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NY Times article on digital storage


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 07:49 PM

Nothing really new here but it reminds us that recent changes have really added to the costs of finishing a movie:

http://www.nytimes.c...s...70&emc=eta1
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#2 Walter Graff

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 08:07 PM

I always said that every step forward in technology is two steps back and examples like this proove it time and again. Two other examples. Computers were supposed to get rid of paper. We curently use four times as much as we did before computers. Technology was going to make our work weeks easier and we'd probably have 20 hour work weeks due to the advances of technology...etc, etc.
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#3 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 08:34 PM

Nothing really new here but it reminds us that recent changes have really added to the costs of finishing a movie:

http://www.nytimes.c...s...70&emc=eta1


Excellent find David.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 08:36 PM

I suppose the bright side of this is that studios are finally realizing the value of their libraries so are mastering and storing the movies right off the bat in various archival formats for eventual re-use and re-purposing.

In the past, you'd see the same movie retransferred several times, for broadcast, then VHS home video, then laserdisc, then DVD, then HDTV... which adds up, just that they spent the money over a couple of decades.
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#5 Joe Taylor

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 09:11 PM

"To store a digital master record of a movie costs about $12,514 a year, versus the $1,059 it costs to keep a conventional film master."

Quote from the NY Times Article.

Why does it cost so much to archive a film? I can understand why digital would cost more. But $1,000+ to store a box of film...

I can imagining the government paying these prices, but a company in the private sector....?
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#6 Walter Graff

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 09:17 PM

The land the box is on, the building, the AC, the elctricity, the maintenence, the upgrades of that system, the people to do the maintanence, etc, etc.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 22 December 2007 - 10:51 PM

The land the box is on, the building, the AC, the elctricity, the maintenence, the upgrades of that system, the people to do the maintanence, etc, etc.


Not to mention the salaries of the people who tend all of that stuff and keep an eye on all of that precious stuff.
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#8 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:21 AM

I suppose the bright side of this is that studios are finally realizing the value of their libraries so are mastering and storing the movies right off the bat in various archival formats for eventual re-use and re-purposing.

In the past, you'd see the same movie retransferred several times, for broadcast, then VHS home video, then laserdisc, then DVD, then HDTV... which adds up, just that they spent the money over a couple of decades.


Very interesting analysis. One could argue that it was film that helped several "emerging" video technologies to survive and grow because everytime a new video format came out the same films would be remastered to the new format. If Film hadn't existed and it was a type of video format that was being retransferred the advantages of retransferring a video master everytime a new video format came out would have been less dramatic.
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#9 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:23 AM

Great article.

I know I have a huge amount of mini DV tapes sitting around my house, as well as harddrives full of footage... and that's only from the past few years.

I can't imagine trying to back up everything I've ever done and migrate it to the next system that comes along.
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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:37 AM

Great article.

I know I have a huge amount of mini DV tapes sitting around my house, as well as harddrives full of footage... and that's only from the past few years.

I can't imagine trying to back up everything I've ever done and migrate it to the next system that comes along.


Although betacam sp tapes take up a lot more space than mini-dv they seem to be a intriguing compromise between super small tapes that may or may not last a long time, and hardrives, and they offer a much lower cost compared to digital betacam.

Betacam sp decks are going for a song on ebay these days, although if one has never owned such a deck they would not have any way of knowing what shape it is in or where to get it serviced. If I was a digital editor that was editing uncompressed SD, hands down going to betacam sp would be better versus going to mini-dv, and there would be less worry about the archiviability of the format.
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#11 David Auner aac

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 06:40 AM

Betacam sp decks are going for a song on ebay these days, although if one has never owned such a deck they would not have any way of knowing what shape it is in or where to get it serviced. If I was a digital editor that was editing uncompressed SD, hands down going to betacam sp would be better versus going to mini-dv, and there would be less worry about the archiviability of the format.


Hi Alessandro,
I beg to differ here. There's nothing on earth that would make me copy my digital DVCAM/DV tapes to analog BetaSP. No way! You're just going to introduce chroma noise, you'd gain nothing. Analog tapes will suffer from generation losses, digital will not. Now if you want to copy your tapes to a better format, use BetacamSX (digital, MPEG-2 based or DigiBeta (DCT based) or maybe DVCPro25 (but those tapes aren't much more durable than miniDV/DV).
I wonder why people still seem to think that copying their digital miniDV tapes to an older analog format will give them better durability, longevity or the like!

Cheers, Dave
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#12 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 09:21 AM

Betacam sp decks are going for a song on ebay these days, although if one has never owned such a deck they would not have any way of knowing what shape it is in or where to get it serviced. If I was a digital editor that was editing uncompressed SD, hands down going to betacam sp would be better versus going to mini-dv, and there would be less worry about the archiviability of the format.


Since Betacam is a very much alive format in broadcast, one could easily get them fixed most anywhere there is a broadcast service place or directly through Sony service. If you were to buy one a suggestion where to send it to be repaired would be macievideo.com As for 'archivability', Betacam offers nothing more in terms of archive protection over DV tape. I use both and have since they have been around and as long as a tape is stored properly, both format archive identically.
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#13 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:14 AM

I don't understand something. If film is the best way to archive (for a variety of reasons), why aren't studios et al storing film-out versions of the digital creations instead of worrying about storing a tape or digital format? :huh: I'm sure there must be a good reason and I'm just missing something.
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#14 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 11:20 AM

I don't understand something. If film is the best way to archive (for a variety of reasons), why aren't studios et al storing film-out versions of the digital creations instead of worrying about storing a tape or digital format? :huh: I'm sure there must be a good reason and I'm just missing something.


Well since none of the people here actually work for the companies, and specifically work in that department, we could not answer that question with anything but conjecture. So unless someone can call and ask someone there why, we'll just have to live with it being done as is.
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#15 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 12:56 PM

I don't understand something. If film is the best way to archive (for a variety of reasons), why aren't studios et al storing film-out versions of the digital creations instead of worrying about storing a tape or digital format? :huh: I'm sure there must be a good reason and I'm just missing something.


They are storing BOTH for obvious reasons: one, the more formats the movie exists on, the more likelihood it will survive over time; two, in theory a 4K digital master will allow you to reproduce the movie without loss, as opposed to recomining YCM's or reprinting dupe elements; three, that digital master was darn expensive to make so of course you aren't going to throw it away; four, the film was darn expensive to shoot so of course you aren't going to throw the film away...

Storing YCM's (ideally digitally recorded from a 4K master) plus a 4K master (ideally not 2K) pretty much covers your ass in a wide range of post scenarios.

The thing is that a lot of smaller movies don't get YCM's made -- I'm not sure any of my 30 features have had YCM's made, they are just storing the color negative and the I.P. for archiving. As for my HDCAM movies, four had film-outs, so there is a digital negative (I.N.) being stored plus the tapes (original, color-corrected, etc.), but for the four that didn't get transferred to film, there are only HD tapes in existence, so who knows what will survive over time.

And as we know, the majority of D.I.'s are done at 2K, so we have a digital master and a film-out that has less resolution than the original negative. The question then becomes will someday someone feel tempted to do the work all over again at 4K (assuming they had the budget) -- for example, an early D.I. like "O Brother Where Art Thou?"
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#16 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 03:57 PM

Since Betacam is a very much alive format in broadcast, one could easily get them fixed most anywhere there is a broadcast service place or directly through Sony service. If you were to buy one a suggestion where to send it to be repaired would be macievideo.com As for 'archivability', Betacam offers nothing more in terms of archive protection over DV tape. I use both and have since they have been around and as long as a tape is stored properly, both format archive identically.


I have heard that some smaller magnetic recording formats are more susceptible to global magnetic interference
over time. Plus, the tape itself seems to be very robust.
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#17 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 04:53 PM

I have heard that some smaller magnetic recording formats are more susceptible to global magnetic interference
over time. Plus, the tape itself seems to be very robust.



Global magnetic interference? No, there is no such thing as this when it comes to videotape, or anyting else for that matter. The particles on video tape are too big and too far apart to be affected by much of anything naturally occuring on this planet. As for the magnetic field found on the surface of this planet, it's between 30 and 60 microtelsas, depending on where you live, or in laymans terms, your clock by your bed gives off between 5 and 10 times more of a magnetic field than that. Videotape is very robust when it comes to magnetic and other forms of radiation. It's one of the reason why normal airport xray scanners do not affect videotape. Bothe betacam and DV tape store quite well when stored properly. I have used some of the first DVs I ever used years later and they work perfectly fine as does Beta.
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#18 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 05:03 PM

Betacam is a very much alive format in broadcast


Is Betacam still used in the US? Broadcast TV hasn't used it in 10 years here in the UK, and even corporate work has gone digital. I have no idea where I would rent a Beta SP camera these days.
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#19 Walter Graff

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 05:13 PM

Is Betacam still used in the US? Broadcast TV hasn't used it in 10 years here in the UK, and even corporate work has gone digital. I have no idea where I would rent a Beta SP camera these days.


Many people stil use Betacam in the US and all local spot delivery is usually Betacam. Yes, the UK was sold digital long before the US was and with beter results.
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#20 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 07:58 PM

Is Betacam still used in the US? Broadcast TV hasn't used it in 10 years here in the UK, and even corporate work has gone digital. I have no idea where I would rent a Beta SP camera these days.



Yeah, it's still quite a workhorse format particularly for low-end quick turnaround productions. Generally anything with a fairly short shelflife like some PSAs, Video News Releases, and Press Junkets use BetaSP. The cameras are cheap and just about everyone still has playback/editing facilities for it.

Studio work, particularly on the west coast, has mostly moved to 23.98 1080I HDCAM from using Digibeta for a few years in there. Some outlets, primarily ABC/ESPN, chose Varicam as their format which also tends to be used by lower budget indie narrative projects.

But BetaSP still has life left in it and guys who bought cameras years ago are still making profit off of them.
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