Film Archives Being Eaten Away; Would Be Nice If People Could Make Copies To Preserve

from the but-would-that-be-'theft'? dept

Sneeje points us to a recent BBC article about how many old films are being literally eaten up by fungus, such that important elements of our history are being deleted via the "archival" process. Of course, if this content was digitized and allowed to be shared, this wouldn't be a problem, as there would be more and more copies available, rather than relying on a single point of failure made up of film with a gel coating that happens to be "ideal food for fungi like Aspergillus and Penicillium."

Filed Under: film, fungi

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  1. icon
    Errant Garnish (profile), 15 Sep 2010 @ 9:55am

    Copies aren't copies

    The argument to crowdsource archiving of content by making digital copies of films freely available falls flat (for now) due to the large size of an uncompressed film vs. the bandwidth and space available to move and store it.

    The reason film originals sit in cans on the archive shelf is that 1.) the film is going to last hundreds of years if properly kept, much longer than any digital medium in use today, and 2.) the film original is the highest possible quality copy of the content.

    Not long ago DVD's were thought to be the pinnacle of consumer video quality, even though they hold a small fraction of the information on the original film. Now that we have BluRay and HD television we get an idea of what we were missing. But even those formats, thought by the average viewer today to be the best possible rendition, still only hold a fraction of the information of the original.

    Giving everyone a "copy" of these films will preserve some but not all of their value. The mold -- or some other form of decay -- will win in the end.


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