Monday, December 14, 2009

Quick Hit Monday: Hey, It's Christmastime - Let's Help Scott's Kids; Images Fading Quicker Than You Think!

Good Morning Everybody,

How many Days till Christmas - Yikes!!!  Hey, it's all good though. This year LaDawn and I are trying to slow things down a bit and make a conscientious effort to enjoy family, friends, and the holidays more this Christmas season. Sometimes old habits are hard to break, but we're going to give it our best shot. Hope you can enjoy them a bit, too.

Anyway, on with Quick Hit Monday. I've got a few things to tell you about so let's get right to it.

Let's Help Scott's Kids

SKtshirts1a For all loyal readers of Scott Kelby's blog, you know that over the past several months he has been involved in a fundraising effort for the "Spring of Hope Kenya" orphanage. They are finally up and running. Here is the latest info on Scott's wonderful effort right here.

Well, guess what - we all can help too. I received an email from Scott last week mentioning his new line of fashion T-shirts, and coffee mugs for off-camera flash shooters. 

SK Cup_240x240_BackIs Scott's new fashion line more impressive than Versace, Gucci or Armani? As one popular Alaskan ex-governor was heard to say, “You Betcha'"  Why, because 100% percent of the profits benefit "Spring Of Hope" orphanage.

Here is the link to Scott's T-shirt fashion outlet and story right here. For only a couple of bucks what better way to say you care about your lighting and Scott's kids in Kenya and just in time for holiday gift-giving.  I'm ordering mine today.

Are Your CD and DVD Data Fading Faster That You Think?
Compact Discs This past Saturday I did a guest appearance on a local radio show. More on that later. Anyway, the subject of the "Shoot and Burn" wedding photographers came up, as it always does, and I got thinking about how long those CDs/DVDs will last.

At my studio, we deliver an archival museum quality photo album to our clients. It will last over two hundred years if properly cared for. How long will the CDs/DVDs last that are currently being delivered to bride's and grooms? My quick guess is not too long.

Here's why.  Most photogs are not looking to the latest, greatest longest lived CDs/DVDs when archiving the images for delivery to their clients. Some are of course, but many are not.

Over the weekend I received an email from one of my vendors mentioning that Taiyo Yuden, one of the top CD/DVD producers of quality recording disc media had joined forces with JVC.  Taiyo Yuden is the brand of discs we use exclusively here at my studio.  We purchase their discs with the guaranteed 100 year life.

Digital FAQ I did a little research and this is what I found out over at "Japanese media makers have been hit hard by the economy in recent years. TY discs were once re-branded under Panasonic, Sony, Fuji, JVC, Verbatim and several other brands. But those companies cut costs by going with cheaper (and as you know, inferior) discs from the likes of Ritek and CMC, out of Taiwan. --- (Verbatim excluded, of course, they just don't use TY discs anymore -- their MCC discs are generally superior anyhow!)

Here is the link to their CD/DVD longevity discussion right here.

Uhmmm, kind of scary isn't it? For years, back in the film days, we were all concerned about how long a photographic print would last. In the late 60’s, just  a little over 40 years ago, it wasn't much longer than 30 years of longevity - not very long. 

In the late 60's, as more and more photographers were transitioning to color, lots of photo labs were offering brand new color processing services - only one problem with some of the cheaper labs offering cheap prices.  They were cutting out the "image stabilization" step from the color process to save some bucks.  That's the final step in the process that gave the new color prints at least some kind of limited longevity.  Without that step, the prints were destined to fade even more quickly.

One of my photographic mentors observed, "We are going to have a entire generation of lost imagery because of so many photogs "going for the cheap" for their color processing.  Doesn't sound like things have changed much over the years.

CDs Last Forever Are we in the "same boat" today?  Folks, that's the problem we have with cheap CDs and DVDs - the data is fading FAST - like in 3-5 years and certainly under 10 years! Check out this article over at right here.  Here is a quick excerpt from their post.

"Most people buy recordable media based solely on price thinking that all recordable media are the same and most packaging do not include shelf life as a selling point.  Thus, the consumer has no idea that their precious data on the disc will degrade within 5 years.” 

So gang, do you know how long your CDs and DVDs will last that you are delivering to your clients?  Maybe a lot less time than you think! Are we in for another lost generation of wedding imagery? Let's hope not!

Hey gang, that's it for me today.  LaDawn and I are putting the final touches on our Christmas trees and getting the house decorations up today - that last warmish day this week before the colder weather sets in tonight.

I'll plan to see everybody for another episode of Technique Tuesday tomorrow.

See ya' then.  -David


  1. 1000+ year shelf life for discs =

  2. Burnable CD's and DVD will last only few years, normally 3-5 years lifetime. CD will last longer than DVD, but less bytes. Magnetic tape will last 10-17 years with proper storage. Use harddrives or you need to backup all to new media within 3-5 years. Good practice is within half of media's lifetime, and backup in different media. So how professional photografers store our wedding images several decades? or I am on my own policy?

  3. David, The article referenced was from April 28, 2006 and the current on line information (Google)still says that cd-r/dvd-rs will last forever. The cd/dvd longevity discussion speaks about company take over and not about continued quality. I hate to assume anything. Is JVC the one to buy? I must lead a sheltered life because I've never heard of MCC discs before or maybe I just never noticed them. Is MCC a type of disc? Anyway the reason for this comment is that my nephew is getting married next September and has hired a "Shoot and Burn" photog not because thats what they want but because thats all they can afford. I believe that you are 100% correct but my nephew won't believe a word I say with out proof. Please Help Me!!!

  4. As a photographer, our photos are our life. We should do everyhting we can to ensure we have copies of our work. Our clients, you we photograph for, should also be reminded of the importance of archiving. Shoot and burn aside, I often recommend my clients get a disk, or two, and store them in multiple locations such as a saftey deposit box. There are new solutions out there that all can help with this. One of the solutions I am aware of is I think they purchased this technology form a university in CA. Bottom line, not only do they help you archive your work, they also have some business oportunities that may allow you to add to your bottom line. I am in the process of learning about thier reseller options.

  5. Heck, Sell them the DVD and let them know where to buy replacements when it errors out in 3 years.
    More money for the photographer!

  6. Here is the link to an outstanding article explaining why you should not only use Taiyo Yuden, but only DVD +R