[Tig] How much time film really has?

Bojan Mastilovic chili.styles at gmail.com
Thu May 16 11:51:18 BST 2013

Dear friends,

I have some thoughts that do not let me sleep well. I work in film
restoration business and it is a slow business here in central europe.

I would like your comments on this topic:

Every time I speak with film archivists there is same thing over and over
again: we should archive film on film stock as this is the medium that has
proven to be stabile at least for 100 years…

I strongly agree with that. Each time the archivists  remind me that
digital technology is not meant to last. As even today you can not use the
floppy drive or even PATA drive, because the reading devices are simply
extinct. We found new technologies and simply trash the old ones.

We are in the high point of digital revolution in film industry. More and
more films are shoot digitally, and almost all films this year in Europe
will be distributed digitally. Arri has stopped manufacture of film cameras
last year, Fuji film has stopped film stock production. All these things
are working towards the demise of film as a medium. So what if - and it
will happen sooner than we think all the manufacturers stop their
production of film handling machines. As there will be no need for them.  I
speak about film projectors and scanners to be precise. Will the Filmlight,
Arri and Lasergraphics still offer the support for their machines for how
long after they do not sell any new machines. I think that legal obligation
in EU is that you have to offer the support for ten years after the product
reaches end of life (EOL).

What will happen after that? So my point is that we do not have much time
left to digitize all the archive films that we want. Not because film will
deteriorate, but because there will be no more machines to do that. And
even projectors will be obsolete very soon. So we will be stuck with the
mountains of film stock with no devices to read them. As we would be if
someone today would gave us the tonne of 6,25 floppy diskettes.

Please correct me if I am wrong, I will sleep better at last.

Kind regards,

Bojan Mastilovic
Restart Production

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