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Archival concern about ProRes

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Eben Shapiro
Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:08:20 am

Hi All,

I was wondering if there is a non-proprietary codec that I could transcode ProRes 422 to without losing any information. The archivist where I work says ProRes 422 isn't archival because you need final cut to play it.

Thank you,

Eben


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:24:10 am

Let me say it politely: Your archivist is wrong.

mark



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Shane Ross
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:25:39 am

If you have Quicktime 7.6...you can play ProRes. PC, MAC...no FCP required.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Eben Shapiro
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:50:33 am

Hi Mark and Shane,

I have to confess, it's not just the archivist. I have some concerns about leaving them in this codec too. I'm imagining fifty years from now where the unknowable is painted in by my fears. What if Apple drops support for ProRes in the distant future and neither Final Cut or Quicktime can play them?

Thank you,

Eben


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Zane Barker
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:30:03 am

[Eben Shapiro] "What if Apple drops support for ProRes in the distant future and neither Final Cut or Quicktime can play them? "

Then my guess is that at that point you wont be able to use ANY codec available today. Yes things change, its part of life. So choose the best option available at the time and move forward, and right now that best option is ProRes. If at some point in the further it looks like support will be discontinued then convert to a newer codec at that time.

Because face it you cannot archive now in a codec of the future. You can only use the best option available currently and like I said that currently ProRes.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:35:43 am

Dude...

YOU won't be around in fifty years either!

Any archivist will tell you that a true long
term plan REQUIRES media migration as
technology changes. Unless you go out
to film ... and b & w color separations, there's
no safe, tried and true method. Tape degrades.
Magnetic fields fade. Formats become obsolete.

That's life.

Mark



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Zane Barker
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:40:41 am

[Mark Raudonis] "Unless you go out to film"

In 50 years the only place you will be able to watch a movie on film will be in a museum.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:03:53 am

True, but we're talking about archiving, not displaying.

mark



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Zane Barker
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:06:41 am

[Mark Raudonis] "True, but we're talking about archiving, not displaying"

Well if you cant display it then whats the point of archiving.

My point is even arcing to film is not going to ensure that you can use it in 50 years.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Shane Ross
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:11:26 am

Just as an FYI, the Library of Congress archives EVERYTHING onto film. Every video they want to archive is archived on film. And, they have literally EVERY kind of deck you can imagine there. Multiple decks, to ensure they can play this all back.

This was on an episode of Modern Marvels..

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Zane Barker
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:14:46 am

[Shane Ross] "Just as an FYI, the Library of Congress archives EVERYTHING onto film. Every video they want to archive is archived on film. And, they have literally EVERY kind of deck you can imagine there. Multiple decks, to ensure they can play this all back."

Perfect from now on I will only be doing work for the library of congress.

**Hindsight is always 1080p**


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:26:19 am

Reminds me of this April fools joke from NPR:


http://www.npr.org/templates/text/s.php?sId=1216161&m=1


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 6:10:22 am

[Eben Shapiro] " I'm imagining fifty years from now where the unknowable is painted in by my fears."

It's time for a vacation.


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Eben Shapiro
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:54:03 pm

That's what I get for being melodramatic.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 8:34:10 am

[Eben Shapiro] "I was wondering if there is a non-proprietary codec that I could transcode ProRes 422 to without losing any information. The archivist where I work says ProRes 422 isn't archival because you need final cut to play it."

I am sympathetic to this concern in theory, but in practice, I agree with the others -- use the most sensible option today, and maintain it in the future as conditions change.

I'd be very curious to hear what your archivist suggests using. DPX sequences? JPEG2000? What kind of storage?

As an aside, the LoC system Shane was referring to was also covered in Creative COW Magazine:
http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/the-library-of-congress-unlocks-the...

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Wayne Marx
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:25:16 am

We archive everything to Unobtanium Holographic Reels.

Works great.

W


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Paul Jay
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:35:29 pm

Zip and RAR are great for archiving too :P


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Eben Shapiro
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 3:11:22 pm

Hi Walter,

The archivist doesn't have any suggestions about this. He just has a knee-jerk reaction whenever I say 'proprietary' or mention Niagara Falls. There was a report done by the Dance Heritage Coalition where they concluded that JPEG2000 is best because it uses lossless compression. Do you think I should go with this?

Thank you,

Eben


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 4:31:28 pm

[Eben Shapiro] "There was a report done by the Dance Heritage Coalition where they concluded that JPEG2000 is best because it uses lossless compression."

Not to say that JPEG 2000 isn't a good codec, but I'd feel a little more confident about that report if it had been issued by an organization like SMPTE.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter Soyka
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 28, 2011 at 5:35:22 pm

[Eben Shapiro] "The archivist doesn't have any suggestions about this."

I don't mean to be snarky, but isn't that his job?


[Eben Shapiro] "There was a report done by the Dance Heritage Coalition where they concluded that JPEG2000 is best because it uses lossless compression."

There are a lot of very good reasons to consider JPEG2000. It's an ISO standard. It supports several color spaces, loads of metadata, alpha channels, lossy or lossless wavelet compression, and progressive decoding (if the viewer receives less than the full data stream, they can still see the entire image, but at reduced resolution).

This does not necessarily solve the problems of what container (Quicktime? Image sequence? Motion JPEG 2000?) or physical storage system to use.


[Eben Shapiro] "Do you think I should go with this?"

I don't think you'll really get much benefit from you archive unless you design (or purchase) an entire archival system. How will you store the media? How will you verify it? How will you catalogue it? How will you search it? How will you view it?


Cliff notes version: JPEG2000 rocks, but a practical archival implementation requires some serious infrastructure.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Eben Shapiro
Re: Archival concern about ProRes
on Jan 29, 2011 at 3:12:58 am

Hi Walter,

Thank you for your response. I'm tempted to talk about video archival infrastructure but I don't want to go beyond the scope of my question. In this particular instance I think I'll keep the prores and make a JPEG2000 copy for safe keeping.

Thank you once again for your help,

Eben


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