The Digital Dilemma 2 – A Cultural Heritage at Risk

Published on website: April 19, 2012
Categories: Archiving , Kimberly Snyder , The StoryBoard Blog
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Kimberly Snyder
President and General Manager
Entertainment and Commercial Films Group
Vice President of Eastman Kodak Company

It’s no secret that the entertainment industry is engaged in a technology transition that puts high stakes on the line when it comes to the preservation of motion picture assets. “The Digital Dilemma 2,” recently published by the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, takes a thorough and analytical look at the impact of the digital revolution on filmmakers’ assets, and in particular, the assets and processes of independent filmmakers.

The report follows 2007’s “The Digital Dilemma,” which focused on studio content, and like its predecessor, this second in-depth study covers critical topics for the overall industry in terms of securing entertainment assets for the long term.

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The Digital Dilemma 2 is now available as a Free Download.

With independent (non-studio) films now accounting for over 75% of annual motion picture releases, the report poses crucial questions for indies: Who is responsible for protecting and preserving these films after they’ve been completed? How can filmmakers ensure that their productions are available and accessible for future generations to view? The pathway for the maintenance, preservation, and archiving of independent films – in an affordable and realistic manner – can certainly be a challenge, as the process to keep digital archives intact is in flux. Independent filmmakers and documentarians also face greater fiscal challenges in their efforts to maintain archives and assets. It’s a complex situation for all of us in the industry, and critical to resolve if we are to have access to a bounty of important creative work from both the distant past and long into the future.

An important element of that solution is film. According to “The Digital Dilemma 2” the proven value of film is considered a cornerstone of the archival pipeline, noting that no matter how a project originates or is distributed, film emerges as the most trusted, only-proven, long-lasting archival option for filmmakers today.

At Kodak, we continue to work closely with technologists and creatives in service of their needs and the needs of the industry, particularly in the restoration and preservation arena. And in light of “The Digital Dilemma 2” findings, our goal remains steadfast – to develop solutions that not only stand strongly within a traditional film workflow but also can be integrated into digital pathways. Even digitally-acquired projects can be archived when recorded out to film. In fact, Kodak will soon be introducing two new films for preservation that will offer options for any budget. Our ongoing R&D has led us to the development of an asset protection film platform that will again help define the image science necessary to move boldly and securely into the future. Each film is unique and offers customers a choice for content management.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come:

  • A black-and-white digital recorder film on an Estar base, currently under development, will utilize patented VISION3 intermediate emulsion technology optimized for modern film recorders and offering hundreds of years of image stability when stored under proper conditions.
  • Another film that is currently under development is a color asset protection film that offers significantly advanced dye fade characteristics. It will enter the market at a low price point, making it an economical option for creating film elements from a digital workflow.
  • Then, there is our VISION3 Color Digital Intermediate film, introduced in 2010 and used around the world in DI suites, which utilizes patented emulsion technology optimized for modern film recorders.

As we have done for more than 120 years, we will continue to push film and digital technologies as far as possible—for the broader independent and documentary communities, as well as the studios and networks.

As Oscar®-winning director Martin Scorsese says, “Movies are the memories of our lifetime. We need to keep them alive.” Rest assured that Kodak will continue to help make sure your images remain alive, secure, and available for generations to come.

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