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Archiving movies: digital or celluloid?

05.7.10 @ 12:00PM Tags : ,

Fascinating story over at Creative Cow about the Library of Congress’s efforts to preserve motion pictures, from today’s digitally-shot features to films printed on paper in 1890. According to homie at the Library of Congress (that’s probably the first time someone at the Library of Congress has been called “homie”), if stored at 25 degrees Fahrenheit and 30% relative humidity, 35mm motion picture film will last for 2,000 years! Which poses some interested questions when compared to digital archiving.

In the words of archivist Ken Weissman:

Okay, let’s say we don’t do film to film transfer as the main preservation workflow any longer. What’s the impact of an all-digital workflow on data, and our data infrastructure? The numbers are really, really scary… Speaking very broadly, with 4K scans you wind up in the neighborhood of 128 MB per frame. Figure that a typical motion picture has about 160,000 frames, and you wind up around 24TB per film… Everyone is pretty much agreed that you had better migrate that data after five years to the next latest greatest thing, or you risk losing it. And of course, you want to have a backup copy.

That’s a lot of data. And all of this just makes me realize I have no strategy whatsoever for backing up finished projects other than to maybe copy it to a second hard drive. What do you do to archive your projects?

[Via Engadget]

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