ON TOPIC POST FOLLOWS:
From PetaPixel, The One-Gig Card Challenge:Originally Posted by Bruce Barnbaum
Somebody besides Bruce has noticed a problem.Originally Posted by Derek Shapton
LA Times: Movie Studios Are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital Are Vast, and TroublingOriginally Posted by Bruce Barnbaum
Once again, somebody else has noted what Bruce observed.And even after the films are converted to digital, Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, calls the challenges of preserving them "monumental." Digital is lousy for long-term storage.
The main problem is format obsolescence. File formats can go obsolete in a matter of months. On this subject, Horak's every sentence requires an exclamation mark. "In the last 10 years of digitality, we've gone through 20 formats!" he says. "Every 18 months we're getting a new format!"
So every two years, data must be transferred, or "migrated," to a new device. If that doesn't happen, the data may never being accessible again. Technology can advance too far ahead.
LA Times:Originally Posted by Bruce Barnbaum
And yet another example of, yes, other seeing what Bruce has seen.The new format is called a DCP, or Digital Cinema Package. It is a virtual format, a collection of files stored on a hard drive. Roughly the size of a paperback novel, the hard drive is mailed in a lightweight, foam-lined plastic case to the theater, where it's inserted (or, in the lingo, "ingested") into a server that runs the digital projector. DCPs won't run on traditional film projectors, however. So if they want to play the new format, theater owners must update their equipment.
For this privilege, exhibitors can expect to shell out from $70,000 to $150,000 per screen.
Now, is Bruce really that far off base? He does state quite directly in his article, "I feel digital approaches are perfectly legitimate and wonderful." He has simply noted recurring problems with the digital process. Nothing more, nothing less.
"It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans
But my point wasn't that nobody would keep it going, but that Mr. Barnbaum would not be able to continue to extract prints from his negatives, including making new negatives, as conveniently as he has done in the past. This undermines his argument, it seems to me. The result is that he might have to make his own materials, or buy very expensive and inconsistent small-batch materials. These will necessarily affect his product and the time required to produce it, even the he presents it as a trustworthy constant. And the dimensions of digital photography are also dynamic.
Most of us will, at some point, have to come to terms with this. Right now, it isn't easy--the alternatives to the quality and control we have using sheet film (however we print it) are still quite expensive, prohibitively for some, in dollars and relearning time. I think this was motivating Mr. Barnbaum to make a statement.
Two things seem likely to me: 1.) Digital methods will get cheaper and better. I'm not sure they'll get better in the ways we want them to (big, affordable capture systems), but they will improve.
2.) The value of quality will go down, as the commercial clientele loses interest in it. Slick catalogs give way to web pages, etc. I think we will always stand for quality even if nobody appreciates it but us, but we may lose sufficient critical mass to sustain the required support industry.
Those who revere image detail and tonal depth in large prints are going to be faced with some hard choices, eventually. There are things to be afraid of: becoming irrelevant (maybe many of us don't care), not being able to afford the new technologies for a significant period of time after the old technologies lose viability in the market, or losing the value of the investment many of us have made in equipment and technique.
These things scare me, or more accurately, they depress me--several of the avocations I look forward to in retirement in 15 or 20 years are likely not to survive that long. I've spent decades (slowly) building proficiency--who wouldn't be a little depressed at having to start over?
So, we have divided into camps: those who hold on and those who throw away. The camps are often at war, but the fact is that most of us here are in both camps, if we are young enough to outlive what the holders are holding onto, yet old enough to have too much invested in what the throwers are more willing to abandon.
Surely there is a way to explore the transition without the bloodshed.
Rick "not ignoring the future" Denney
What does DCP, and its effect on costs of storing cinematic content, have to do with the cost of storing digital still photography images? Again, there aren't any digital file formats disappearing or anyone being forced to convert formats. Also, compare the cost of storing film in file cabinets, hanging systems, archival sleeves, cost of floor space, cost of climate control to the cost of replacing a hard drive every 2 or 3 years. Hard drives are ever decreasing in cost per byte, take a fraction of the floor space, can be stored in normal climatic conditions, and first generation copies can be stored in multiple locations thereby decreasing the risk of loss.
Regarding shotgun shooting, you could have made the same argument when roll film came out - I saw the exact same behavior in 35mm film photographers before digital ever became mainstream. You can also expect that people who use shotgun tactics are unlikely to improve as photographers regardless of whether they use digital or film. If someone lacks discipline and the motivation to learn how to see, then putting a film camera in their hands will not make things better. You can also make the argument that using the immediate feedback of digital allows for people (who are inclined to learn) to learn faster than with film, and become better photographers in less time. Using the anecdotal evidence of one photographer does not build a strong case. The better comparison would be to look a large population of serious new photographers, and see if there is any difference on their growth. Who cares about the hordes of snap shooters snapping away.
From cave paintings to canvas paintings, we gained some and lost some.
From canvas to photographs, we gained some and lost some.
From analog to digital, it's the same.
It's a zero-sum game.