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How Long to Archive Old Commercials?

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Landon Brands
How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 9:37:12 pm

Hello all,
This is my first post on the CreativeCOW forums. Thanks to the admins for maintaining this valuable resource.

I'm wondering if there is an accepted standard for how long the master tapes of old commercials should be kept in an archive at a professional production and post facility. Is there any sort of an industry guideline or legal precedent regarding how long these old master tapes should/must be kept, beyond the successful transfer of the deliverables to the client? (Since this question involves best business practices and not the technical details of the archive process, it seemed like a business question. Apologies if this is the wrong forum.)

Thanks!


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Todd Terry
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 10:09:55 pm

I don't know if there is any legal requirement, but we have the same issue... as broadcast commercials are 95% of what we produce.

We keep everything. Forever. And not just masters, but all the assets in creating them.

It's not everyday that we need something (or a piece of something) that is 5, 10, or 15 years old... but it does happen.

Ancient stuff here (late 90s) is archived on stacks of CDs. Things slightly newer than that, on data DVDs. A bit newer than that, on Blu-ray discs. And present-day stuff is all archived on hard drives. As for original acquisition, original camera tapes (from back in the tape days) are in storage, as are 16mm and 35mm original camera negatives.

Although I must say while we keep everything, sometimes finding it is a bit more challenging. I will freely admit we need a slightly better archival/library system.

I'll add that we do this because we generally (or at least more than half the time) also do the creative for our clients. For agency clients where we are just tasked with effecting their scripts and concepts, I don't feel quite so beholden to keep their stuff forever. But we do anyway.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 17, 2013 at 2:20:06 pm

Hey Todd -

Have you ever used Gentibus CD? It's a free cataloguing program which allows you to scan your CD and DVDs (even drives), and then be able to look at what's on your disks without ever putting them in a drive:

http://www.gentibus.com/

I used to use a program called Catfish, but development stopped with WinXP, so I had to jump ship to Gentibus CD. It seems to have all of the same features. It's a real time saver, and worth a donation to the developer.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 17, 2013 at 3:39:36 pm

You can use the archive as a selling point to clients:

"If you bring your project revision jobs HERE, we can do them faster and cheaper because we retain the old elements here and don't have to re-invent them".


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Todd Terry
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 17, 2013 at 4:53:54 pm

I have not, Joe... I'm not familiar with that, and will certainly check that out.

And yes Mark we not only use it as a selling point, but a line item as well... we always include an "archival fee" on projects. It's not much, I think it's $75, but more than covers the drive cost, so it's actually a slight money maker. Slight.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Nick Griffin
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 17, 2013 at 8:17:58 pm

I'm in the "forever" camp, too even though we do technical/industrials rather than commercial spots. Forever, but I am extremely thankful that with tech it's very seldom that anyone asks for anything very old. With ONE major exception.

We have a show that we shot and posted in early 2001 that keeps… coming… back… once or more a year, for additional DVDs.

Finally last year the client determined that a few scenes had to be replaced so we shot them in HD and down-sized and roughed up the footage so it would fit with the original SD show. The problem came when one of the graphics needed to be updated. I'd never seen this in AfterEffects before, but it was a dialog to that basically said "You cannot open this file with your current version you must go back to a version closer to the original." Great. We don't even have a machine that could run the AfterEffects that was in use 12 years ago. So I try to save and archive everything, but not the software (and machine) that created it.

To the original question, back in the days when large post houses ruled, many had a policy that they would hold materials in their temperature/humidity controlled storage area for a couple to a few years gratis, but after that you were requested to take it OR start paying a storage fee. One of the more memorable parts of removing anything from their care was the paperwork clearly spelling out that because you were removing the originals they therefore were absolved from everything and anything. They maintained written proof that you had taken the stuff and couldn't come back and blame them if you'd lost it. Then when they were going out of business a few years later the message to clients was to the effect, "you have XX days to retrieve your stuff or we will dumpster it."


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Mark Suszko
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 12:09:43 am

And if you ever want an old client that hasn't seen you in ages to call you up with a dub order and/or re-editing job, just dispose of his old masters and the phone WILL ring within 48 hours.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 1:02:33 am

I know I have a box of 3/4 inch raw footage from a project I did over 20 years ago, but even worse, I have a 2 inch master of a commercial I did years before that. And I know that neither of the clients is ever coming back - they're both long gone. So I guess it's safe to get rid of the stock - is anybody buying one pass 3/4 inch tape these days? :>)

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Todd Terry
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 4:42:44 am

[Joseph W. Bourke] " is anybody buying one pass 3/4 inch tape these days?"

Hey Joe if you find a someone who wants it, lemme know! We have unopened cases of unused virgin BetaSP stock just taking up valuable studio shelf real estate on our stage... a fair bit of DVcam, too.

I keep saying "We'll use this someday..." although I can't remember the last time the Beta racks were even turned on, and no one has requested a physical dub (let alone NTSC) in just years now.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Landon Brands
Re: How Long to Archive Old Commercials?
on Jul 18, 2013 at 2:10:55 pm

Thanks all!

http://landonbrands.com


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