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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Bring Back VHS and Film, Please

Nothing lasts forever, but it's great to have analog technology and film because at least it lasts a lifetime. 
DVD's are alright... they're wafer-thin, easy to scratch and break, or sometimes they'll just become unplayable for no reason though, so if you love photography or watching films or listening to music, more permanent technologies are the better way to go. It's better quality and as long as you take care of it properly, you could be a senior citizen and still make prints from your old negatives, or load up a film projector with the super 8 films you made as a kid. DVD's (and Blu-rays) are lucky to make it to the 25-year-mark, even though they're really good to have for digital file storage.
Unfortunately people are preoccupied with the wave of the future, so they laugh at physical items. Why read a paperback when you could read an e-book? Why make a film on 35mm when you can make it in fully digital HD? Why not just burn all the film projectors and vinyl records and VCRs and desktop computers and print books, make it all obsolete and let go of the past? 
Because digital technology, though convenient, is the most unstable thing to rely on. It's just binary data, and any of it, whether it's the latest HD video or MP3 file or video game or photo, could all be wiped out instantly without warning, by a number of different things. Servers can break down at any time, computers can crash, DVD's can snap, or to get more extreme, any natural or man-made disaster could make all our digital files and internet disappear, maybe for a few days or maybe forever. It's completely unpredictable and although digital technology is convenient and not necessarily bad, to rely on it for anything important is just crazy. 
Suppose that in the future, society relies solely on digital technology - they dump cathode-ray-tube televisions, film photography and video, traditional telephones, vinyl records, VHS tapes, film projectors, film cameras, print books and paper, for Netflix, online audio streaming, Kindle e-readers, cellular phones, LCD's and tablets. And suppose that around that time, a war starts between several countries and nuclear bombs are dropped. The electromagnetic pulse and exposure to massive amounts of radiation would make all that digital technology either useless or non-existent. Even DVD's would be useless. But physical films, on acetate, celluloid and polyester, and paper books and records, would be able to be salvaged, especially if they were kept in storage, and a film projector wouldn't be very difficult to build.There's a good reason why entirely digital movies like Spirited Away, Avatar and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, are transferred to film negatives and kept in storage to be archived.

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