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Old March 4th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #16
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"Benchmark Parameters" - What are they? Most on this forum have never had to deal with 'film flow' and the limited time of a film magazine, which STILL works just fine for features and many docs. (Speaking as someone who started in television when it was 'film at ten' in the news world).

We want our 'tapes' to last an hour, and cost less than twenty dollars. We want our 'storage sollutions' to be less than a dollar a gig.

Like I said, some solid state cartridge/chip/stick/disk? Capable of storing ten to twenty minutes of what we generally refer to as "HD" quality. What is that worth to you as a write once medium? Ten dollars? Twenty? It's got to be less than the price of purchase/process/transfer/print of 35mm filmstock per minute... since it's write once.

I could easily go fifty dollars a 'load' for twenty minutes of HD quality write once. Maybe seventy five. Anyone go higher?
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Old March 4th, 2007, 04:46 PM   #17
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But we're still talking about something other than proven physical media.

I've only jammed one tape in the last five years, and still managed to physically recover 95% of the shoot with a little mending. Yet I've ruined many shots because of a 'glitch' or power failure, and the entire 'file' (shoot) was "corrupt" or unreadable.

It's great to consider how much easier an all digital (tapeless) system would be, until you're on the job, have forty things to worry about and some component within the system is having fits. There's just too much risk with having extra hardware and software needed to make the tapeless process work. "the more you add to the plumbing, the easier it is to clog."

My biggest beef is reliability. Show me a system that's battle hardened. Until then, the risk losing everything just to save a few hours on ingest is not worth it.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 05:21 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Peter Ferling View Post
There's just too much risk with having extra hardware and software needed to make the tapeless process work. "the more you add to the plumbing, the easier it is to clog."
From where I sit, recording tapeless to an SD card would appear to be less hardware, not more... the only hardware required is a simple inexpensive solid-state SD card reader, as opposed to a pricey, delicate, intricate VTR (in fact I'd say that's subtantially less hardware). It's less software too, or at least, an easier workflow since the SD card is writing an edit-ready file -- assuming, that is, that the file format itself is is selectable from the camera menu. No cumbersome capture process; just drag-and-drop from the card to the timeline. To me, it's taking away from the plumbing, not adding to it.

As far as reliability is concerned, SanDisk has been in the SD flash memory card business for quite awhile. No doubt there's some kind of formal reliability test that's already been done in the digital still photography industry, but I haven't looked for one yet.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Peter Ferling View Post
My biggest beef is reliability. Show me a system that's battle hardened. Until then, the risk losing everything just to save a few hours on ingest is not worth it.
So far, I haven’t heard people complaining about the reliability of the Blu-Ray discs inside the XDCAM cameras. You might as will store all your footage on standard Blu-Ray discs and they should be just as reliable as XDCAM discs. Single layer 25 gig disc goes for 15 dollars at B&H.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 09:44 PM   #20
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"It's great to consider how much easier an all digital (tapeless) system would be, until you're on the job, have forty things to worry about and some component within the system is having fits. There's just too much risk with having extra hardware and software needed to make the tapeless process work. "the more you add to the plumbing, the easier it is to clog."


Well again, I say it's the same as film workflow in a sense. You don't get to 'see' your footage when you're shooting film, untill MAYBe the next day. On a low budget shoot, maybe not for a week. So yeah, you run a risk of loosing 'the shot' and having to 'reshoot'. In fact, I think it's probably MORE reliable than film in that sense, you should be able to check the files on location. Like the p2 system, somebody should be able to review/download/ the files while the next stick is in the camera. So I'm less concerned with that issue than I would be on a film shoot. I mean "Check the File" would replace "Check the Gate" before moving on to the next shot.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 10:36 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Paulo Teixeira View Post
So far, I havenít heard people complaining about the reliability of the Blu-Ray discs inside the XDCAM cameras. You might as will store all your footage on standard Blu-Ray discs and they should be just as reliable as XDCAM discs. Single layer 25 gig disc goes for 15 dollars at B&H.
Possibly so, Paulo. However, part of the reliability of the XDCAM discs is the fact that the XDCAM Professional Disc is totally enclosed whereas a Blu-Ray disc is exposed like a DVD.

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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #22
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The 16 GB P2 cards aren't even out yet and will cost *well over* $1k. We need a price improvement ratio of more than 100x to make write-once memory viable. But we still want the size (at least) and performance (approaching that) of P2.
Decent flash memory cards are currently selling for as little as $8/GB, and ones with performance rivaling P2 are only twice that per gig. Assuming prices continue to drop about 50% per year that means in three years standard flash will be ~$1/GB and the good stuff will be $2/GB (or less). At that point flash-based recording could become as common for video as it is today for photography, using good generic memory cards.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:02 AM   #23
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I'm not knocking an all digital workflow, and yes, with digital capture, you can quickly review a clip to know you've got it and can breakdown for the next scene. However, for live event, you don't have a second chance, or maybe even when the actors 'got it right', or your one shot deal, etc. From my experience, it's not reliable enough for my comfort. That's just my opinion.

Yes, eventually the process will be cheap and very reliable, and I look forward to that day. Maybe this device will be it. I already enjoy a pure digital workflow in pro still photography. I can shoot, edit and deliver within the same day on site. I did rent an HVX a few times, including many portable Hard disk recorders, and even tried direct capture to a labtop and workstation via an array. In all cases I encountered problems, where had I just popped in a tape...
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Old March 6th, 2007, 11:37 PM   #24
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Please, please, please take any comments from any manufacturer of any technology about archival life as what it is - an educated guess.

True, it would be a very educated guess, but it is based on all kinds of accelerated aging tests and statistical calculations - nobody has actually kept one on the shelf for 100 years and tried to read it back.

If you look at the claims from one of the outfits that's making holographic disks (In Phase), it looks absolutely wonderful. I know that some of the archive guys are looking seriously at the In Phase holographic system, but I think the jury is still out.

About once a year I attend a storage technology conference where I'm one of the small number of non PhD non research guys, and I have seen some of the most vitriolic shouting matches you can imagine between proponents of technology A or B or C. And often about claims for archival life.

The only things we have around that have a PROVEN 100 year lifetime are probably paper (properly stored - including paper tape and punched cards), parchment, stone tablets, carved wood, film, glass plates, and maybe a couple of others.

Next in so far as actual proven archival lifetime is probably magnetic tape because it's the only computer (ie digital) medium that's been around long enough to have a track record. I've done some work in the past with petroleum companies on their tape archives of oil exploration data, and they still record to tape. The archives are enormous - hundreds of millions of cartridges.

And even if the archival life of the media is above dispute, there is always the minor problem of how you will read it in 20 or 30 or 100 years. As the technology changes, the supply of read mechanisms for old technology trends to zero and the price trends to infinity. Got any data safely archived on 8 inch floppies? Good luck finding a drive to read it.

Disclaimer - I'm in the business of developing magnetic tape systems for computer use so I might be biased. But I think tape will be with us for a while yet.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #25
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You are not joking, a couple of years ago I came up with an new tape mechanism idea that has the potential to beat everything including Holographic disks by factors of thousands (or maybe more) and maybe hundreds of times of tape). Archival life, probably as good as anything. But with out an sponsor to take up the (expensive) idea, I have to put it on my pile of thousands of pages.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 09:00 AM   #26
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In my work for corporate training and product promotion. The chances of having to reshoot or update a project every one or two years kinda makes long storage times a mute point. Twenty years for tape is good enough for 90% us out here.

Of course, if you're in the field where historical archives is the product, then it would matter. However, I would assume those folks to be in the minority. Which is why the number one concern for an all digital workflow is purely for speed and getting to a finished piece faster. Which so far has not been the case for me. So, you are correct in working with what's proven.

Chastise me for being 'old-fashioned' or not up with the times. But tape is still king.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 12:02 PM   #27
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Personally, I hate tape.

My wife and I bought a tape backup system for our PCs many years ago. It would have only been useful to restore a complete failure. As a true *accessible* archive it was worthless.

And haven't we all had accordion tape in our cassettes and VCRs?

Years ago at work we bought a number of D1 and Digital Beta VTRs. We hardly put any miles on them, yet they always seemed to need head cleaning and replacements. And when do you find that out? *After* dropouts ruin your work.

My audio recording system used to be based on a Revox A-77. What a boat anchor!

And I really miss guitar effects with an Echo-Plex - NOT!

Tape doesn't provide fast random access. It's sensitive to heat and chemicals. The mechanisms are complex and wear out. The heads clog and need replacement. Yuk!

Certainly non-tape solutions need to continue to improve. But tape has many inherent disadvantages that will never be solved. It's a dead end.

Anybody here miss their 8-track tape collection?

-Jon "Tape Averse" Fairhurst
(Who archives on optical discs and hard drives.)
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Old March 7th, 2007, 12:38 PM   #28
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Love it, or hate it, it works. Once a sound, proven, and economical all digital method surfaces, I'll adopt.

BTW, I still have working cassette tapes, some old records, plenty of VHS, etc, etc. All still working. But, like 8-track, their time has come and gone. Today I'm referring to miniDV, beta, etc. all still in production, all still very much useful. What will supplant these formats? I'm still waiting.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 12:48 PM   #29
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If tape is so good then why does JVC strongly support Blu-Ray? I was one of those people that wanted to purchase a DVHS VTR because you get to watch high quality HD movies long before the HD Blu-Ray players came out and each tape had a capacity of around 50 gigs. It appears not to be popular anymore. We all know that JVC's newest flagship consumer camcorder, the HD7 is hard drive based. JVC used to be the strongest supporter of tape.

As for Sony, they released the XDCAM camera that I mentioned earlier. If they wanted to, they could have played the tape faster to achieve 35mbps. I was invited to a Sony seminar at the end of 2003 I believe, if not early 2004 where they were talking about how the XDCAM camera was going to revolutionize the video production field by using Blu-Ray discs instead of tape. Basically the Seminar was mainly about getting people to trust using the XDCAM cameras saying that Blu-Ray is much more reliable. What Sony should do in the future is to release two different 3 1/3” imager camcorders, one with Blu-Ray and one with tape, not only to make both parties happy, but to see which version sells more.

I don’t have to say much about Panasonic since we all know how they feel about tape.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 12:53 PM   #30
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I'm still baffled as to why our D1 and Digital Beta VTRs were so problematic. Yeah, they worked - sometimes. And often not for very long.

They were rack mounted with a 1RU space above and below in an air conditioned equipment room in a corporate environment.

We used a single brand tape from the manufacturer. The head replacements were done by the manufacturer. Our technician is very competent and had received factory training on maintaining the machines, including cleaning the heads. We must have had lemons.

We've gone to hard drives. No heads to clean or replace. The technician can work on projects that move us forward, rather than treading water with maintenance tasks.

BTW, we are in the process of donating these machines (and a bunch of other D1 equipment) to a university. I hope the university gets more life out of the heads than we generally did.
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