Get Adobe Flash player
All aboard the XDCam recycling service by Raymond Burns H ow returning reality and factual series like 12 Yard’s Coach Trip can benefit from a nifty archiving solution that is more reliable than a hard drive and cheaper than a box of XDCam archive discs For many television producers, archiving content is a fairly simple process. It generally goes something like this: 1) Pick up tape/disc/hard-drive. 2) Extend arm across to wall area. 3) Put tape/disc/hard- drive on shelf. 4) Retract arm. 5) Rinse and repeat. And that’s about it. Some people might add labels and go as far as adopting a cataloguing system (chronological, by genre, alphabetical, autobiographical etc) but, for many, archiving content is simply a matter of making sure that footage is within arms reach should it ever be needed again. In this day and age with exploitation of archive footage all the rage this seems a bit of a waste. It can work out to be quite an expensive way of archiving too, especially if the producer happens to use the same media for archiving as he or she does for production. It is the latter scenario that broadcast equipment hire company HotCam recently came up with an alternative for, specifically for users of XDCam. “Until now, producers with returning series have been very apprehensive about wiping their discs for fear of losing the footage forever,” says HotCam’s managing director Trevor Hotz. 78 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE “As a result, many have just kept their old discs on a shelf as an archive and replaced them with hundreds of brand new XDCam discs each time they go to make a new series. This can work out pretty expensive.” Hotz argues that if a producer is making a long running or returning series it is far more cost-effective to transfer the footage to ‘something else’ and then wipe and re-use the XDCam disks. This ‘something else’ could be a consumer hard-drive, he acknowledges, but they are far from reliable. His solution is called The Mobile Transfer System (MTS), a roll-on-roll-off rig developed in-house at HotCam that uses Sony’s new PDW-U2 drives. “It works by transferring up to twenty-eight full 50GB XDCam disks onto a single LTO ‘super tape’,” explains Hotz. “That single LTO tape then becomes a more reliable archive for the rushes than a hard drive would be, for example, and will take up a faction of the space of the XDCam discs would when storing the footage. It’s quick too, transferring as many as 40 50GB XDCam discs per day.” The argument against using Hard Drives is an interesting one. Although there are very few published studies on failure characteristics of disk drives, it is widely considered that the magnetic properties of a hard disk will diminish in the very long term. At the very least they can be affected by environmental factors such as strong magnetic fields and, most importantly, through lack of use. Basically if you don’t turn on your hard drive regularly there’s a good chance it won’t turn on again at all. As a long-term storage medium that