I picked 50:1 to be extra generous. Doc work can easily go that high. But I'm allowing for the Rodriguez style of "let the camera roll; tape is cheap" dramatic filmmaking, which is sure to happen when you're using disk media.
Speaking as an editor, I'd sure like it if my clients (most of whom use digital acquisition of one kind or another) adhered to those planning techniques. I usually get boxes and boxes of tape, all of which has to be viewed and sorted. The project I'm working on now has over 200 hours of source media on the drives. Fortunately, most of it is logged.
That said, Red allows you to do things you would've looked twice at before, like shooting the full scene from all the angles, and not aborting to save stock. Or trying a new camera technique knowing you can delete the take if it's bogus. And many image control options.
But it would be nice not to have to sort through all that media.
Large amounts of source material is where camera liketh XDCAM-HD shine because of the disk based file system. You can immediately see icons of your clips and delete unwanted ones. There is even software for your laptop to allow clip sorting, logging, and meta tagging on location.
If RED can eventually have this capability it will make life so much easier and and also cut into Sony's advantages with XDCAM.
Sorting though source material is drudgery. Now that video is file-based, technology can help ease the pain so you can put your time and money on the creative.
Example: The LTO-4 (which costs rather less than 5000 USD) will store 800GB uncompressed per cartridge, and transfers 120MB/s. A 20-pack will cost around 2700USD, for a storage cost of 17 cents(US) per gigabyte.
The 16 TB storage (drive+1 pack tapes) is a bit over 7000 dollars. Compare this to the cost of 80 400GB SATA-drives you need for RAID-1 with lower reliability, and the cost of convenience is not negligible after all.
You can reduce the number of drives by using RAID-5, but with lower reliability and the risk that you will be locked in to a specific controller or software.
I use SATA disks for my home videos (and other personal stuff), but then I copy important stuff to other media. Even so, I am tempted to get a used tape drive even for home use. For work there is no alternative to tape backup.
I thought I'd break it down (because that's the kind of mind I have):
Tape: total backup time 30 hours for about 10 GB. You must be there to change tapes every hour or so. Cost $4K (one-time) for the drive. $1600 for media. Remount: 30 hours, attended. So you gotta add the cost of a tape monkey for every show. Or buy a robot ($$$$$).
Disk: Total backup time 37 hours. Can be set up to run completely unattended. Cost $3245 for firewire 800 drives, or $2400 for raw drives plus maybe $600 (one-time) for enclosures. Remount: instant for firewire, maybe a half hour for raw drives.
Disk may require double backup or RAID 5 parity storage which increase the cost by 100% or 50% respectively. But the price of HDD storage is dropping according to Moore's law, and will drop below tape in a year or so.
Both methods seem to have a shelf life of 3-5 years according to people's experience (including mine; I've had more DLTs go squirrely than HDDs). So both would require rearchiving every 3 years or so.
Seems like about six of one and half a dozen of the other, both cost-wise and reliability-wise, but HDDs are a lot easier.
I think making tape archives make sense for an organisation where the information is rarely restored. These days I seem to be creating mountains of video and graphics data and I need to have instant access to that data for at least a couple of years, or more. Now in three years time do I archive that on tape or simply quadruple my online storage at minimal cost?
I think disc/file systems will be getting a lot smarter (ZFS?) allowing for relatively risk-free 'on-line all-the-time'. Tape's days are numbered.
I think we have three tiers of data access:
1) projects currently in the pipeline, probably want those on fast raid's or nas/san solutions with a high-speed network
2) completed or on hold projects you might want to keep online for a while. These could be moved to a larger but slower access system, probably still disk based though
3) you should also have a backup system in place for long-term storage and backup of the previous two tiers
When talking tapes I was a) responding to your comment that they don't cut it and b) I was thinking about tier 3.
I never said they were in-expensive or did not require maintenance (which any long-term archival solution needs!!!). The only thing I said is that it works and has been proven to be reliable (through various means).
Depending on what amount of data you need to store and how reliable you want that to be you'll pay a certain amount for a tape system. This can be as low as couple of hundred bucks for a DAT based system in a DELL PowerEdge server or go all the way up to hundred of thousands of dollars for a tape robot.
My main point is that you should not discard what has been proven to work just like that. Managing stacks of hard disks has its own problems.
However, personally I would probably be inclined to store it on both drives & tape to reduce the risk of either one failing. Of course the tape will be restored (like a verified copy to a hard drive) to verify it has been properly written.
In both cases you will need to check / maintain your archive to make sure everything still works and is sufficiently backed up.
You can create some pretty neat backup systems that automatically copy data from one tier to another (access getting slower and slower) to facilitate multiple backups.
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