The increasing use of digital workflows to produce feature films has made possible ever more spectacular and seamless special effects. The movie experience for audiences today is very different from that of just a few years ago. From Harry Potter to Alice in Wonderland to Avatar, filmmakers have new creative freedoms that produce amazing results for today’s moviegoers. The industry has also benefited from the many efficiency gains associated with digital post.
Right now it’s still a hybrid world with filmed or digitally-originated images feeding into a digital intermediate process which is then recorded out to produce film prints or a file for digital cinema display. Recording out to produce film prints usually requires an intermediate film. From the infancy of the digital intermediate process, Kodak Vision Color Intermediate Film has been the standard used to record out images from those digital files for film distribution and display.
The Society of American Archivist defines Archival Media as ‘resistant to deterioration or loss of quality, allowing for a long life expectancy when kept in controlled conditions’.
If we try to apply this definition to the different types of storage media currently used in the motion picture workflow as it is structured today, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to find many media that fit this definition: other than film, that is.
Whether the production in question uses hard drives, CD’s , tapes or DVDs to store their content, there is always the very real probability that a hard drive will crash, that a tape will get scratched, that the format used will be obsolete and render the information unreadable in a few years (even if the information is still intact). What good does it do to have perfectly good information that you cannot access?