Video Archiving: How Do YOU Archive Your Digital Productions?
Video archiving is crucial as the amount of digital video increases and accessing your files becomes harder. The need for long-term storage solutions is also vital to maintaining your video assets.
Just this year I ditched all but one of my tape based video cameras, just before I shot and am now editing a project that consists of nearly 3 TB of files. This footage is invaluable and I don’t have any videotapes to go back to should my editing drive fail. Having had more than my share of hard drive failures, I’m paranoid of that happening to this project. Right now I’m backing up to a number of large hard drives, but what about long term storage?
I’ve known about tape backup systems for years but they always sounded complicated and, well, mysterious. At DV Expo in Pasadena this past September, I met with Mark, Bruce and Whitney, the folks representing LTO Ultrium 5, a mid-level linear tape file system, and I immediately saw that this is a smart solution for many video production companies, as well as other organizations with large amounts of digital data that need to be either archived or shared.
So, what would you do with one? Obviously,what I’m thinking of is a medium for long-term storage of my vast collection of video files. It doesn’t care if you are on a PC, MAC, or Linux operating system, it takes everything in.
Sharing large files is another use. For example, that 3 TB project I’m working on – I could have outsourced it to an editor elsewhere, say India for example. How could I safely send that much data?
With the LTO Ultrium 5 of course.
The tapes are robust and far less prone to damage than a hard drive, as well as much smaller and lighter. The editor could take my data, edit it, and send the finished program and all related files back to me on tape. Can you imagine sending a hard drive loaded with your precious content, around the world? What are the chances of it being damaged along the way? Pretty good, I’d say.
The LTO Ultrium 5 can store up to 3 TB (assuming 2:1 compression) to help reduce storage costs. The tapes can be formatted into two partitions, which can be independently accessed for faster access. One partition can be the description (the index, if you will) and the other holds the data. Think of the convenience of that for long term storage and easy retrieval.
The biggest expense is in the drive, which ranges in price from under $3,000 to around $5,000, but can also be affordably leased. Once you have the drive, the tapes are relatively inexpensive, so you can afford to create multiple copies and store them in remote locations in the event of a natural disaster at your primary location.
The LTO Program was formed in 1997 and three companies — HP, IBM and Quantum — jointly oversee the development and roadmap of Linear Tape-Open (LTO) technology. The three gentlemen I met with at DV Expo were from these companies. They told me that the LTO technology has a 98% penetration in the mid-range market, so this isn’t technology that is here today and gone tomorrow.
Is this for everyone? No, but for many people it is worth a long, hard look.
What do you think? What solutions have you come up with for video archiving? Please leave your comments below.