U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: Digital Film backup

RE: Digital Film backup

Hmmm, I have some serious problems with the claims this company makes on
their website.

From the "Film for Preservation" page...

"Do you let the fruits of your labor hinge on $6,500 USD worth of magnetic
data or video tape and hope that nothing goes wrong? Or do you archive to
the proven and trusted medium of film knowing that when the network wants to
run the show in 2038 it will look as good as the day you shot it?"

Assuming you have the equipment around to use your digital media (i.e.
magnetic hard drives, CD/DVD) in 2038, or you keep up with periodically
migrating your data to the current de facto standard for digital storage
(and this, of course is the major caveat of digital storage, implied in the
"Remember the Home Beta Player?" section), it will in fact look "as good as
the day you shot it".  When properly maintained, digital images/video never
lose quality.

"Data contained on the [CD/DVD] disk is printed and stored on the side of
the disk with the thinnest layer of protection."

Well, the same applies to film.  :)  In fact, film emulsions scratch much
easier than the foil on CDs.  If you're really worried about scratching,
I've found that a thin coat of varnish on the foil works nicely.

"Reliability of these [CD/DVD] disks has been questioned when looking at
whether the data would be recoverable using devices other than the original
authoring device."

This is simply not true.  CDs use the standardized ISO9660 filesystem
format, and DVDs use the standardized UFS filesystem.  Standardized.  Every
computer with an optical disc drive can read these formats.  A correctly
burned disc will have no problems being read by other CD/DVD devices.

"Storage of images at a resolution high enough to equal the resolution of
film is costly and prohibitive in terms of technology. The space required to
store all of these hard drives or disks would be greater than that used to
store the actual negatives."

A 25-pack of archival CDs from Light Impressions is $41.99, which comes out
to be about $1.68 per CD.  These CDs have a capacity of 650MB, which will
hold 43 RAW files shot with a 10.2MP Nikon D200 (15MB).  How much is a 36
exp roll of 35mm film these days?  More than $1.68.  Likewise, archival DVDs
are about $3.32 each.  They'll hold 313 15MB RAW files, which is 8.69 rolls
of 36 exp film!

I used the D200 as an example because the current consensus, as impossible
it is to definitively answer the film vs. digital question, seems to be that
8-10MP is about equal to 35mm. 

There many other logical holes on this site, suffice it to say that they
really haven't made a strong case for using 35mm film as an archival storage
solution over digital.  They say things like digital storage is "unsuited to
a long-term archival function", yet they provide no further information: why
is it not suitable for long-term storage?  No data whatsoever to back up
their argument.  The entire website just seems to be one big FUD (Fear,
Uncertainty, Doubt) campaign to scare people into buying their services.

Camden Hardy


-----Original Message-----
From: gws1@columbia.edu [mailto:gws1@columbia.edu] 
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2007 2:09 AM
To: alt-photo-process-L@usask.ca
Subject: Digital Film backup

There has been some discussion here in the past about the best (and 
cheapest) ways to store digital content for the future.  I've expressed my 
opionion that, ironically, film may be the new wave for storing content 
origninating electronically in digital formats.  The same discussion, BTW, 
has been occuring on other listservs such as AMIA-L.

Here's a link to one company that is providing such a service.  I have no 
affiliation with them and have no idea what kind of work they do.  I know 
some of the folks on the alt-photo list like to keep track of what's going 
on so I'm passing this along since it's something I have to deal with in 
my current "day job."

Best to all... -greg schmitz