This question was raised by a fellow filmmaker friend recently. It has also been one of the thing that bugs me for a long time – How do we archive our digital videos?
I came from the traditional video making world where we always have a tape to archive to. When digital video making came along, i can’t help but wonder how are we going to ensure all the “01010101” stay long enough in the external hard disk? What will happen if we accidentally drop it or forget to eject the disk when power it down. Digital format has a much higher risk compare to the analog format.
Do you know that your hard disk can fail easily when it wasn’t spin enough? Even if we diligently bring it out for a ride, it has a limited life much shorter than the tapes.
I did a little research about what the experts are doing. It looks like we have yet to conclude a clear path. It is worth a better understanding to help us prepare for our future.
Digital Rebellion gives an excellent writeup about all the options you can find right now – Backup Options for Filmmakers.
Larry Jordan wrote a number of articles that discuss about archiving. He gives very good recommendation about the best (lossless) codec you may export for keeping.
There is one format that many people has raise – LTO. Linear Tape Open. It has yet been fully adopted by filmmakers. However, it is now a widely used format in other industries that need to store tones of digital datas. The biggest downside to LTO for filmmaking or videomaking is the inability to provide random access. It is a TAPE basically, you need to roll it to the exact place where you “keep” the data. Slow transfer speed is another deterrent. Currently, we can find 1.5TB LTO tape in the market. The good news is, we may have 70TB in the future. Read this article here.
I am no guru on latest digital technologies. Please feel free to correct me if there is any mis-information.