[Tig] How much time film really has?

Robert Houllahan rob at cinelab.com
Thu May 16 20:01:36 BST 2013

>> It is possible/likely that soon the only equipment available for use will be used equipment with dated digital interfaces.

Dated Eyeballs? ;-) Seriously the big difference is that you can look at a piece of film and see what is on it. That Floppy disc is a closed box until it is read, not so with film.

I agree that the information on the "speck" that is a 1.44 floppy disc can be migrated, to some degree, but there are caveats. The data may be migrated but that data may only be accessible on a system/software which does not run on a modern computer. Also with all of the proprietary data formats reconstruction of older data becomes a archeaelogical project.

Lastly about digital data, IMO there is no neglect tolerance, miss a migration step and that data will be lost forever, not so with film and it's long shelf life.

And finally about scanners, the film transport is a well known mechanical device with more than a century of artifacts and designs. We are working with a company in LA which is run by some ex studio post people and they have designed a scanner system which is totally modular imager wise. You can put a Camera-Link or GiGEVision imager on and write a driver for it and off you go to the most modern digital imager available. The transport stays the same as does the LED light source.

As with Polaroid demand for 8mm,16mm,35mm,65mm film will never drop to zero and there is and will be a newer different support system tailored to that demand. Less expensive scanning and recording based on COTS parts has already happened.


Robert Houllahan
rob at cinelab.com
VP - Colorist

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