Things that concern us or soon will: We are creating important feature film content digitally without a means of really preserving it for future generations.

If all dramatic Cinema and TV production in film and digital cinema were to end today, the film would still be viewable by audiences in 50 – 100 years, but would the digital cinema?

In its landmark report, The Digital Dilemma, the Academy’s Science and Technology Council examined “ways in which key players in the movie business and other major industries currently store and access important digital data. The goal was to better understand what problems these industries face today and what, if anything, is being done to avoid full-fledged data access disasters down the road.”

This report is available at the Academy’s Science and Technology Council website at:

This is an excellent study that was done by the Academy, with far reaching implications.

The real issue here is that directors are shooting more digital footage than they ever shot in film (film was expensive). Data bits are cheap to shoot, but not to store and preserve in archives.

You can’t just put hard drives full of data on shelves, and then spin them up once a year to keep their bearings oiled for the next 100 years. Solid State Drives (SSD’s) are very expensive, haven’t yet got the capacities needed for movies and there is no evidence that they are permanent as yet. Data storage tapes, like LTO cassettes, are very expensive, and not practical for 100 year storage. One hundred years from now no one will know what an LTO tape is, much less be able to play one.

Remember, there have been over 79 different formats of video tape deployed so far. Ever try to playback a 2″ quad tape or a 1″ A-format tape? Can you even find a working machine to play it on? Yes, just barely, and it’s not easy!It’s even harder to find someone that can align and operate these 40 year old machines.

More about this serious issue later…

Prof. Harry Mathias

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