Well, yesterday’s post got me a bunch of email saying that it isn’t just video decaying on our shelves, it’s also film.
And that’s true – in fact, this year I’ve spent a fair amount of time cleaning and inspecting many reels of 16mm shot by our founder. Some of it is original masters of stuff he shot for TWA in its early days, and should belong to an archive someplace. Unfortunately, we’ve found out the hard way that film molds and decays, even if stored properly, and that especially early color film goes through color changes.
The other thing we found was that the equipment to play these historic treasures is becoming scarce, too – we get approached by people looking to do it all the time.
The moral: Do something NOW. If you are looking to preserve mag tape, you can buy yourself some time by dubbing them to clean tapes for now, analog to analog, as one reader points out – but even better, with the advent of cheap digitization software (which will even remove noise and color shifts from the masters) there’s just no excuse to let it die. And remember: Digital magnetic tape fades, too – it’s all still particles of rust. Get the content onto something optical.
With what is seemingly 8000 cable channels, internet streaming, and the ubiquitous YouTube, the world is going to need the content.