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The Fallacy of Temporary Value

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Franz Bieberkopf
The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:07:25 pm
Last Edited By Franz Bieberkopf on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:12:10 pm

It's come up before in other guises (particularly with reference to project formats and legacy support, as well as the CC controversy) but as it just came up in the Quicktime thread below, its an opportunity to discuss.

[Bill Davis] "For 30 years people have been shooting stuff. And my bet is that about 1/10th of 1 percent of all the stuff shot has maintained any actual value a year past it's creation."

[Jeremy Garchow] "Really, all of this is flashpan technology as we are the midst of so much fundamental development change. It won't bother many people that Sorenson 3, cinepak, and 1bit Indexed Color RGB has been phased out."

Leaving aside the question of how many people it needs to "bother" before the question is somehow legitimate, it really is a question of value, and the long view.

I'm assuming many here are involved in projects only at one (or several) stages along the way, and ultimately not responsible or interested in them long-term. Its probably worth noting that this is another important nexus where individual artists and producers, as well as those working for institutions are going to have very different perspectives from many editors.

But I came here to post these two perspectives:

The first, a moral perspective from Martin Scorsese:
http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/martin-scorsese-lecture

"So when I hear the question – and interestingly enough some people are still asking it – “why preserve anything?” – I just think of those stories. All that silent film, all those images of the Civil War, and there was no consciousness of their lasting value. That only came later. Why preserve? Because we can’t know where we’re going unless we know where we’ve been – we can’t understand the future or the present until we have some sort of grappling with the past."
[…]
"So we have to take really good care of what’s left. Everything, from the acknowledged masterworks of cinema to industrial films and home movies, anthropological films. Anything that could tell us who we are."


The second, a money perspective concerning Doctor Who (wikipedia, but many other sources out there):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Who_missing_episodes
(for context, some current audience figures here http://www.doctorwhonews.net/

The Doctor Who missing episodes are the instalments of the long-running British science-fiction programme that have no known film or videotape copies. They were destroyed by the BBC during the 1960s and 1970s for economic and space-saving reasons. … Doctor Who is not unique in this respect, as thousands of hours of programming from across all genres were destroyed by the BBC until 1978, when the corporation's archiving policies were changed.

The role or responsibility of Apple (or any other corporation) in all of this certainly up for debate, however its hard to regard with enthusiasm those who make it more difficult, and certainly those looking to the long term and making things easier should be applauded.


Franz.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:31:48 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "The role or responsibility of Apple (or any other corporation) in all of this certainly up for debate, however its hard to regard with enthusiasm those who make it more difficult, and certainly those looking to the long term and making things easier should be applauded."

Let me be clear.

I know and understand the value of preservation. My point in the thread below was not to undermine the value of preservation.

We, at work, have to archive everything we do because we never when it could come back or when something can be reused. it is a responsibility that WE shoulder and I, personally, take on this responsibility. I archive things in the most modern formats available to me at the time. I will have an archive of completely dead projects once FCP7 really kicks the bucket. I will do my best to keep around a Mac that's old enough to run it, but it won't last forever.

Future proofing a digital archive is impossible, or nearly impossible.

Film had an excellent run. Right now, there is nothing that can compete with that archiving technology in both form and function and we will probably never see anything like it again.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:37:32 pm

Also, let's be clear on what happens when you open a Sorenson3 codec in OSX Mavericks.

Apple converts it to a more modern codec (h264 or ProRes).

So, in a way, Apple is preserving your archive for you.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:52:57 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "So, in a way, Apple is preserving your archive for you."

Jeremy,

I think it's more accurate to say they're trying to maintain a user-friendly interface (transcoding time aside): "preserving your archive" implies certain responsibilities that Apple is certainly not going to take on, and their development directions are not going to be considering "preserving your archive", except where that might coincide with consumer uses.

Franz.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 7:00:55 pm

Semantics, but yes, you're right. Apple is not preserving your archive for you, rather that are helping you to preserve (and update) your own archive.

Apple is doing their best to ensure that you will have a modern copy of the material, even if that material was created with some of the technology they are shedding from their code.


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Bill Davis
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 12:11:51 am

But it's not semantics. It's VIEWPOINT.

It's amazingly easy to look at a global hit like Dr. Who or Citizen Kane and argue that we must preserve all of everything because we don't know now what's going to be important.

But for every one of those, there are a thousand, nay, ten thousand television programs and movies that nobody much CARES about any more. Somewhere on a shelf in Hollywood is that show from ABC, or CBS that played for a season or two and then everybody quietly forgot about. A few steps below Karen or the Ghost and Mrs. Muir. They weren't lousy shows in any sense. Just not the kind of transformational major part of generational lives that each subsequent generation is delighted to re-discover and spend time with.

And compared to THOSE shows, where does your or my business video promoting the local auto repair shop fit in? Am I supposed to save all those work tapes on the odd chance of what? That someday somebody will want to do a documentary on Early Auto Repair Shops in Arizona. Really?

Looking at it singularly in the light of how we almost lost an episode of the Dr. Who canon - is as silly as thinking that because somebody hit the lottery last month, that it's the compelling reason I should play it next month.

Favorite once seen email sig: Lottery - a tax on people bad at math.

You can't make general policy based on exceptions. And hit shows with staying power ARE the exceptions.

Or maybe I just feel this way because I promised my wife that I'd go through the zillions of stored tapes I have and just toss the vast majority of them. Valuable property? Not so much, I'm coming to understand.

My 2 cents.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 2:18:42 am

[Bill Davis] "Just not the kind of transformational major part of generational lives that each subsequent generation is delighted to re-discover and spend time with. "

How do we know that already? I'm not sure we have the distance.

There are cultural clues in all recorded media, digital, analog, mechanical, or stone.

A single picture gives multitudes of information. The actual message of the spot or television show may matter, but most likely it won't, and by the vast amount of time humans and ancestors have been on this earth, we are in the very beginnings of recorded history.

Those Arizona auto repair shop spots will give names, inferred dates, locations, language patterns, advertising (mass communication), it will show that at some point the shop owners needed to say something. What were they saying? How did they say it? Why

Look at the information that can be gained from a single fossil, or millennia old
skeleton.

I have freinds that are desperately trying to save, record, and document native tongue languages of dying American Indian elders in the Pacific Northwest. He would LOVE to hear how a young man, or young woman, sounded back when the language was still thriving. How a conversation sounded, or perhaps, if it existed, an ad for a local business.

History is not about selling you the tune up, it's about how they said it, where, and why society needed that tune up in that particular time.

500 years from now, imagine watching this:







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David Lawrence
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 6:33:58 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "History is not about selling you the tune up, it's about how they said it, where, and why society needed that tune up in that particular time. "

Exactly right. Context is everything. What might seem worthless today may be priceless tomorrow. Here's another great example of how history was almost lost:

The Day My Grandfather Groucho and I Saved ‘You Bet Your Life’

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
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facebook.com/dlawrence
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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 4:42:46 pm

[David Lawrence] "The Day My Grandfather Groucho and I Saved ‘You Bet Your Life’"

Nice one!

To add to that, I just watched a doc called "A Band Called Death".

Quite literally, a hipster revival of undiscovered master tapes: http://vimeo.com/61314466#


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Bill Davis
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 6:25:46 pm

OK guys.

Just now please tell me where to box up and send the 300 2-hour DVCAM tapes I don't want to store any longer?

Or am I required to "preserve" them for the rest of my life and then pass that job on with my estate?

Just want to know the rules.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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David Lawrence
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 21, 2013 at 7:27:59 am

[Jeremy Garchow] "To add to that, I just watched a doc called "A Band Called Death"."

Sweet! Awesome trailer and I've heard the film is great. Definitely on my list!

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
publicmattersgroup.com
facebook.com/dlawrence
twitter.com/dhl
vimeo.com/dlawrence/albums


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Richard Herd
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 5:34:03 pm

[Bill Davis] "Somewhere on a shelf in Hollywood is that show from ABC, or CBS that played for a season or two and then everybody quietly forgot about. "

I may be alone in my fond memories of "Joanie Loves Chachi."


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Dave Gage
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 20, 2013 at 8:07:18 pm

[Richard Herd] "
I may be alone in my fond memories of "Joanie Loves Chachi.""


Maybe. But, how about "Doctor, Doctor" with Matt Frewer?


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Clint Wardlow
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:38:45 pm

This is the artistic (if not anthropological) issue of the video and digital age.

Part of the problem is, often the value of something is not appreciated at the time of creation.

A prime example is the recently discovered photographs of Vivian Maier. She took thousands of large format photos during the 50s and 60s. She did nothing with them (many of her closest friends were unaware she was doing so). It took a chance discovery of her boxes of negatives and many rolls of undeveloped film after her death before anyone discovered how amazing these photos were. Would such a thing been possible with outdated digital files?

In a digital age where such art vanishes into unreadable files, these kind of windows into the past or discovery of heretofor unappreciated art becomes more difficult. It is kind of ironic that in an age where creating art or even just documenting our day-to-day lives has become easy on an almost surreal level, that a surviving record for future generations may evaporate in a mist of ever-changing technology.


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David Lawrence
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 18, 2013 at 6:40:32 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "The role or responsibility of Apple (or any other corporation) in all of this certainly up for debate, however its hard to regard with enthusiasm those who make it more difficult, and certainly those looking to the long term and making things easier should be applauded."

100% agreed. Excellent post, Franz. Thank you.

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
publicmattersgroup.com
facebook.com/dlawrence
twitter.com/dhl
vimeo.com/dlawrence/albums


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T. Payton
Re: The Fallacy of Temporary Value
on Nov 19, 2013 at 3:44:26 pm

An excellent reminder about preservation, especial in light of this article also http://library.creativecow.net/weissman_ken/library_of_congress/1

Coincidently, after reading that above article yesterday. I was speaking with my sons (7 to 17) about the fact that most likely in their generation many of the photos and videos from this digital media boom, will be gone. This summer I gave a lecture on photography to some students and urged them to get prints of the photos they take on their phones, and post on Instagram, Facebook, etc. Because those social media services, as well as their phones will soon be gone, erasing those memories forever.

Unlike my own childhood which was captured on 35mm slides, prints, and 8mm film, the "home movies" of my family were only created and shared in digital form and most of those were saved on formats that are long since extinct. For example on Retrospect archives on DAT tapes with SCSI interface. I had better move quickly to copy those to something that is hopefully longer lasting. It makes me hope that DVDs and BluRay survives a bit longer.

------
T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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