Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Media Archiving - Storage Space is Prime Real Estate

Thankfully, the fires did not join forces overnight and the "Magic" fire has been about 40% contained, which is great news.

Nero Should've Archived His Home Movies
Being faced with the possibility of losing belongings in a fire puts things into perspective and also raises a lot of questions. "What should I take?" is the first that comes to mind. Regardless of having items insured or not is besides the point, because media is not necessarily a monetary item, it's more of a document of record that, once destroyed, cannot be replaced. So...asking yourself what media is/isn't important enough to archive is a very important question. One that I think everyone - and not just us media buffs - should think about.

Where Do I Put It All?
I have a boat load of digital media that spans the last 10 years. Photos, radio and television archives, web and print archives, film school documents, event videography footage and files and believe it or not, it wasn't until now that I decided to consolidate them onto a central format for efficient storage and access. Most people would just spend the cash and archive on a hard drive, but being a DIY filmmaker, I need all the hard drive space I have for film footage. So, I opted to use the standard 4.7 GB DVD disc for archiving since they're inexpensive, durable and never crash.

While going through my old media, I discovered that I had a lot of neat stuff and some useless junk that I've accumulated over the years (some of which I'll share with you in later posts). I also learned that in order to archive your media efficiently, you really need to be firm about what makes it into the archive and what doesn't. Storage space is precious space.

Making the Band
When you archive and find yourself uncertain as to keeping or trashing something, there's always the "When was the last time I used this?" rationale. Or the "Will I need this in the next 2-5 years?" question. The process of archiving is done out of necessity...not out of desire.

Two good rules of thumb to archiving are as follows:

  1. use your storage space sparingly and archive only what you NEED
  2. DO NOT SACRIFICE YOUR PRECIOUS MEMORIES (in the end, that's all we have anyway - photos should be at the top of the archive list)

Now or Never

I suggest that if you haven't already done a complete, centralized archive of your utmost important media, that you should do so sooner rather than later. Something's gotta give. Don't let your work - or your life's memories - fall victim to unforeseen circumstances. Take the time to do it. I had about 10 years of media to properly archive and it's taken me almost a day and I'm halfway done.

Also, I've reduced my evacuation load from four plastic bins to two. ;)