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AMIA-L  August 2003

AMIA-L August 2003

Subject:

Tapeless Recording - the coming end of tape?

From:

James Lindner <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association of Moving Image Archivists <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 9 Aug 2003 08:08:05 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

While everyone is well aware that tapeless editing non-linear editing
has been with us for a long time, there are some other industry trends
that are quite important for our field. There has been some mention in
this list about Sony Blue Laser which I will mention below - and taken
by itself this is an interesting development but to me what is more
interesting is that there are in fact several different approaches that
are being taken to essentially eliminate tape at the capture point. Most
of these systems are early in evolution, but it is clear that the
industry is moving in this direction on several fronts, and that has
some very interesting implications for the archival community. I will
leave the discussion of this for later and for others, but I thought a
brief description of what is "going on" in this area would be
interesting.

Sony Blue Laser
Has been discussed on this list in the past. This is a 5" recordable DVD
in a cartridge that holds 23 Gigabytes. It is designed as a storage
device for DVCAM and IMX and has the capacity of around 90 minutes
recording DVCAM and about 75 recording in IMX format. One of the things
the industry has long wanted was faster then real time transfer into Non
Linear Editing systems, and at 144 MBps this goes at around 30x real
time. I don't know of any real archival testing of the media, but Sony
claims 1000 times re-recording - that of course has no particular
relationship to long term life that I know of.

Hitachi (et. al.)
Has been touting a DVD-RAM device that uses a 4.7GB disk and can get
around an hour of MPEG-2 recordings on it. I haven't seen the quality -
it probably "looks ok to most people" which is the current criteria for
quality it seems. In order to be able to readily edit the material there
is DVD=VR which is essentially a software CODEC as I understand it - it
is going to be incorporated into Final Cut Pro and other editing
systems. This system can transfer only slightly faster then real time,
but has the added advantage of more then one vendor supporting it.

You may have heard about these systems, but I am more interested in the
ones below. They are essentially "media-less" in the conventional sense.

Ikegami...
was the first company a LONG time ago to introduce a field camera that
recorded directly on Hard Drives. They have continued on this path and
have both cameras that have integral drives as well as having camera
packs that will hook up to other camera that contain hard drives. They
even have a nifty one that has the same mating as a standard camera
mount so that you can use cameras that you already own. They support
some of the Avid file formats, and also DV25 and DV50 which is
interesting. I believe that the packs also support Time Lapse and other
camera features. The idea here is to easily replace a tape environment
with a file based product. Very appealing to news organizations in hard
budget times and eager to eliminate the cost of tape to their station
budget.

Panasonic
Did something pretty clever - they took a PCMIA shell and put higher
density consumer type memory chips in it - essentially the same stuff
you have for your digital camera that are manufactured in the millions
now (and therefore very cheap) and are using that as storage. Too little
you say - well they are up to 4GB in the first one which stores around
15 minutes of DVCPRO25 (I think). In the spring they are expecting 16GB
in the same form factor - so this becomes VERY interesting - and the
data transfer rate is very fast at around 600 MBps - around 20x speed.
So when you come in after a shoot you just hand over your memory card to
the editor - that is it...

JVC
Has gone with a 80GB hard drive that supports MANY different formats - I
believe MXF is supposed to be one of them. They are also supporting
MPEG4, as well as getting pretty heavily into meta-data - camera
information mostly. JVC is always "trying harder" compared to Sony and
Panasonic but they do have a very loyal group of supporters -
particularly down market a bit from broadcasters in what is called the
"Professional Market" - essentially what used to be known as the
"industrial market" which includes "Event Videographers".
====================

Over the years there has been some playing around with tapeless
recording and the industry has mostly stood on the sidelines and stayed
with tape - but I sense that this will change soon - there is a critical
mass here of different technologies (... formats... and yes they are
incompatible as devices although not necessarily as files) that offer
the performance and cost effectiveness that the industry is looking for.
With Digital Cameras in the still market finally taking off - to me the
video industry is not far behind - the idea of Panasonic to play off of
the huge economies of scale of using he same memory chips in parallel is
particularly interesting.

I think there are many impacts of this technology on the AV archival
community. Comments?



James Lindner
Managing Member

media matters llc
500 W. 37th Street 1st Floor
New York, NY 10018

PLEASE NOTE NEW NEW TELEPHONE NUMBER and new address above. Yes - we
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