A new startup, Archived, wishes to take the worry and uncertainty out of digital archiving with its triple redundant "cold storage" solution that's backed up by a long term trust.
Digital archiving or, in other words, storing your important files and media for the long term, is an increasingly important consideration for filmmakers and production houses. As we move from HD and 4K to 8K and beyond, the sheer amount of digital media leveraged by our workflows can rapidly overwhelm our ready-means to manage it. And the interactive, immersive storytelling made possible by virtual reality platforms will likely cause our archival needs to balloon further still.
Of course, not all files need to be saved to archive, but the most vital assets, like camera original footage, not to mention our completed films, require storage solutions that are more reliable than that stack of hard drives in your closet.
We've covered this topic at length in the past, particularly through Peter Haas' guide to digital archiving. For those interested in the topic, I strongly urge a thorough read of that article, as it breaks down the pros and cons of various storage options, from the aforementioned hard disks to LTO tape, Blu-ray and cloud-based solutions.
A startup run by Charles Haine, an old classmate of mine from USC's Masters film production program, wants to be your go-to solution for digital archiving, with interesting wrinkles that may make it a compelling option for filmmakers.
The service provided by Archived (TryArchived.com) has fundamental differences from your run-of-the-mill digital storage services, like Dropbox or Google Drive, which are "hot" storage tools for frequent access and manipulation. Archived employs "cold" storage, with backup to servers in different physical and geographic locations (hence, "triple redundancy"), that don't require live electricity to keep them active. This storage method lowers costs, with the trade-off that files cannot be immediately accessed by the end user, unless those files were recently added to archive.
Security concerns should be assuaged by Archived's use of encryption for all cold storage data centers and the requirement of dual-factor authentication for file access. In the company's words: "Your encryption key is only accessed by you; our administrators can’t access it without your password, meaning even if the main archived database is hacked, your data remains safe."
Prices start at $4.99/month for a 50GB bucket. The service is in beta, so you have to contact Archived directly to inquire about rates for higher storage limits. However, since Charles comes from the film world, he has developed an offering with filmmakers in mind. Currently, Archived is running a special specifically set-up for DCP, with file structure and formatting preserved for any size, running $20/month.
Forever and ever...
Archived advertises that the company wants to store your files "forever," which begs the question of a high flat fee for perpetual storage. According to Charles, tax laws make this a near impossibility, although the company is exploring yearly discount options and may offer "lifetime storage" as a promotional giveaway or prize in the future.
This theme of "forever" storage is further reinforced by a long term trust whose sole purpose is to safeguard your files in perpetuity. Ten percent of company revenue is funneled to this trust, which ensures that if Archived went out of business, archives are still secure and able to be accessed. There are even provisions for transferring ownership of files to a beneficiary, so our files could conceivably survive us and be passed on to the next generation of filmmakers.
Archived presents an intriguing and, possibly, invaluable digital archiving service. Let us know in the comments how you presently manage long term storage and whether a service like Archived could satisfy your requirements.