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Author Topic: Best digital storage medium
Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4913
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 30, 2018 04:33 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I am gradually getting all my old 8mm home movies transferred to computer files. Most of them are 8mm film, but I also have been digitizing many VHS and digital 8mm tapes. One thing I have found out is that the VHS tapes and the Digital 8 tapes still show no degradation even after 20 to 30 years! That certainly cannot be said of my DVD's, many of which are now unplayable after 10 to 15 years. Which raises the question as to which is the best archival digital storage medium, DVD's, solid state thumb drives, or whatever?

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Ben Zotto
Junior
Posts: 28
From: San Francisco, CA, USA
Registered: Sep 2018


 - posted October 30, 2018 04:58 PM      Profile for Ben Zotto   Email Ben Zotto   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's a clear inversion where older formats tend to be more durable both from a physical standpoint (does the medium itself degrade) and a semantic standpoint (can I still usefully interpret the stored data using readily-available tools?). The former afflicts all mediums over time in various ways to varying degrees, and the latter is more poignant in the digital era because unreadable data doesn't just mean a staticky movie; it's unplayable. I assume your DVDs are suffering physical damage that's rendering them unreadable. Huge bummer.

If you could get your films copied onto stone tablets, you'd be in the best possible shape, but barring that: solid state disks (and and even magnetic disks well kept) are likely to be less vulnerable to the kinds of breakdowns that (particularly home-recorded) DVD/CD are. Periodic access of the disks is recommended to validate and refresh the bits. Redundancy is of course also helpful: perhaps a disk but a set of DVDs, and/or cloud storage, as backup. (The very serious data people still swear by data on tape as long term cold storage medium, and I suppose you could go that route but I'm not sure it's super practical for personal use.)

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4913
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 30, 2018 05:04 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Where can I get my films transferred to stone tablets? [Big Grin]

quote:
Periodic access of the disks is recommended to validate and refresh the bits.
Are you saying that periodic playing of a DVD will actually 'refresh" and repair the disc data?

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Ben Zotto
Junior
Posts: 28
From: San Francisco, CA, USA
Registered: Sep 2018


 - posted October 30, 2018 05:27 PM      Profile for Ben Zotto   Email Ben Zotto   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Are you saying that periodic playing of a DVD will actually 'refresh" and repair the disc data?

Oh, sorry, not the DVDs. I meant any magnetic disks, and possibly the solid state ones too but I'm not expert enough to say for sure.

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Claus Harding
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1129
From: Washington DC
Registered: Oct 2006


 - posted October 30, 2018 06:00 PM      Profile for Claus Harding   Email Claus Harding   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Solid-state drives, SSDs, at least eliminate the platters and other moving parts, and they are very fast when it comes to access times of the data. I have three of them in my PC, Samsung EVO series, and they have been great so far.
The jury may still be out as to how long they can last, but they are a good step forward compared to physical drives.
Claus.

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"Why are there shots of deserts in a scene that's supposed to take place in Belgium during the winter?" (Review of 'Battle of the Bulge'.)

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David Michael Leugers
Master Film Handler

Posts: 256
From: Fairfield, OH, USA
Registered: Feb 2004


 - posted October 30, 2018 07:06 PM      Profile for David Michael Leugers   Email David Michael Leugers   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My SSD in my laptop died and upon doing some research, I found that they last on average not much longer than the standard hard drives. One expert claims that the only archival digital storage is via "M" dvd's. I don't know anything about it, nor have I seen any to my knowledge. I've seen lots of VHS tapes not last much more than 10 years. I've also seen lots of home movies last over 80 years and still going...

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Live Free or Die

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4913
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 30, 2018 07:18 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Verbatim makes 'M' Discs which are claimed to last at least 100 years. They cost about $5.00 each.

https://www.verbatim.com/subcat/optical-media/m-disc/

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Joe Taffis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1567
From: United States
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 30, 2018 08:11 PM      Profile for Joe Taffis   Email Joe Taffis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I’ve been transferring many of my personal films and digital stuff to the new M (millennium) discs. Time will only tell if it’s worth it...

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Joe Taffis

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Nantawat Kittiwarakul
Master Film Handler

Posts: 257
From: Rajburana, Bangkok, Thailand
Registered: Aug 2017


 - posted October 30, 2018 08:24 PM      Profile for Nantawat Kittiwarakul   Email Nantawat Kittiwarakul   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Flash memory seems to be the most practical long-term storage,at least for today's technology. No moving parts to wear out/get stuck hence no need to periodically access it. The limited read/write cycle should be not much of concern if it spends most of its time on the shelf. [Wink]

Next alternative is still conventional magnetic HDD,as long as you use it from time to time. My external hdd still goes strong after 4-5 years of use,since I keep accessing it at least once a month (to make sure that everything is still alright).

Forget DVD/BD - especially the writable ones,they'll most likely to go bye-bye within 4-5 years regardless of storage condition. [Frown]
The pressed-disc is another story,they might last only 5 years,they might last forever. Some early audio CDs bought since early 80's are still playing perfectly fine. Some DVDs bought less than 10 years ago already went to heaven. Go figure...

BTW some magnetic tape last much,much longer than I once expected. Some VHS recordings my father made since early-mid 80's are still very playable (a slight dropout here and there,but nothing major). That's well beyond manufacturer's warranty. [Cool]

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Just a lone collector from a faraway land...

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Joe Taffis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1567
From: United States
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 30, 2018 08:33 PM      Profile for Joe Taffis   Email Joe Taffis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I’ve been transferring many of my personal films and digital stuff to the new M (millennium) discs. Time will only tell if it’s worth it...

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Joe Taffis

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4913
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 30, 2018 10:52 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The big advantage of magnetic tape is that even if you get some drop out you can still play the contents of the tape, unlike the digital disc which can fail completely overnight and become totally unplayable. So from this point of view tape is superior.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1619
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted October 31, 2018 04:59 AM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
M discs sound really interesting, although you need an M disc burner as well.

I think the reality is that whatever digital storage we use, it would be sensible to make new digital copies every few years to ensure they survive.

Paul, your comments about unplayable commercial DVDs is interesting as I've never yet had a failed disc. Yes, standard writable discs have proved variable and not to be trusted for long periods, but not commercial DVDs (so far...fingers crossed...)

Perhaps climate makes a difference??

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Paul Adsett
Film God

Posts: 4913
From: USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted October 31, 2018 09:58 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Rob, it's quite possible that climate plays a role. Here in Florida we have had power failures for over a week during hurricanes, and the internal temperature of the house has been over 90 degrees with very high humidity. Not good for DVD's or film. Having said that, I have noticed that all my failed DVD's are from Warner Brothers collection editions, so quite possibly, or probably, the problem is really a quality control issue at the Mexico plant where these discs were manufactured.
Most DVD burners will also handle M discs with no problems.

--------------------
The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
Eumig S938 Stereo f1.0 Ektar
Panasonic PT-AE4000U digital pj

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1619
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted October 31, 2018 10:39 AM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Paul, that does sound like an issue with specific discs from one source. Very poor. Have you contacted Warner Bros. about it? Might be worth a shot...

Sadly, my 8 year old PC with DVD burner won't handle M discs.
[Frown] So would mean a new burner for me.

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Phil Murat
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 647
From: Villeneuve St Georges, France
Registered: Dec 2015


 - posted October 31, 2018 11:08 AM      Profile for Phil Murat   Email Phil Murat   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Paul,

I suggest SSD "Hard File" :

A) Strong point

- Best Reliability

- Best Acces time

- Faster writing

- Impact resistant

B) Weak points :

-Writing cycles limited (Not reading !!)
-Price

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Ricky Daniels
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 582
From: London & Kent UK
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted November 01, 2018 06:00 AM      Profile for Ricky Daniels   Email Ricky Daniels   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
M-Disc if you want your media to last, all other commercially available meathods have far shorter shelf lives! SSDs and HDDs will fail eventually... HDD (mechanical) and SSDs (have limited rewrite, overtime).

Rob, an M-Disc burner costs around £30.

Best,
Rick

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Bill Brandenstein
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1627
From: California
Registered: Aug 2007


 - posted November 02, 2018 03:12 PM      Profile for Bill Brandenstein   Email Bill Brandenstein   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Archival gold discs have been around in the CD and DVD medium for decades. The dye layer is supposedly ultra-stable, and the reflective layer can't oxidize since it's gold. I've never had one fail. Even some "standard" discs have lasted decades for me now. If "M" discs are a proprietary technology and can't be read on standard drives, you do NOT want that if you want your data future-proofed.

My advice is something like your financial advisor would say: diversify. So do optical discs, flash drives, and at least a copy or two on standard portable drives. Migrate and refresh every several years. Keep the source transfers as well as output files!

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Ricky Daniels
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 582
From: London & Kent UK
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted November 04, 2018 06:16 AM      Profile for Ricky Daniels   Email Ricky Daniels   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Bill FYI,
M-Discs can be read by standard DVD drives, they just cannot be burned (etched) by standard drives... although, of course, that’ll depend on the quality of the read drive!
Best,
Rick

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Rob Young.
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1619
From: Cheshire, U.K.
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted November 04, 2018 11:36 AM      Profile for Rob Young.     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
All of this reminds me of several years ago when we had a national census here in the UK.

I was filming a piece about it (ok, digitally capturing it) and was taken to the top secret location where all of the data is kept.

The guy in charge gave an elaborate explanation of the ways in which the data was digitally stored and backed up...then concluded with the fact that it was also photographed and kept on photo chemical micro film as a back up.

I still recall his slightly confused expression as I laughed out loud.
[Smile]

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