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Will Montgomery

Store USB Thumbdrive with Film

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With the cost of 16gb Flash drives coming down so much ($15) I'm wondering if it might make sense to start storing one in the can/box with my film as a backup & reference. ProRes 422 HQ files are usually about 15gb for 400', so that might be perfect.

 

With HD transfers at $300/hour it seems worth it to have a backup you can keep with the film so years later you can reference it. That is of course if you can read them years from now.

 

Maybe that could be a good alternative to sending drives back and forth via FedEx too.

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Average estimates put the longevity of current flash at about ten years; John is right.

 

Even though it doesn't require an active power supply to retain its contents, the contents of NAND flash chips will eventually fade.

 

P

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So definitely not a long term solution as with almost any electronic data storage device. But perhaps in the short term, say 4 or 5 years it would be ok; you'd just have to periodically update the format and of course have multiple backups in multiple formats.

 

Well, at least the film itself will be good for 75 years or so if stored properly. Funny how there aren't any long term digital storage solutions available.

 

75 years from now they'll know what to do with the film, but they'll have no idea of what USB even is.

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LTO is being posited as the solution to this.

 

Unfortunately, it's very expensive - at least, expensive compared to things like DVDs and blu-ray discs. Not expensive compared to a film print.

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what about archival blu-ray discs, or even a dual layer one? 50 gigs fits 20 minutes of 2k ProRes 4444. Are the archival ones gold? do they really last?

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I wouldn't trust and optical medium; especially not a high density one like a recordable blu-ray. One scratch and you could be toast. The Sony XDCam Pro disks are, as I understand them, basically blu-rays and maybe, maybe I'd trust one of them. But again, optical things such as disks can go south rather quickly. I have some purchased DVDs which, though a few yrs old, cannot play any longer :/

 

As mentioned LTO is pretty much your best bet for archival of digital material. The Stock doesn't cost that much, compared to say HDCam SR tape, but the "drive" can be in the thousands... there may however be rental options or servicers who'll do it for you (and if there isn't then there is a huge dearth in the market!)

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I'm no expert on HD media of any kind, but everything I hearrd at the ACVL conference suggests LOT is NOT a good archiving optionn, it's an expensive finicky one like many other bad digital technologies. I think the later generation LTO has gotten better, but there are like 3-4 year windows before they star failing. Hell VHS tape was good for 10 years with the library of congress.

 

Surely someone can do better?

 

 

I am no expert on this, going to have to consult the notes of what I've heard, but that was my general impression. There's short, medium and longterm archiving.

 

Why not some densitometer numbers on a piece of acid-free paper with acid-free ink instead? They can be converted into 10-bit log cineon numbers easily. You can immediately determine your fade (not that you should get any medium-term with proper storage conditions).

 

 

 

Keeping it low-tech has some real advantages over the long term.

 

That being said, I recently survived an Act of God that would have wiped out all the advantages of analog storage over digital had I not moved all of my stuff out of the basement floor at the office. You can throw film in water if it is wet and rewash with minimal to no impact, but if you can't get to it in time because you have a million feet down there. . .

 

Digital would fare better I would think. It doesn't get along with water at all, but can be recovered easily in these situations.

 

 

A long length of film in a can can be surprisingly fragile when exposed to the elements. . .

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LTO is not the best digital option by any means. Hard drives will beat LTO by 10-15 years, all other factors being equal. Best strategy? Keep it moving- from drive, to cloud, to whatever's new. 16GB on Amazon Web Services costs what, two dollars?

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Hard drives will beat LTO by 10-15 years, all other factors being equal.

 

What's the source for that? Why do the banks, insurance companies, government, hospitals, etc. use LTO instead? LTO was designed for long term storage with infrequent access.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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