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Author Topic: Digital- to-Film for 50-year archive  (Read 5246 times)
feppe
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« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2011, 12:08:59 PM »
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That is how the topic started. Film is an analog medium, and inspite of all its faults, analog media fails gracefully and not catastrophically Grin You can always recover some data from analog.

I still think that film is a better archive material, digital is yet not mature enough.

Digital is much better with proper data management. You only have 1 copy of a film unless you do in-camera dupes, and when that's gone, the image is gone. With digital you can have multiple literally identical copies in multiple locations.

But yes, for 50+ year store-and-forget archival it's clear that film or prints is the only way.
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2011, 02:08:40 PM »
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That is how the topic started. Film is an analog medium, and inspite of all its faults, analog media fails gracefully and not catastrophically Grin You can always recover some data from analog.

I still think that film is a better archive material, digital is yet not mature enough.
You could of course save your digital image as punch cards. Choose an image format that is really easy to decode (i.e. divide the image into equal sized blocks, and encode the rgb values of each pixel directly as numerical values on the punch cards). By labelling each card with file name and block index, it should be fairly easy for anyone to decode it sometime in the future. (although the sRGB definition may be lost, let us hope that mankind still know how the l/m/s cones of our vision works).

There is a possibility that some cards are lost, eaten by rats or damaged by moisture. A simple solution is to have duplication. Another possibility is to encode the image at progressively lower resolutions (20MP, 10MP, 5MP,...). That way, loss off high-resolution data can be partially concealed by using low-resolution data.


All physical media are prone to damage. What we are talking about now is (in my view) not analog vs digital, but media technology that is so evident that any civilization at out present level of sophistication would be expected to be able to decode it easily. Much like the Voyager Golden Record:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voyager_Golden_Record

-h
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Ajoy Roy
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« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2011, 07:30:29 AM »
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The problem is that our five senses perceive and interpret Analog and not Digital data. Digital storage requires conversion to analog for us to interpret the information - visual, audio, pressure or smell. I assume that 100 or even 10,000 years hence our senses will still be in analog mode.

So along with digital archive, we will always require the decoding hardware/software combo, where as with analog all that we require is the media. At present the film longevity is similar to digital recording media. The same cannot be said of the digital-to-analog conversion of data. Monotonically as newer hardware and software become popular, older ones fall into disuse and finally disappear.

Till a standard for archives is established and accepted by all, digital archive is wholly dependent on the archivist maintaining the archive, an iffy situation at the best.
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Ajoy Roy, image processing
keithrsmith
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« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2011, 07:55:50 AM »
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I believe that the film industry actually archive onto 3 colour separation films - i.e B&W- which gets over the achive properties of the colour dyes.
- and then put these into a temperature controller eviroment.

keith
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shelby_lewis
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« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2011, 09:43:33 AM »
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I'm with those that say to print the significant images (hey, you can actually enjoy them in your present life). If printed with a high-end inkjet with archival inks on non-OBA-utilizing paper that is rated for permanence, you'll have a stable archive that can be reproduced easily (more prints) for storage in multiple locations. Just choose a printer/paper combination that offers the best combo of resolution, color accuracy, and permanence and you'll be set. On the plus side, the printer can be repurposed via print sales to offset its own costs if your work is good enough to sell at a profit.

In the end, the whole idea of archiving has IMO become a bit of an overblown stressor on us photographers. Commercial work? Sure (for a while)... personal work? Sure (in moderation). But, I think most of us (me for sure) have somehow gotten into the mindset that everything we shoot is precious. I've got TBs of images in archive, and I bet very few will even be worth saving for later generations.

Good luck!
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #45 on: October 21, 2011, 02:18:41 PM »
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The problem is that our five senses perceive and interpret Analog and not Digital data.
If you want to be pedantic about it, all of our senses are based on sending discrete (digital) information to our brain, which is itself based on a discrete number of components signalling in discrete ways. Further, the dot-pattern used in some inkjet printer could be seen as digital (either a dot, or no dot).

I maintain that it is not a question about analog vs digital, but about formats that are easy to reconstruct vs those that are less easy to reconstruct. For humans in 10 years, or an alien civilization in 1000 years, depending on how difficult you want to do it.

-h
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Fine_Art
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« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2011, 04:07:57 PM »
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I pulled an old backup hard-drive from a safe to look at some old pictures. There are entire date folders that are empty. I'm not too worried at this point as they were also on the laptop, DVD and  another backup hard-drive. Anyone putting all their faith in an electronic device with a 5 yr warranty is deluding themselves with the convenience. You will lose everything, it is a matter of a few years.
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cng
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« Reply #47 on: October 23, 2011, 04:38:53 AM »
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I pulled an old backup hard-drive from a safe to look at some old pictures. There are entire date folders that are empty. I'm not too worried at this point as they were also on the laptop, DVD and  another backup hard-drive. Anyone putting all their faith in an electronic device with a 5 yr warranty is deluding themselves with the convenience. You will lose everything, it is a matter of a few years.

Bit rot (aka data evaporation) is a danger with all digital media, whether magnetic, optical or flash-based.  The reasons differ with each form of storage media but the consequences are still the same.  A quick primer:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bit_rot

Having said that, physical media such as film and prints also need their own set of optimal conditions to be suitably archived.  As an example, merely storing these in dark conditions may not avoid fading since some dyes are prone to dark-fading.

Then there are the constant dangers of humidity, heat, vermin, theft, fire etc., which pose a danger to all forms of media.

I still stand by my prior post recommending prints as the preferred long-term archival medium (suitably printed and stored, of course, and ideally in combination with other archival strategies/media).  Edit ruthlessly and print only your strongest images, and you not only have your archive but also a coherent summary of your life's work ready to be viewed without the need for intermediary technology such as a lightbox, enlarger, slide projector, monitor, computer, scanner, printer etc.
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ondebanks
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« Reply #48 on: October 28, 2011, 06:09:27 AM »
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Anyone putting all their faith in an electronic device with a 5 yr warranty is deluding themselves with the convenience. You will lose everything, it is a matter of a few years.

That's why I said earlier that the hard disk needs to be switched on, active, and running periodic error checks.

If your reference to "a 5 year warranty" means that the mfgr warrantied that the disk would still be operational in 5 years, well it is.  You could probably reformat it and it would still work fine. If the warranty was for data integrity 5 years on from being written to the disk, you'd have to check the fine print - there might be an exception clause for when the file system is not actively on/maintained for a long period.

Ray
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