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The Shape of Film To Come
As more things head into the digital realm the idea of having any kind of analog storage system begins to seem archaic. Tapes are clunky devices in and of themselves, and anyone who has been through the lengthy tape capture process will attest to the desire to just treat your footage like a digital file and quickly import it onto your computer. It is with memory card technology that this is beginning to happen on a consumer level.
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It has recently become that what is referred to as “flash" memory is now fast enough to record video in real time as it is being filmed. This means that as you are actually shooting the material, it is being saved on this storage device. In this way it becomes a simple video file that can quickly be transferred onto your computer or mobile storage device without the pitfalls and errors that often come with tape transfer.
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There are a variety of different devices that can attune themselves to this, including Memory Sticks and the more specified MultiMedia Card. The MultiMedia card may be becoming the new standard, mostly because its NAND memory format allows it to be more compact. There are also more standard multi-use memory cards and flash drives out there, and that may be a better choice for someone who does not want to have video specific storage devices.
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The Good, The Bad, and The Tiny
The cards themselves are becoming cheaper and more efficient than using tapes. Though a single one will cost more than a tape, you can often fit more footage on it and can reuse it almost indefinitely without much deterioration. On the flip side they are small and fragile so you will have to create a sensitive work and storage environment so as to not damage or destroy them. You will also have to itemize them more because they are easily lost.
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The Next Step
Though the cards are still developing, they are the future for video storage. In the next few years we will stop using intermediate formats and essentially all video will be filmed as a direct digital media file. This will make filmmaking even quicker and cheaper, and will help a new generation of independent directors make their films free of the constraints of the corporate media system.