Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Preserving the entertainment industry

Now that movies are increasingly produced without film, it should be easier to save them for the long term, right? Here’s an excerpt from David Cohen’s Variety article:
In what is being called the first commercial effort to address the movie industry's looming digital preservation headaches, Elektrofilm Digital Studios and Sun Microsystems will introduce a long-term archiving system built specifically for the entertainment industry.
...
Though digital filmmaking promised an end to concerns about fading dyes and unstable film stocks, it has actually exacerbated problems with movie archiving and preservation.
...
The Motion Picture Academy's Science & Technology council saw enough danger to warn the studios that some movies could be lost, especially "born digital" films such as "300" and "Miami Vice."

Well, I certainly wouldn’t lose any sleep over the loss of either of those two movies, but it is exciting to see pro-active archiving initiatives from organizations that are not backed with tax payer money.

Update 4/22/07:

David Cohen has written another article about preserving film footage which further elaborates on some of the problems:
More than one tech expert, including the Academy's Sci-Tech Council director Andy Maltz, told Variety they had found archival tapes unreadable just 18 months after they were made.

Feiner, the former longtime prexy of Pacific Title, says when he worked on studio feature films he found missing frames or corrupted data on 40% of the data tapes that came in from digital intermediate houses.

The tapes were only nine months old.