty simple -- light and a lens. Just about any society with moderate machining and optical infrastructure can duplicate it, even if they have no initial idea what they need to build.

    Rebuilding an iOmega ZIP drive is another matter -- not to mention the software to read the files. That's where the huge costs come in -- constantly updating and migrating files, not physical storage.
     
  10. Vaughn

    Vaughn Member

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    Don't know, but when I tried to play them on my cassette player all I got was static.
     
  11. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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    Ever wonder how many of those wonderful digital files survive the second or third generation of upgrading computers. Have any photos stored on Floppy disks, 3.5's how about 5 1/4's or ta da.. 8 inch floppys. Or HP 7906 drives using 10 meg platters. "Oh you want your data back from our computer? Lets see the fees will be....." Digital will continue because there is no cure for stupidity and for them P. T. Barnum knew how to drain their pockets. PS Just retired from a lab with HP-85 computers still running. The cost of replacing every generation of storage... keep paying oh gullible and foolish one's the economy needs you.
     
  12. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Yes, I think it is sad that all family photos, its photographic history, will not survive like it did when film was used. :sad:
     
  13. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I think there was a technical Oscar awarded last year for a digital movie to film record archiving process.
     
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  15. Matthew Cherry

    Matthew Cherry Member

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    I'm confused, it looks like that article was published in 2007?
     
  16. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    Not only cheaper but film and prints have much longer life than digital media. I learned that the hard way when I lost data (including family pictures) stored on CD's after 5-6 years. At the time buying "archival CD" quality was very expensive. Even those were not guaranteed for the life of a negative or print. Try to retrieve now data from a floppy...
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Yes, it is very old news. Being discussed here already. The main study on this issue is from 2007.
     
  18. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    I retired recently after 40 years in Public Library work, so I have an almost instinctive concern for preservation of information. The incident cited about reading a 3.5 inch floppy is really relevant. Imagine trying to read a 5.25 or 8 inch floppy! So many of my friends and even some professional colleagues never print their digital images, nor do they have even the most primitive backup strategy. When their laptop hard drive fails, as it will sooner or later, all those family pictures are probably gone. Cellphone pix? Forget it!

    We will probably never leave those archetypal shoe boxes of family photos to our descendants. I treasure the photos my father took in the 30s, 40s and 50s; he processed the negatives himself and they're just fine.

    And the problem isn't limited to pictures. My daughter has had two volumes of her poetry published by university presses, on acid free paper, but her chapbook is only in E-book format. How long will that be available? And how many of the youngsters out there understand the problem, or even give a damn.

    And at the risk of seeming even more of an old fart, audio CDs have an unknown life span. I have a few of the first vinyl CDs ever made and they're still playable, although pretty noisy! Analogue is perhaps forever.... Digital is another matter.
     
  19. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Everything about this is dead on. Nikon, Canon, et all are laughing all the way to the banks while droves of people believe they're somehow ahead of the curve now that they don't have to deal with those pesky negatives (which btw are an implicit archive just by their existence!).
     
  20. clayne

    clayne Member

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    One small pedantic point (I agree with your post whole heartedly), it's 18mm if they're shooting 4-perf. Many shoot 3-perf Super 35, which is 13.9 mm on the short side.
     
  21. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    I think it would be good to consider :

    a) Are these digital memories meant to be stored forever? (does the late night party swigging which went on fb/instgram/wherever have to be around by the time the kids arrive?)

    b) possibilities of Cloud storage.

    c) CG generated graphics and movies - especially the 3d ones?

    I am not saying either medium is *better* for storage, I am saying it needs to be compared a little better.


    To qualify: I lost a 400Gig HDD a year back - it fell 1.5ft onto the ground and then poof. I generally have the strategy of HDD+ HDD+ optical medium(when I can). That time, it was my main HDD and I didnt have *some* of the pictures backed up, well nearly half a year's worth of travels. :sad: Then again, my processing of one of my Kumbh Mela rolls went kaput also...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2013
  22. Usagi

    Usagi Member

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    I mess up with negatives (too) often, but good negatives will last long. The poor ones can be saved by scanning and adding some photoshop magic. Ofcourse not always.

    The worst scenario for negatives, prints and my digital files is physical damage. Flood or fire...

    The paranoid would always have good prints from best negatives stored somewhere safe place. Same goes with digital pictures. Best quality prints well stored.

    I don't have such a masterpiece in my photographs that those precautions feel necessary.
    The main concern will be in ordinary family photos, and archiving them is just way too much work.
     
  23. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    In the real world (not the technology marketing world) just what do you think "The Cloud" really is?

    (Hint: It's not water vapor-based data storage...)

    Ken
     
  24. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    The dead sea scrolls are a digital medium. The scrolls themselves are obviously deteriorated; if they were an analogue recording of some sort you would not be pointing them out as a success story.

    I suppose the best way to archivally store visual information would be to digitally record the data in the form of QR codes or something simpler like plain-text image information, onto B&W archival film. Then not only will the film last for hundreds of years, it would be copyable infinitely many times with no generation loss.
     
  25. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    My 25 year old CNC router at work boots up on a 5.25" disc. I keep the controller power on so it doesn't have to do it very often (although I don't know if that's actually a good idea).

    A work colleague has just bought a 5.25" drive emulator. I was surprised to see that my Excellon CNC-6 controller was in the list of approved machines to use it with so all is not lost if the drive gives up.


    Steve.
     
  26. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI Member

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    In todays society, where everything has a price, Im sure it would cost a small fortune. It was lucky for those involved that some enterprising camel herder didnt want to sell the rights to his cave for the use of media storage.