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DIGITAL DILEMMA SURVEY RESULTS

by
in Filmmaking, Post-Production
on Oct 30, 2009

In September we put up a survey on our site that aimed at getting input from filmmakers about some of the issues that impact the making and preservation of their films.

Below are the results of the survey. These stats have been passed on to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their final report which they will be publishing sometime next year.

The only results that aren’t posted below are the ones where a written answer was required.

And for those who aren’t familiar, read the story that inspired this survey.

Thanks to those who participated.

Please check all boxes that apply to you
Director – 72 (77%)
Producer – 64 (69%)
Production company owner – 28 (30%)
Production company executive – 5 (5%)
Executive producer – 13 (14%)
Writer – 51 (55%)
Editor – 44 (47%)
Cinematographer – 37 (40%)
Post-Production supervisor – 19 (20%)
Other – 9 (10%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Do you work principally in
Theatrical features – 41 (46%)
Documentaries – 24 (27%)
Other – 25 (28%)

Are your projects photographed principally in
35mm – 11 (12%)
16mm – 12 (13%)
Digitally – 71 (76%)
Hybrid (mix of film and digital) – 15 (16%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Does the choice of post-production processes influence your image capture decision?
Yes – 56
No – 36

How are your projects edited?
Final Cut Pro – 75 (83%)
Avid – 24 (27%)
Other – 15 (17%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

How are your projects finished?
Digital intermediate finish – 37 (42%)
Tape to tape color-graded – 16 (18%)
Filmed-out and release printed on film – 13 (15%)
Cut negative and answer print – 9 (10%)
Electronic finish only – 54 (61%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Do you have created content stored on different formats? If so, which formats?
Film – 47 (52%)
Digital Betacam – 45 (50%)
1″ Videotape – 11 (12%)
HD Cam (or HD Cam SR) – 48 (53%)
VHS Videotape – 25 (28%)
D5 – 13 (14%)
3/4″ U-Matic – 12 (13%)
DVD – 64 (71%)
Beta SP – 38 (42%)
Hard Drive – 73 (81%)
Other – 18 (20%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Do you transfer your older elements to newer formats in order to preserve them?
I haven’t given much thought to updating formats. – 21 (23%)
I have thought about it, but can’t afford it. – 19 (21%)
I have thought about it and plan to do it someday. – 17 (19%)
I have done some transfers to update storage formats. – 23 (26%)
I make a point of updating all of my masters when possible. – 7 (8%)
Other – 3 (3%)

In what type of environment are your final, edited masters stored?
Temperature and humidity controlled – 14 (16%)
Temperature controlled, but not humidity controlled – 13 (15%)
Some climate control – 29 (33%)
No climate control – 33 (38%)
Don’t know – 8 (9%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Do you give much thought to how your works might be preserved for the long term (20 years plus) once they are finished?
Never – 16 (18%)
Sometimes – 48 (53%)
Often – 16 (18%)
Always – 11 (12%)

How about shorter-term access (up to 20 years)?
Never – 7 (8%)
Sometimes – 43 (47%)
Often – 23 (25%)
Always – 18

For your works, do you generally have input on how all production elements (dailies, audio, archival, ect.) are archived?
Never – 7 (8%)
Sometimes – 25 (27%)
Often – 13 (14%)
Always – 46

Who do you think is responsible for storing all production elements of your work(s)?
Producer – 43 (48%)
Executive producer – 12 (13%)
Production company – 36 (40%)
Distributor – 23 (26%)
Exhibitor (theatrical) – 1 (1%)
Exhibitor (television/cable) – 2 (2%)
Don’t know – 11 (12%)
Other – 12 (13%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

How are the production elements stored?
Temperature and humidity controlled – 18 (20%)
Temperature controlled, but not humidity controlled – 11 (12%)
Some climate control – 27 (30%)
No climate control – 28 (31%)
Don’t know – 13 (15%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

What best describes your feelings about knowing that a film has been converted to a digital format for future access?
I am relieved. – 39 (43%)
I have some concerns. – 34 (38%)
I don’t really give it much thought. – 13 (14%)
I think it’s a bad idea. – 3 (3%)
What does digital mean? – 0 (0%)
Other – 1 (1%)

If you already have a means of preservation in place, who pays for it?
Production company/Network – 13 (18%)
I pay for it. – 47 (64%)
Distributor – 4 (5%)
Don’t know – 14 (19%)
Other – 6 (8%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

Have you considered any forms of self-distribution?
Theater-by-theater – 39 (46%)
Internet – 66 (78%)
Direct to DVD – 59 (69%)
Downloads, short versions, ect. – 60 (71%)
People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%.

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