The Available Technology -Two
When I start talking about Blu-ray I see a lot of people’s eyes glaze over. I’m not sure if it’s because of the contentious battle waged between HD-DVD and Blu-ray or the fact that most people associate it with movie delivery. I think Blu-ray is great. It’s affordable, burners and readers are commonplace, media is plentiful, and professional quality software can be found for around $60.
It’s more likely that this will be around for a while. Look at the fact that I can still use CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs in my current drives. Optical formats are more prevalent in popular consumer electronics. It’s more likely that as optical technologies evolve we’re going to be able to continue using our old discs. This might not always be the case, but if the current state of optical compatibility is a signal for the future (which it isn’t always, see why this is so frustrating?) Then a format like Blu-ray is a great option for archiving.
Like anything, there are downsides to using Blu-ray. The base discs only hold 25GB, and although there are currently 50GB, 100GB and a new 300GB model coming soon, the larger the discs the more expensive they become. I frequently find myself spanning a day’s shoot over several discs. When you want data to be accessed long term, you typically need to burn the discs at a low speed, making them slow to write. Disc life is uncertain, but from personally experience I was recently able to access my burned CD-R “mix-tapes” from the early 2000s along with all my college papers (that I had migrated from floppies), so I’m feeling pretty confident in the life span of optical media if it’s treated well.
- Low cost of start up use
- Both media and drives are common in both professional and consumer models
- High level of backwards compatibility
- An accepted and supported archival format
- Newer versions still being developed
- Passive storage
- Slow to write and restore information
- Disc life is uncertain
- Occasionally requires a number of discs
- Fragile - discs need to be handled correctly.
Bonus Track: Cloud Storage
Okay, so there is a fourth option, one that I’m really hesitant about talking about here, but let’s go ahead and jump into cloud computing. I’m not going to spend much time talking about this, and you’ll see why. I’ve seen that there are a number of really great editing-in-the-cloud products coming out from various companies both big and small. I’m still not convinced that the future of archiving large files is in the cloud, and I defiantly know we aren’t there at the current time.
First off, ISP service, especially here in the States, is terrible: slow downloads and even slower uploads. With new laws and corporate mergers on the horizon that are going to restrict our internet access even further, baring any major changes in policy, I don’t foresee the internet being a satisfactory or convenient place to storage our digital materials. The price point is unacceptable; a monthly fee for accessing the internet, an additional fee for renting a modem from the only internet company in town, and then having to pay to host the kind of space you’re going to need to store all the materials. Additionally, there are all sorts of privacy concerns!
So, unless something seriously changes over the next five or so years that eliminates all the restrictions currently imposed upon the “cloud,” online storage isn’t going to be a logical solution to the “Digital Dilemma.”