archiving, digital vs. film

Started Oct 3, 2003 | Discussions thread
Marty Scher B Senior Member • Posts: 1,205
I do not...

agree that archiving to film is an acceptable long-term solution.

As another poster had stated, film has a finite lifespan and it is certainly possible that (low cost at least) traditional film processing methods may not be available in the future. Also, if the film media is not properly cataloged or identified, it may be of little future use.

Digital archiving is the future and should be, since the images do not deteriorate over time and archiving mediums are both robust and low cost.

Digital archiving will, for reasons that you have stated and others, have to be managed, or it too, can be unusable in the future.

IMO, the two main issues with digital archiving is storage media readers becoming obsolete and changing file standards.

Archiving to CDR is fine for now, but with DVD writers well under $200, users should at least start thinking about making this relatively painless change. When the next archiving "standard" comes along, simply start archiving to whatever it is.

It file standards change, say no more JPEGs, surely some 8th grader will write a free conversion utility.

Like throwing negatives and prints into a shoe box with no markings, if data images are not managed, they will not be as useful, especially to future generations, if they want them ; )


david.mitchell wrote:

So, in reading back through various people's strategies for
backups, most of them seem to be oriented around making multiple
redundant copies, as well as periodically refreshing those backups
to newer, possibly to a more current format.

For me, the HUGE advantage of shooting film is that as long as you
keep the negs relatively dry and in a safe place, they'll be usable
indefinitely. Digital, on the other hand, requires effort to
maintain those backups. That means even if for my entire life I
keep my backups refreshed, my children will have to bear the burden
(if they care).

Forget that, I want to shoot digital, but back up the keepers to
FILM with a film recorder. Not only does film last much longer
without any kind of maintenance requirement, but it would be much
easier to come up with some way to print from some
no-longer-standard film size than an antique backup format. Even
now I have some 8mm backup tapes from a few years ago that I have
no way to read, EVEN IF the tape is still good.

Im wondering, are most ordinary people for the most part just not
really concerned about the longevity of their images? I'd be
willing to bet, that beginning in just a few years from now, people
who werent very diligent about their backups are going to start
discovering that their CD-Rs aren't so permanent after all, and
they're going to be just FREAKING OUT.

So, doesnt anyone share my opinion that film recorders should be
seeing the same kind of progress that scanners and printers have
over the past few years? As far as I know, there's no such thing as
a "consumer grade" film recorder. The cheapest one i've seen is
$500 or so for a well-used bulky old thing. I dont quite understand
why they would be any more or less complex than a decent quality
film scanner.

Your thoughts would be welcome!


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