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#1 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 04:59 PM

Hello there,

So it's never an issue with my movie film prints. I just clean them and store them properly. Then I let last them the way they do. I've been having trouble thinking of the best way to store digital video. I have stuff uncompressed and backed up on hard drives, but I'm hoping for a back up to my back up as hard disks (when corrupted) can ruin your day. Should anything happen to one hard drive it could mean the loss of years of work.

I've tried various brands of hard drive and any all best ways to care for them. I'm convinced that it's simply a possibility that hard drives crash every now and then. Nothing's perfect, but it only needs to crash once to ruin my digital legacy. My movie film holds up because it doesn't degrade like most magnetic tape and there hasn't been a fire at my place yet. Film is delicate, but you just have be careful with it. So what about video? Is there another medium that can store video as well as hard drives and serve as a back up to them? HDCam perhaps? Suggestions would be much appreciated.
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#2 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:13 PM

I have found hard drives to be unreliable over the long term, I had a set of new drives on a machine here at the lab and they ran fine for a year or more, untill I shut the machine down to save some power one week, three drives failed within two days of power up. these were new drives a year ago... I have had so many hard drives fail over the years that i would not count on them


Tape is better over the mid-long term but i would not count on it for more than 15-20yrs... DLT, etc. are good as data but the mechanisms will be hard to interface in the future...


maybe do filmout's of your digital footage ;)

-Rob-
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#3 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 05:59 PM

Yeah, I'm pretty convinced that tape is the way to go. I'm doing .25 reel to reel for our audio archival back up.

But what tape format is best for HD archival? Is it in fact HDcam? I know that HDV is unstable, just like MiniDV. That's why the better alternative to MiniDV in SD is DVCam or BetaCam SP. So is HD Cam the HD equivalent? Does it encode 1080p?
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#4 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:37 PM

I would say D-5 or HdcamSR would be the choices, standard HdCam is 3:1:1 and lots of compression..

-Rob-
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#5 John Sprung

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:41 PM

There are a couple things out there that should be better than ordinary HD tapes, but they're not all that great, or not quite ready.

What we're doing now is recording on D5 and HDCam SR, figuring to have to re-transfer everything in 5-10 years.

A longer term solution is archival data tape, such as LTO-3 and LTO-4. They're supposed to be good for 25-50 years, and the drives are backward compatible for a few generations. This is what the big banks and insurance companies use for tracking all your money, so it's high quality stuff.

A very promising technology, but very new, is holographic optical discs. Have a look at:

www.inphase-tech.com

Putting hard drives on the shelf is asking for trouble. They're not designed to sit for 5 - 20 years, and then spin up again. Expecting them to do that is kind like the Volkswagen in Woody Allen's "Sleeper" that sits in a cave for 200 years, then starts on the first try.




-- J.S.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 06:50 PM

I would also consider perhaps, backing up to an online server someplace, if you can get good web space, as they are generally well, well, backed-up. It may not be cost effective, though, depending on how much space and bandwidth you need. All I can say is that I still have stuff sitting on a server someplace which has been fine since 1998. Though the LTO is probably the best bet overall.
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#7 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:42 AM

Cool, thanks for the help everyone!
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#8 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 06:49 AM

Cool, thanks for the help everyone!


Now I guess my very last question would be, where could I get my stuff transferred to HDCAM SR? I think I may pick up an LTO Datatape Drive, but I aim to have it archived on both.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 09:36 AM

in CT, i'm not sure, but most transfer/post houses will have equipment to put it out to HDCamSR. Just see what's around you, or hit up NY where there are plenty of post houses.
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#10 K Borowski

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 09:59 AM

I have always heard the 5 year number used as the maximum amount of safe time for tape before the effects of the Earth's electromagnetic field start to alter the information stored on it. Wouldn't LTO be subject to the same limitations?

It'd have to be B&W film separations, a harddrive, gold-CD, or some other form of non-magnetic medium to be truly archival, at least according to the United States Government. . .
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#11 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 10:03 AM

I am thinking the that the LTO is pretty safe from the earth's magnetic field, on the whole. It is what is used for major back ups of personal data at banks and the like. Though I in no way know the whys/hows of this sufficient to say it must be a pretty robust format. I recall seeing them in a few major Data-Centers. I know for a fact Temple University uses them to back up all student data.
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#12 John Sprung

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 05:15 PM

Much of the robustness of LTO comes from not using helical scan. They record a very large number of tracks, using an indexing head assembly, IIRC, with 16 heads on it. Mechanically, it's a whole bunch easier to get right than traditional video tape. Helical scan was necessary for analog video recording, and it simply wasn't questioned when digital came in.




-- J.S.
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#13 Ernie Zahn

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 05:05 AM

I have always heard the 5 year number used as the maximum amount of safe time for tape before the effects of the Earth's electromagnetic field start to alter the information stored on it. Wouldn't LTO be subject to the same limitations?

It'd have to be B&W film separations, a harddrive, gold-CD, or some other form of non-magnetic medium to be truly archival, at least according to the United States Government. . .


I've been wondering the same thing. The U.S. gov's official determination is 10 years though. But besides that, I've listened to .25 Reel to Reels that sound like they were recorded yesterday. The recording I listened to was from 1977. I have another here from 1964. The only imperfections are those that .25 had when the recording was first made. By that I mean the background noise and I couldn't even register the noise, I simply know it's there.

When Led Zeppelin made their concert DVD, they used footage that was stored on something similar to C-Format Video Tape Reels. Again, the only flaws were that the video was not as sharp as what can be found now, but there was no loss of quality and these shows were from '75 and '79. I think it's all in how the tapes are stored.
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#14 K Borowski

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 03:31 PM

When Led Zeppelin made their concert DVD, they used footage that was stored on something similar to C-Format Video Tape Reels. Again, the only flaws were that the video was not as sharp as what can be found now, but there was no loss of quality and these shows were from '75 and '79. I think it's all in how the tapes are stored.


I know what you mean, but I disagree that there is no deterioration, it's just that you're not hearing it or seeing it. Storing color film at room temperature, I now that it has faded if it is sitting on the shelf for twenty years, but you can still get good results.

In college, I remember a Physics TA who told me that if anyone ever invented a magnetic shield, they would make billions on it, because there is currently no way to shield tape or anything else from the effects of the Earth's magnetic field.
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