The hidden costs of digital

The Afterlife Is Expensive for Digital Movies in the NY TImes, citing an AMPAS report, says the cost of storing a film master print is $1,059/year while storing a digital master costs $12,514/year. Add in all the ancillaries - raw footage, scripts, stills, audio - and the price increases $486/year for film but adds $208,000/year for digital.

Digital data needs to be continually migrated to new media, and converted to new formats to prevent obsolescence.

The risk in the film industry is the loss of work primarily from small and independent producers who cannot afford storage and migration.

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Hacking DX encoding

My main shooter for a while was a Pentax P3n, a mass-market plasticky 35mm camera. It was light and easy to use, but it set ISO from the DX encoding on the 35mm cartridge. There was no way to override, which was a bit of a problem because I usually shoot Tri-X at 800 or 1000. I ended up shooting in manual using a handheld meter.

I was cleaning out some old magazines and found an article in the 1993 Camera & Darkroom about how to hack DX encoding by exposing or covering up some of the squares which make it up. Here is the key chart. An X indicates a covered or non-conductive spot, no X indicates bare metal.

Expose squares by carefully removing the paint - the article suggests using "a dull jackknife blade so as not to scratch the bare metal underneath." Cover exposed squares using stickers or tape.

An example: To trick your camera into thinking Tri-X is ISO 1600, scrape the paint off position 3.

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Categories: Notes   /