Coming soon

On a fairly regular basis, the research I do here makes me think “how come there isn’t something out there that does this?” It’s happened recently with the lack of methods to generate Digital Cinema Packages (as Scott Kirsner recently pointed out…) and then again with the lack of dithered grading methods…

But very occassionally, I stumble upon a solution to a problem within the post industry that is actually viable. Although we’re not yet ready to reveal the details of what exactly this solution will be, I can certainly talk about the problem we’re hoping to solve, and something that will strike a chord with a lot of people, I’m sure.

For the past 10 years, and with increasing frequency as film gets phased out, there has been the problem of how to archive digital footage in a way that provides no limit on the quantity of data and that doesn’t degrade. Over the last few months, there’s been talk of holographic storage… as well as many other proprietary methods, but they all share similar weaknesses: they are bound to specific hardware, they are largely untested in real-world scenarios, and they are inacessible.

With more people turning to Red and similar digital capture methods, the problem is only getting worse. People are finding that they have lots of data files and nowhere to put them. And I suspect that in a few months from now, a lot of people who are new to this will discover that their backup strategy has failed. This happened with the boom in digital photography, but was less of a problem because the volume of data in question was typically limited to gigabytes, not terabytes. For most digital photographers, having a USB backup disk is enough protection for their images. But for people with digital masters or RedCode rushes, that simply isn’t viable. In addition, while digital photographs are normally the responsibility of a single person, film shoots belong to organisations, so several people may need access to it at any time.

As well as the data integrity implications of long-term archiving, there are also security implications- making sure that only authorized people have access to it, and that if the data falls into the wrong hands, that it is unusable. Being able to store and retrieve the data in a very simple way is a bonus.

We’ve still got some way to go on this before we can say we have a system that fulfills all these criteria, but at the present time it seems like the technology part of it is in the can. Hopefully I will have more details on this soon.

Posted: April 19th, 2008
Categories: News
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Comment from Senthil Kumar - 4/20/2008 at 1:26 am

While this is partly a commercial plug, I wanted to point out that at the NAB 2008 show, my company Qube Cinema showed a very easy to use and relatively low cost DCP creation tool called QubeMaster Xpress which can work with AVI or Quicktime sources and make standards compliant Digital Cinema Packages. We hope we answered a need. I also hope someone clever out there is building the kinds of storage technology that today’s digital cinematography requires!

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