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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old September 25th, 2010, 01:55 AM   #1
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Client copies, archival master?

So here's my concern, how do you guard against future incompatibilities with your current delivery format to clients?

I know DVD-R has been around for a while, but probably won't be forever. Also, I know DVD-R can susceptible to "not playing back" after a few years.

Any thoughts/suggestions about how I could give a client a master that's "future proof"?

Thanks for your help!
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Old September 25th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #2
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IMO since no one knows what the future will be as far as a delivery medium how would one know what to deliver to be future proof?
For weddings why worry about it? Seriously, I used to keep the original tapes the finished tape my shoot log my edit log/notes, for years like 20+. Now the stuff sticks around for 1 year then gets tossed, the projects and RAW footage on the HDD about the same then they're gone. Corporate stuff, I'll hang onto longer since sometimes I end up using footage from one project to another.
I don't worry about future proofing anymore since the changeover from VHS to disc took quite a while and IMO whatever is ahead of us isn't going to happen for a number of years so as Alfred E. Neumann used to say, "what, me worry"?
Thats just me though
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #3
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That's a good question. I just wrote a short white paper a few weeks ago on this issue, and added it to my wedding video guide for my clients, as a downloadable on my website.

Anyways, bottom line is, there is really no way to guard against obsolescence etc. At least not in a passive manner. Formats and mediums are in a continuous state of progression.

For everything shot in tape - the couple gets all the original tapes to store in a lock box/safe. I also encourage putting the master files on hard drive and storing those as well.

In short, I make it clear that I do not retain copies of everything forever. I give it all to the client pretty much to safe guard as they see fit.

I actually back up every ISO image for my weddings onto a Western Digital World Book NAS drive (2TB, but it's 1TB Raid Mirrored for safety), and will keep the ISO's for 5 years and then purge.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 03:54 PM   #4
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I believe it's important to transfer this responsibility to the client as soon as practical. A year to maintain the client's files is a reasonable time frame. The importance of backup should be impressed on the client. They should be made aware that this is their responsibility and that you won't maintain a backup for them. It's best to do this in writing. If it's only verbal, your client can blame you if there are problems later. People can be very difficult when they have a problem and there is any ambiguity regarding who is responsible.
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Old September 25th, 2010, 10:21 PM   #5
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I concur with the general view which I suppose we could paraphrase as we are making programmes not archives.

As far as the clients are concerned we retain the master DVD/Blu-ray from which their copies were made but as Chas said, we all read of stories about DVDs becoming unreadable, though whether they're precise or there were other factors one never knows.

What is important though is that it's made clear in your contract terms what you're offering in this respect. Ten or more years ago in the UK 3M ran a TV ad which claimed that their Scotch VHS tape would last for ever or something similar and used a skeleton handling a cassette as the visual. To my recollection none of the ads was captioned "subject to radiation blast, sunspots, or to you not storing the tape properly and winding it through over 6 months etc" like the "lashes enhanced in post-production" on today's ads. Nor have I heard of anyone challenging the claim but presumably a company the size of 3M would have some safeguard against a malicious lawsuit encouraged by a judge with a grudge fifty years from now.

Finally, our plan is when I finally retire or expire I or my wife will write to the last known address of each client and give them a month to collect the material that remains. If they don't it will be assumed that they no longer want the stuff and they waive any residual rights, legal or moral.
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Old September 26th, 2010, 03:59 AM   #6
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When I delivered on VHS I kept an SVHS master of every job. In the early days I would build a master VHS for the client from the camera SVHS tapes then rebuild an SVHS copy from the logging sheets to make copies from and save as a back-up, and I think editing is time consuming these days.
When DVDs became an affordable option I wrote to all of my previous clients and offered to transfer the SVHS master to DVD for them (for a price). It was a time limited offer between September until January as that would cover what was then a down time for weddings. The following January I sent a follow up letter to say that this would be a last chance as I would be disposing of the SVHS tapes in April.

When I started to use DVcam I stored a copy of the edited project on DV tape and offered to supply a copy to clients on miniDV.

When the cost of harddrives started to drop I stored a copy of the completed avi on one drive and the mpeg on another. When large USB drives became affordable I offered to supply an mpeg copy on a drive.

The problem has started now that I'm shooting to SD cards is to find a way that I can keep not only the edited mpeg but also a manageable sized uncompressed (or at least as little re-compression as possible) copy of the edited footage. Currently I keep a trimmed project.

I too worry about the longevity of discs. A few years ago I had a client come back after a few years for another copy of their wedding. I retrieved the archived disc that I had kept only to find that it wouldn't play properly in any machine.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 08:15 PM   #7
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Thank you all for weighing in on this matter. I appreciate all the advice.

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