The Digital Dilemma 2: A Wake Up Call for Independent Filmmakers
The Academy of Motion Pictures and Science recently published The Digital Dilemma 2, a follow-up to the 2007 report The Digital Dilemma that was focusing on ‘the longevity of digital motion picture materials created by the major Hollywood studios’.
Its sequel looks this time closely at the intricate world of independent filmmakers, documentarians and non-profit audiovisual archives.
David S. Cohen wrote a great piece about the report in Variety, that caught my attention. Here is what it says:
“In short, digital storage, be it on hard drives, DVDs or solid-state memory, simply isn’t on a par for anything close to the 100-plus-year lifespan of film. The life of digital media is measured in years, not decades, and file formats can go obsolete in months, not years.”
The report even suggests that some movies shot digitally might be unusable by the time they secure distribution, which sounds like a filmmaker’s biggest nightmare to me.
Milt Shefter and Andy Maltz, the co-writers of the report, also explained that:
“Most of the filmmakers surveyed and interviewed for this report were not aware of the perishable nature of digital content or how short its unmanaged lifespan is compared to the 95-plus years that U.S. copyright laws allow filmmakers to benefit from their work.“
Luckily, and thanks to the Academy, you can download the report here for free and read it to get a better understanding of the choices you might/will have to face once your movie or documentary will be on 6 hard drives, waiting for distribution.