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  1. #1

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

    I'm preaching to the choir here, but I thought I note a recent story in the NY Times on the cost of storing movies -- $1,000 or so a year for film movies, as much as $200,000 a year for digital movies -- that sparked my latest blog on the need to preserve your family memories in analog media.

    http://charlestrentelman.blogspot.ca...are-toast.html

  2. #2
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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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.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by summicron1 View Post
    I'm preaching to the choir here, but I thought I note a recent story in the NY Times on the cost of storing movies -- $1,000 or so a year for film movies, as much as $200,000 a year for digital movies -- that sparked my latest blog on the need to preserve your family memories in analog media.

    http://charlestrentelman.blogspot.ca...are-toast.html
    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. #4
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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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..."



    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  5. #5
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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. #6

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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. #7

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    Hmmm. How much did it cost to store the Dead Sea Scrolls for 2000 years?
    “You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” - John Galt

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PtJudeRI View Post
    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.
    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. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by railwayman3 View Post
    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.

    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. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbromaghin View Post
    Hmmm. How much did it cost to store the Dead Sea Scrolls for 2000 years?
    Don't know, but when I tried to play them on my cassette player all I got was static.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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