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-   -   Finally, a replacement of tape as an archival medium? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/digital-video-industry-news/87998-finally-replacement-tape-archival-medium.html)

Chris Hurd March 2nd, 2007 07:38 PM

Finally, a replacement of tape as an archival medium?
 
The way I'm reading this, it could be *really* big news for the video industry:

SanDisk to deliver write-once flash -- "In an announcement today Greg Rhine, head of SanDisk's consumer business talked about introducing a 'new category in the middle of the year: a read-only memory card'. This new flash card is using a technology which SanDisk are calling '3D memory' ...based on the Matrix Memory technology which it acquired in 2006 for $250m and ...first reported on in 2002 at PMA. These write-once cards are likely to be very cheap but have the advantage of very long term storage (100+ years)."

See the original news item along with a photo at DP Review:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/0702/07...eonceflash.asp

Depending upon the card capacity and the price, I'm thinking this could be the replacement for tape as an archival medium. At first glance it might not seem viable for in-camera acquisition, since it is write-once and can't be re-recorded. However, most professional videographers never re-use tapes anyway. Video tape is often treated as a "write once" medium to begin with. So, consider the possibility of an in-camera pre-record buffer as a safety mechanism, perhaps there's some potential there for using a write-once card; especially if it's combined with an efficient video codec, such as one of the AVC derivatives (AVCHD or AVC Intra). Thoughts?

Bill Davis March 2nd, 2007 10:55 PM

Chris,

I agree. This could potentially be a HUGE thing. There are a LOT of us who feel that the big problem with the "volitile" solutions like P2 is that the expense necessitates media re-use and you're left vulnerable.

If the data density turns out large enough to be viable video storage - particularly high def capable - this could FINALLY replace tape for those of us who are unwilling to depend on mechanical hard drives as tape replacements.

Thanks for posting this.

By the way, will I see you in the usual place (PM) at NAB this year after the Tuesday or Wednesday events?

Giroud Francois March 3rd, 2007 01:47 AM

there is nothing more silly in video than write once media.
if professional do not reuse tapes, it is just to avoid drops caused by possible used tape.
Sure that commercially it is a nice idea, like the disposable razor and other disposable gadget. You buy a camera and you pay for the rest of your life for memory cartridge... what a nice idea.

Jon Fairhurst March 3rd, 2007 02:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Giroud Francois (Post 635075)
there is nothing more silly in video than write once media.

It makes sense for archiving. There are some things I want to keep forever, and never want to overwrite.

But, yeah, for disposable stuff, like raw stuff from when I left the lens cover on, write-once is silly.

The success of this depends on
- Cost per MB
- Speed
- Reliability
- Storage size
- Physical size
- Did I mention cost per MB?

I can't wait to learn more details...

Alex Mitchell March 3rd, 2007 04:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Giroud Francois (Post 635075)
there is nothing more silly in video than write once media.

Good thing I can re-use my filmstock over here...

Tom Vandas March 3rd, 2007 04:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alex Mitchell (Post 635099)
Good thing I can re-use my filmstock over here...

Exactly!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Giroud Francois (Post 635075)
You buy a camera and you pay for the rest of your life for memory cartridge...

But I do that now... with tape.


For archival purposes, if this is stable and cheap I'll definitely take a serious look, even if it's only for digital photos.

Wayne Morellini March 3rd, 2007 09:09 AM

Saw this last week (my time). There has been an number of flash alternatives announced, but where are they. I think Intel is banking on plastic memory, or memory based on the rewritable CD compound, forget which. Flash has been given a couple of reprieves, but I think the time line is still within an half an decade, if not three years).

I would like to know their pricing, and performance figures. I think it is an good idea if it is cheap enough to copy the bits I like to another write once, and toss the original.

But as they say it is archival, I guess that it is not that suitable in some area (like cost or performance).

Robert M Wright March 3rd, 2007 10:49 AM

Think of the savings on head wear (no cleaning tapes, no head or tape mechanism service/replacement). Anything under $1/GB (assuming reasonable size capacity) would be fantastic.

Chris Hurd March 3rd, 2007 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Vandas (Post 635106)
if this is stable and cheap I'll definitely take a serious look, even if it's only for digital photos.

It's important to understand that flash memory doesn't care what it's recording. It can be any kind of data... still photos, video, audio, text documents, it doesn't matter. I found this on DP Review which is a still photo / digicam site, but the implications of this technology for video applications -- as a potential replacement for video tape -- is self evident in my opinion.

Like I said, I don't know anybody that doesn't use video tape as a write-once medium.

It would be just like a DVD-R, but in an SD flash card form factor, and hopefully greater capacity.

Richard Alvarez March 3rd, 2007 12:33 PM

Yeah, my first thought was "Film is a write-once medium, and it hasn't suffered in the workflow". I think if you're used to shooting film, then your workflow is easily adapted to write once media. I would even be okay if the media were in relatively small 'packages'. Say, fifteen minutes... as long as they were cheap enough. In terms of feature work, you don't get HOUR LONG loads of film, so I've got no problem with changing 'cards' or 'chips' or whatever after fifteen minutes.

Again, storage capacity, price point and codec (HD???) will be the deal maker/breaker.

Eric Stemen March 4th, 2007 01:00 AM

This could also save a lot of time captureing footage. Like another poster wrote before if it could be under a dollar a gig this would be great. Think about it. the small dvcam tapes are about $12 and will hold what....13 gigs or so?

Jon Fairhurst March 4th, 2007 02:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Stemen (Post 635544)
...if it could be under a dollar a gig this would be great.

Then again, desktop hard drives are already about half that, are re-writable, and are fast enough that you can edit from them straight away.

The downside (other than shock resistance) is that you can't get a $10 hard drive to hand off after a shoot.

I guess what people really want is a 16 GB P2 card that is write once, has archive-quality, is fast enough to be an edit source - and only costs ten bucks! I guess I'd be happy paying $20 for a 32 GB version as well.

Someday... But not this week.

How much are blank, write-once Blu-ray discs again?

Chris Hurd March 4th, 2007 04:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 635552)
I guess what people really want is a 16 GB P2 card that is write once...

If it's write once, then by definition it's not P2. What you meant to say is that what people really want is a 16GB SD (Secure Digital) card. SD cards are smaller, less expensive, and much more common than P2 cards. P2 is Panasonic only. SD cards are supported by all manufacturers except Sony. Although I would imagine this technology going to Memory Stick (Sony) flash cards as well as Secure Digital, since SanDisk makes both of these types of cards.

Wayne Morellini March 4th, 2007 06:21 AM

Still there is that 100GB SD card "millipede" technology IBM is on the verge of releasing (well according to their previous text releases). That should be cheaper then HDD's, and other things.

I wish somebody would actually release something, I'm sick of all this waiting, there probably are more revolutionary storage solutions promising to solve problems overt he last en years, than I have fingers, but I don't know if any have hit the market.

Jon Fairhurst March 4th, 2007 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 635578)
If it's write once, then by definition it's not P2. What you meant to say is that...

Hi Chris,

I was really talking about function (solid state, removable memory in a video camera) rather than form factor - and, more importantly, showing the price drop that we would need for read only memory, compared to the re-writable P2 cards.

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.

I've no doubt that the solution will come - and I will hail the day! However, I think we'll have to wait a while before write-once memory nirvana, simply due to cost. But someday...

Richard Alvarez March 4th, 2007 03:53 PM

"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?

Peter Ferling March 4th, 2007 04:46 PM

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.

Chris Hurd March 4th, 2007 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Ferling (Post 635899)
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.

Paulo Teixeira March 4th, 2007 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Peter Ferling (Post 635899)
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.

Richard Alvarez March 4th, 2007 09:44 PM

"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.

Greg Boston March 4th, 2007 10:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paulo Teixeira (Post 635971)
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.

-gb-

Kevin Shaw March 5th, 2007 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst (Post 635820)
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.

Peter Ferling March 5th, 2007 09:02 AM

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...

Jim Andrada March 6th, 2007 11:37 PM

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.

Wayne Morellini March 7th, 2007 08:05 AM

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.

Peter Ferling March 7th, 2007 09:00 AM

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.

Jon Fairhurst March 7th, 2007 12:02 PM

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.)

Peter Ferling March 7th, 2007 12:38 PM

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.

Paulo Teixeira March 7th, 2007 12:48 PM

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.

Jon Fairhurst March 7th, 2007 12:53 PM

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.

Eric Stemen March 7th, 2007 01:30 PM

It would be cool if companies would make the camera, then you could choose what type of media you want to record to and just bolt it on to the camera.....but i guess that's similar to how the old cameras worked. Big shoulder mounted camera with a vcr strapped to your back.

Yi Fong Yu March 7th, 2007 03:54 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820211149
^technology like that is coming =D. it rocks.

regarding this archival stuff, i think it's 2vague at this point. no spex on read/write speed. if it's 10MBps (like most modern flash sticks are) there i noway in hell it's going to keep up with high def. (which is the here on now, no longer 'the future').

David Heath March 7th, 2007 05:46 PM

I'm in full agreement with Chris here. I also think this has the potential to be huge - though we need further detail: read/write speeds, exact costs, max sizes etc etc. But definately worth watching.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 635578)
If it's write once, then by definition it's not P2. What you meant to say is that what people really want is a 16GB SD (Secure Digital) card. SD cards are smaller, less expensive, and much more common than P2 cards.

Not only SD, but also Compact Flash, which I seem to remember Sandisk did much of the original development for (?) and which tends to currently be available in larger max capacities than for SD. With the Grass Valley Infinity expected in Q2, we would then immediately have a video camera able to take advantage of this media, and CF is probably also the most common media in the pro digital stills market. CF is currently already available in 16GB size, with a cost of about £10/GB in the UK

One other advantage of write-once media is that it may be considered more tamper proof than rewritable media, and hence potentially more valuable for applications where it is vital to prove authenticity - legal uses etc.

I see it coexisting with rewritable flash memory for the foreseeable future, especially when the latter is of a price when immediate downloading and erasure to continue working is less necessary. P2 is currently tantalising in offering a view of what is possible, offering some advantages over tape whilst bringing it's own negative set of issues - this announcement promises enabling people to have their cake and eat it. Potentially, the advantages of P2 and tape, with the disadvantages of neither.

Very interesting.

David Heath March 7th, 2007 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yi Fong Yu (Post 637836)
no spex on read/write speed. if it's 10MBps (like most modern flash sticks are) there i noway in hell it's going to keep up with high def.

10MBps is pretty slow nowadays, at least for the pro ranges. The price I quoted above is for 20MBs guaranteed read/write (160Mbs), and CF is also widely available with speeds up to about double that.

Eric Stemen March 7th, 2007 11:14 PM

Compact Flash would be a great way to go, My DSLR uses it, why not my camcorder....it would also be harder to lose than an SD card, but not much.

Andrew Kimery March 8th, 2007 02:49 PM

It terms of digital archiving is a super long life span (100+ years) really all that important? Don't most archival people recommend migrating to new digital media every 10 or 15 years so you won't end up w/media that's on an unsupported format?


-A

David Heath March 8th, 2007 06:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Kimery (Post 638450)
It terms of digital archiving is a super long life span (100+ years) really all that important? Don't most archival people recommend migrating to new digital media every 10 or 15 years so you won't end up w/media that's on an unsupported format?

I think it's a bit of chicken v egg. The recommendation may come BECAUSE the life span of media to date can't be trusted. Have a guaranteed longer life span media, and why bother migrating? And for such as SD or CF, the readers are quite simple and cheap which may give them more longevity than media which relies on moving parts in more complicated readers.

Regarding speed of CF, this link http://www.steves-digicams.com/pr/Le...x-udma_pr.html is now claiming Compact Flash with "Minimum Sustained Write Speeds of 45MB/s" - that's 360Mbs!

Jon Fairhurst March 9th, 2007 12:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Andrew Kimery (Post 638450)
It terms of digital archiving is a super long life span (100+ years) really all that important? Don't most archival people recommend migrating to new digital media every 10 or 15 years so you won't end up w/media that's on an unsupported format?

There are two advantages that immediately come to mind. One is that you save labor by not having to constantly clone your collection. The other is that you can put something in a cornerstone (with player), open it in 100 years and enjoy the content.

When Charlton Heston enters the cave in Planet of the Apes, you still want your digital doll to say, "Mommy!" - or project the 4k resolution Planet of the Apes movie on the cave wall...

Chris Hurd July 23rd, 2008 08:05 PM

This original subject of this thread -- SanDisk WORM (write once, read many) cards
-- has now been updated. Please direct replies to the new discussion, located at
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=126550


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