The Sony tape shortage, which was a result of the devastating tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year, brought the ‘the status of tape’ into the limelight. Luckily, here in Acton in west London we had tape aplenty. But that was not the case for many companies. So here at JCA we decided to carry out a survey to find out how it affected the UK production industry. The crisis forced many production companies to review their distribution methods, and the study revealed that there was a great deal of concern surrounding the tape shortage. How can we get hold of tape? Are there other alternatives? Should we think about digital distribution methods? These questions were suddenly at the forefront of people’s minds.
We discovered that although the production industry still uses tape, there is an increasing demand for digital alternatives. Obviously there are technical obstacles to overcome when migrating distribution to digital methods, but this does not need to be a scary prospect. At the ERA event in July, we announced that we have adopted the LT05/LTFS format combination, as a contribution to an industry-wide campaign to standardise data archive tape formats.
As more and more companies shift to ‘file workflows’, we wanted to find a common file based distribution medium to make our clients’ lives easier and cheaper. After all, clients come to us to take care of the technicalities, so they can focus on the distribution. Our survey found that 50% of respondents do not yet employ digital distribution methods. However, if we can standardise data archive tape formatting, it will certainly be an even more attractive option for companies. The benefits of digital delivery methods are obvious. In terms of archiving, transportation and cost, the advantages are big, and can seriously transform the way a company functions.
Currently we are in transition. Yes, digital is the future, but historic formats may never be obsolete. They are often irreplaceable, and there is nothing more rewarding than discovering a reel of film or an old format video tape, digitising it, restoring it, and delivering it in high definition, better than ever before. At JCA we pride ourselves on bridging the gap betweenmedias’ legacy formats and digital’s exciting commercial opportunities.
Matt Bowman, Commercial Director – JCA