[Tig] Film .vs. digital archiving

S. T. Nottingham III nottinghams3 at verizon.net
Mon May 20 18:03:09 BST 2013

I have written many times on the Tig about this topic, so of course, you can
go back into the archives for more information.

35mm film has been around since Thomas Edison. Since the late 1800s until
today and beyond, 35mm film can be projected, printed, and scanned. If
properly stored and archived, black and white film can last more than 150
years. Along the way, it can be copied and preserved for another 150 years.
No other storage medium can match this record. At this moment, research is
being conducted to store digital information on film stock.

All other storage mediums have proven to have a much shorter shelf-life.
Magnetic mediums from the 50s and 60s are having binder problems or suffer
from oxide shedding.

Composite film stocks (multi-layer color couplers in the emulsion) show
sever fading only after 25 years. The one exception is Kodachrome or
Agfachrome. These stocks might last 100 years or longer. The same thing is
true of the Dye Transfer process or 3-stripe Technicolor. Recovering full
color images from YCMs can be challenging - to say the least - but recovery
is possible.

Digital formats such as hard drive storage or recordable CD/DVD/Blue-ray
seems to only last about as long as composite color stock. The weakness here
is the recordable dye layer or in the case of hard drives, the magnetic
medium or the mechanics of the drive.

There is hope on the horizon, however. The Technology is called M-Disc, with
the recordable surface made from stone. Currently this recording medium is
only available on CD and DVD formats, but Blue-ray is coming. Tests seem to
predict a life of more than 100 years, but no one knows for sure because it
is a new medium. Of course, that is not to say there will be a disc drive
around in 100 years that will be able to play it...

Of course, even 120 years after Edison invented it, and George Eastman
manufactured it, there are projectors and printers that can still handle
35mm film.

Tom Nottingham

-----Original Message-----
From: Tig [mailto:tig-bounces at colorist.org] On Behalf Of Richard Kirk
Sent: Monday, May 20, 2013 2:28 AM
To: tig at colorist.org
Subject: [Tig] Film .vs. digital archiving

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If you have an old film, and you want to preserve it, there are, 
perhaps, three options...

(a) Keep the film safe

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