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Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by edesignuk, Dec 1, 2008.
Not my thing at all, but thought some video editing peeps might find it interesting.
Interesting, though nothing more than speculation is offered as proof of the claim that technological change equals job loss.
The question is, if there are employment cuts in post-production, can the cause for this be traced back to technological change or to some other cause?
To take network television as an example, lay-offs there usually result from economic downturn, not quantum leaps in the technological base. Most people working in broadcast production and post-production are multi-skilled and highly adaptable. To take an historical example, when one-inch reel-to-reel was replaced by cassette-based tape machines, you didn't find one generation of studio engineers, maintenance staff, and editors on the dole queue with a new generation of technologically savvy individuals taking their place at the networks. As NLEs have gradually replaced linear online suites, staff have migrated from one to the other: there's always a transition period, and the creative ability of editors is valued as much as their button-pressing skills.
Seeing as the bread and butter work in post comes from short form editing (commercial advertisements) and the fortunes of television networks largely based on advertising revenues, the present economic doom and gloom strikes me as a much greater threat to employment - especially for freelancers - than the drive for tapeless systems.
Yeah, I'm really not seeing the point of that article. Going tapeless makes things more complicated, not less complicated. And, in the end, the best way to archive file-based media is by using data tape. Creating an ever expanding, and mirrored, server to permanently house all your media isn't really viable.
Lethal, I don't know.
Hard drives are dirt cheap and RAID boxes are not that expensive also. Tapeless promotes a much quicker workflow.
I worked on a weekly TV once where we generated nearly 20TB of media a week. After each show was laid off to tape we nuked the Untiy and started fresh for the next show (at the time a 40TB Unity was the max and we ran it mirrored). Mirroring 20TB of data a week on servers for archiving purposes is much more expensive, time consuming and complicated than just putting a tape (or in our case an XDCAM HD disc) on a shelf. Harddrives aren't ideal for archiving because they should be spun up periodically to keep them working properly, but of course every time you use the drive you risk mechanical failure. IT departments backup their servers to data tape for a reason.
A growing bug-a-boo w/tapeless is how many different formats and codecs there are and how quickly they can change. Mixing and matching all these resolutions, frame rates, and codecs in a single timeline or project can get messy quickly so you end up transcoding everything into a single codec and format at the beginning of the project (either w/software like Compressor or w/hardware like a Kona or BM card). This process takes time and eats into the benefits of going tapeless (speed and small file sizes).
Keeping media managed versions of finished projects in an on-line, or near-line, status can be beneficial if the project gets revisited on a regular basis, but keeping every single piece of footage you work with on-line or near-line isn't a very pragmatic approach unless you are a smaller operation that doesn't utilize very much media. For example, companies that only work on commercials would obviously have much smaller storage requirements than companies that work on TV shows or feature films.
This goes back to my point about not agreeing w/what the article is saying. Tapeless acquisition isn't really getting rid of the amount of prep and media management that has to be done. It's just shifting some work from the front-end to the back-end and in some cases actually adding more work.
I agree with Lethal.
The shows that I work on couldn't possibly keep all of their media online. We have to digitize our tapes at 15:1s for the offline and we still fill up our Unity spaces. It also comes down to a cost issue for the particular show. In an industry where renting just about everything is normal, buying a new Unity for every show/season/week is out of the question.
Um. I change my earlier stance. Tapes rock.
Lethal, Holy crap. 20 TB? A week? That's absolutely insane. I totally see and understand why you like tapes/physical media. Damn, I'm still in shock over 20TB a week. My eyes popped out when i read that next to week.
Personally I like Sony's approach w/XDCAM. Fast, non-linear file access on a disc you can pass off and eventually put on a shelf. When flash media comes way down in price I'll like it more, but right now having to dump the cards to disk, verify the data (both a master and a back-up), nuke the cards then send them back out has too many potential points of failure for my liking. I know it can work, but I have a knack of fixating on how things can fail.
That's reality TV for ya. A dozen or so cameras running 20-24hrs a day adds up fast. I worked on another reality show that was a 9 or 10 day shoot and we had 2500 hours of footage. Took us nearly a month to digitize it all in. I used to be the vault manager at a post facility (I organized and kept track of all of their media assets) and the database grew from about 11,000 to 15,000 assets in the 18 months or so I was there. I'd say it's probably around 25,000 assets now.
bigbossbmb brings up a good point w/regards to costs and the fact that production companies own a little and rent a lot. Boxing up camera masters and putting them in cold storage is much cheaper than maintaining a server.