As Digital Cinema Designer /  Editor and recently turned colorist, I have been observing industry from year 2000 from my first film as an Asst Editor for Tamil film Gummalam, the evolution of Film from Negative to Digital Editing to Digital Color Correction to Digital Exhibition to Digital Acquisition in the right order.

Those days when films are telecined for digital video editing and back to Cut List for splicing negative to scanning to Digital Grading, Films are always back to Negative which is mother of all film prints and when Digital Exhibition came the process of exporting digital grades move to file based, instead of going back to Negatives and thus the beginning of not back to Non-Negative storage begins. What it leads to is there is no physical form a film, which was there for 120 years or more. Storing of Film Negatives and maintaining it is an another long story which involves money and more than 95% of Film Labs in India or closed and most Labs sent out notices to producers to take their Negatives from their Labs since they are closing it down but except very few none taken it down and even if taken it down not maintained properly.

With the advent of Digital Exhibition & Digital Camera based Acquisition the Negative loose their existence, which leads to digital storage of feature films as DPX frames stored in Hard Disk and this is only possible method of storing final film outputs from Color Correction stage.

But the real problem with storing final film outputs in Hard disks are, you never know when the harddisk can fail because of physical damage or because of non use of Harddisk which also leads to failure of Hard disk (that means if you are not using an Hard disk for more than 2 or more years it can fail).

Read 6 Worst Reasons of Hard Disk Failure and Data Recovery Solutions for more info.

Then came the multiple backups of data in two or more Hard disk storages but this too can leads to failure of above mentioned reason.

Whats the solution?

Solutions practised worldwide not just for Feature films and for all financial & non-financial important datas  are being archived back to LTO Tapes which are supposed to be retrievable upto 30 or more years if we keep the tape drive along with tapes and computer and is accessories in safe and secure place. The main reason for keeping the LTO Tape Drives along with this is if you are moving for archiving for more 18months or so is, LTO Tapes are evolving and upgrading their storage in capacity from LTO-1 which can store upto 100GB to LTO-7 Tape which now can store upto 6TB uncompressed. Given below evolution of LTO Tapes…

LTO Tape

LTO Tape







LTO Tape Storage Capacity

LTO Tape Storage Capacity






LINEAR TAPE OPEN: (Via Wikipedia)

Linear Tape-Open (LTO) is a magnetic tape data storage technology originally developed in the late 1990s as an open standards alternative to the proprietary magnetic tape formats that were available at the time. Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Quantum control the LTO Consortium, which directs development and manages licensing and certification of media and mechanism manufacturers. The standard form-factor of LTO technology goes by the name Ultrium, the original version of which was released in 2000 and can hold 100 GB of data in a cartridge. The seventh generation of LTO Ultrium was released in 2015 and can hold 6.0 TB in a cartridge of the same size. Upon introduction, LTO Ultrium rapidly defined the super tape market segment and has consistently been the best-selling super tape format. LTO is widely used with small and large computer systems, especially for backup.


Then came Solid State Drive based storages which are used primarily for faster Read/Write access to data, since it doesn’t have Physical moving disk, prone to failure is less. SSD got new challenges for data recovery, since it stores data in non-linear and much more complex than existing hard disk drive methods. TRIM command allows an operating system to inform a solid-state drive (SSD) which blocks of data are no longer considered in use and can be wiped internally varies with each operating system.Data integrity of SSDs are relied upon capacitor or some form of battery when power is lost or you disconnect SSD externally or power of your system if fixed internally and it needs to hold power long enough to maintain data in the cache until power is resumed. Most consumer-class SSDs do not have built-in batteries or capacitors.

Reliability of SSDs are not 100% for one simple reason the technology is evolving every day.


Solid State Drive: (Via Wikipedia)

A solid-state drive (SSD, also known as a solid-state disk although it contains neither an actual disk nor a drive motor to spin a disk) is a solid-state storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. SSD technology primarily uses electronic interfaces compatible with traditional block input/output (I/O) hard disk drives, which permit simple replacements in common applications. Additionally, new I/O interfaces, like SATA Express, have been designed to address specific requirements of the SSD technology. SSDs have no moving mechanical components. This distinguishes them from traditionalelectromechanical magnetic disks such as hard disk drives (HDDs) or floppy disks, which contain spinning disks and movable read/write heads. Compared with electromechanical disks, SSDs are typically more resistant to physical shock, run silently, have lower access time, and lower latency.However, while the price of SSDs has continued to decline over time,[7] consumer-grade SSDs are (as of 2016) still roughly four times more expensive per unit of storage than consumer-grade HDDs.



Other option is to keep your data in Cloud storage which are cheaper day by day but it involves multiple pricing. Certain company like Google Drive or Apple iCloud charge Storage per GB per year, whereas companies like Amazon charge for Storage as well as for bandwidth usage charges for uploading and downloading of data.

Google Drive Pricing

Google Drive Pricing






Apple iCloud Pricing

Apple iCloud Pricing






Amazon S3 Pricing

Amazon S3 Pricing

So finally it all depends on how  you are going to store your digital data of feature films depends purely based on your budget and how long you want to store. But definitely Hard disk based storage alone is not an ideal solution.

As Digital Cinema Designer we are archiving to LTO-5 / LTO-6 / LTO-7 tapes the following films which we worked till date.

Nenokkadine | Madras | O Kadhal Kanmani | Varutha Padatha Valibar Sangam
Ithu Kathirvelan Kadhal | On A Quest | Nanbenda | Rajni Murugan 
Ithu Namma Aalu | Pasanga 2 | Lingaa | Brahmotsavam | Kathakali 
Kumari 21F | Orange Mittai | DAVID

And we are also in process of moving to Solid State Drive & Cloud Storage Archiving in coming days.

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