Part 1 – Always Access: From Your Production or Your Home
Digitize now & Virtualize into Cloud
The archives and media libraries are always one of the most valuable part of any media related organization. With the pandemic and restriction in the physical environment, their value has increased even more and they have become central to many community engagement, media and communication activities.
We have seen increased requests amongst our clients for distribution use and increase in use-cases to engage with audiences, especially in sports and media productions.
Now is the time to use your media archives to engage with your community and audience in different ways. Connect with priceless moments, look back on how the world has evolved and combine your stories with a touch of history.
We have seen how important it is to ensure that archival content is always accessible in the digital space to deliver its value to all the stakeholders. With continuous risk of degradation, technology obsolesce and cloud infrastructure at significantly improved economics, it is time to accelerate the virtualization of your archive.
Today, we have possibly the most economic point to simply digitize everything and leverage technology. As the unstoppable obsolescence and deterioration continue, prices to digitize legacy formats will inevitably increase. Just looking at the cost to digitize older formats like 2” or 1” or even U-Matic, if we extrapolate costs and the effects of technical obsolescence, we are predicting a cost increase. With our Memnon MIRAGE Robotic system, our productivity has reached unprecedented levels.
If we add, on the cost side, wasted expenditures due to ongoing physical storage (which only returns in continuous degradation), there is simply no economic rationale to justify delaying.
In contrast to these increasing cost factors, we have seen recently significantly improved economics for long term archival digital storage. We are potentially at the optimum peak point for a balanced business case and economics before increases in digitization and continuous physical storage cost outstrip the benefits of digital storage. Until recently, when archival cloud and digital storage costs were high, it made sense to wait (and for some 4K+ film scanning it still may make sense), but as most archival material will not be growing in resolution anymore the benefits from further digital storage cost reductions will just be very marginal compared to future digitization and continuous physical cost.
Our recommendation is to use the window of opportunity now and digitize simply everything you have whether open reels like 2inch Quad or 1inch B/C or tape formats from the popular ones to the legacy high end ones from D1 to D6-Voodoo or D9-D/VHS. As our team always says, digital does not fail gracefully. (Whether Audio, Film or Video, contact our team to explore.)
The cost of archival cloud has reduced drastically, while its advantages continue to expand from object storage and the benefits of object metadata, multi-location data distribution, and the growing benefits of the cloud ecosystems from ML/AI to transcoding and compute on demand. With a significant improvement of economics in the last 6 to 9 months, archival storage costs in the region of just $1 per TB or $1000 per Petabyte per month. We believe it is worth starting with the cloud as backup and gradually swapping with your onsite solution as your organization moves increasingly towards a virtual environment.
We also started to help migrate legacy Data Formats for our customers from last year. This includes legacy LTO formats in pre-LTFS standard formats, magnetic and optical data media for our media clients which become in-accessible to them often with masters or early digitization/telecine of films in the past.
For the migration, in the process, we ingest, extract, validate, transcode new proxies, refresh metadata, re-organize and heavy lift Petabyte of data and hundreds of thousands of files into cloud and/or next generation storage environment.
We have processed around 100,000 reels in the last 5 years across the world for clients in broadcast, media & entertainment and universities. We have fine-tuned and improved our processes. Over the last two years, we have significantly expanded our efforts to optimize large scale film processes, invested in R&D efforts and into a high-performance infrastructure only to finetune our film operations.
We are currently processing tens of thousands of film reels in 2K, 4K and over-scanned in 5K in a parallel multi-film scanner environment into DPX with MD5 checksum generation for every single frame. The frames are subsequently transcoded into ProRes4444 and ProRes422 as well as into a proxy from the DPX sequences and into FFV1 to offer lossless compression of the masters for storage optimized long term preservation. As we move from classic film operations on individual benches to high volume processing with industrial quality methodologies, we move into the area of high data processing and big data.
In order to process the volume and data bandwidth, we have developed and fine-tuned our in-house network storage solution using the latest 64-core EPYC processors and our workflow platform with optimized process flow. This allows us to process high volume at highest quality, continuously monitored and delivered at best economics for our clients.
Film usually carries very special historical value due to the age and uniqueness of the content. At Memnon, we generally see that the older the content is, the less discoverable, indexed and available it is. With older media formats, we also see the increasing risk of a vicious spiral of inactivity as content is not just in-accessible but is simply forgotten and continues to decay. In our film preparation processes we see everyday the impact of even a slight decay on film from color fading to deterioration of slices and glue to bad shrinkages and dehydration or vinegar syndrome. We believe that periodic film reconditioning as done in our film digitization process is necessary for the physical archiving of the film reels in the future.
Film scanning doesn’t have to be un-affordable or only for your directors cut. Moreover, increasing ML/AI capabilities also for image and color improvement open a new whole world of opportunities for content as long as it has been scanned and digitized.
With the growing demand for content through new distributionfrom OTT, VOD, social media to expanded traditional channels, we see over the last 12 months that our clients have more and more new return opportunities and projects as never before.
To help our clients in this endeavour and their projects, we have expanded our services to support large scale content confirming and media processing services to support also directly Archives-to-OTT and beyond. With the launch of our archival content and footage marketplace DARS, we look to expand our mission to help increase the value and use of archival content into new stories and productions.
Read more about the returns from archive projects here…