For Wedding and Event Filmmakers, physical media such as DVDs, Bluray discs, and Solid State drives are dying; and they are no longer the viable secure way to deliver the final product to the customer. Just like Photo Film gave way to Digital in 2005, so to must Video Discs; it’s long over due. Not to ruffle photographers feathers, I believe beautiful pictures are meant to be hung on walls and displayed as art because that is exactly what they are. But, motion pictures are a digital medium best appreciated on a large screen complimented by a good audio system. Digital delivery is replacing physical formats, and it should because it’s literally indestructible, can be viewed anywhere, can be easily shared or transported, and will never degrade over time. It’s time to start delivering your videos on a new platform called: Mediazilla
Just like Vinyl, 8 Track, Cassette Tape, and CDs, DVD and Bluray Discs are quickly becoming obsolete. Physical media is no longer economically or environmentally viable. Of all the aforementioned formats, the only one that remains is Vinyl, and even that only still exists for a small nostalgic niche market. I, myself am a vinyl collector. But DVD and Bluray disc are not like vinyl. Vinyl stores information in physical grooves cut into the surface of a vinyl plate that can last centuries. With DVD and Blurays discs, information and Data is stored on a thin reflective sheet of aluminum only a few microns thick. Over time, the thin, sensitive reflective material (aluminum) that that information is stored on deteriorates and the aluminum begins to flake off the polycarbonate plate it once adhered to. It just happens naturally.
Commercial vs. Consumer Media
Professional, mass-produced DVDs and Bluray discs are estimated to have lifespans between 100-200 years. But those estimates are based on optimal storage conditions with very little human handling; and those estimates are not exactly testable since current digital poly-carbonate discs have only existed for 35 years. Re-writable DVD-Rs and Bluray-Rs that small business and event videographers use to deliver their films and videos have estimated lifespans of 10-20 years in perfect conditions. The reason re-writable discs have much shorter life spans has to do with the quality of the raw material the reflective layer is made of. You can find more information regarding physical disc life spans here and here.
Even if Videographers had access to commercial grade DVD discs, the methods required to produce one to ten discs are cost prohibitive. The process and cost can be better understood by watching this video, which describes the process to mass produce commercial grade digital video discs.
Degradation and Deterioration
Along with deterioration, physical media host other inherent risks: loss, user damage, incompatibility, or reduction in available readers and players. People lose the disc, a player breaks with the disc inside and it is now stuck inside the player, over time the discs crack due to exposure, the disc is dropped and cracks or gets scratched, as time goes on players become more difficult to find, and as previously mentioned: inevitable degradation over time. But, there is a solution: Digital Delivery and Cloud Storage.
The internet revolutionized the way we access information. Love them or hate them, Napster exposed and exploited the potential of consumer entertainment consumption through music “sharing”. Though the music industry was slow to embrace and adopt digital downloads and transfers, Videogame console makers such as Microsoft and Sony, along with Netflix and Amazon adopted the emerging technology of digital media transmission and have pioneered the market while still improving the experience.
Faster, more reliable internet speed connections are becoming cheaper and more and more commonplace. With greater connection speed comes the ability to store and transfer large amounts of information across a daisy chain of drives and servers now called “clouds”. Clouds allow users to securely store and maintain data in perpetuity without fear of degradation or loss over time. How it works: when data is stored on a cloud storage system, the information is never stored in just one place in its entirety. Instead, the information (or data) is spread in pieces over many drives in different locations. If one drive or server should fail, it can be replaced and the remaining drives can rebuild the missing data through programmed software algorithms. Clouds function much like RAID 5 arrays.
A New Generation
As connection and data bandwidth speeds have increased, so has our culture’s acclamation to instant access to information and entertainment.
Smart phones, tablets, smart televisions, and computers all share a constant and stable connection to the internet, allowing users instant access to: broadcast shows, music, feature films, news, educational visual media and a plethora of information and entertainment.
Current social trends center on de-cluttering our living spaces, reducing waste, and streamlining our material goods down to necessities. Digital is the green way to deliver movies, music, photos, articles, information, and messages. There is no reason to have stacks of CDs, DVDs, Bluray Discs or Videogame discs cluttering our living spaces anymore, limiting our living space and collecting dust.
Digital Delivery Solutions
YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime have changed the way we watch movies and shows. Unfortunately, hosting a wedding or event film on YouTube or Vimeo feels… less than professional or polished. I don’t mean to knock those mediums. I enjoy and appreciate both YouTube and Vimeo for what they are, and I have several YouTube channels and a Vimeo Pro account myself. But they are meant for a large collective audience, have limited functionally, contain commercial interruptions, and can cause problems with licensed music. Weddings are meant for a limited audience expecting a more unique and intimate experience, without commercials.
For a long time, small boutique film studios didn’t have any alternative options. Amazon and Netflix have little interest in hosting private wedding films and they do not host a menu system in which to interactively select chapters of specific points in the films.
Enter Mediazilla. A company specifically tailored for boutique and commercial video production houses. Mediazilla offers filmmakers a format to deliver custom content of almost any time length to customers who want a similar experience to conventional DVDs and Bluray discs. Once an editor has finished production of a project, they can upload each sequence to the Mediazilla server and then create a custom menu complete with motion backgrounds, music, chapter titles, fonts, and event-specific colors and deliver directly to the client via a weblink. No boxes, tape, labels, packing peanuts, or shipping to deal with. The end user follows the custom URL to watch, share, and even download the video(s) to their personal computer or device. To download their video, the customer is required to create a free account with Mediazilla to ensure they always have access to their video. This also allows the original production studio to delete the video in the future to free up space in their library to upload newer productions [without loss to the previous clients].
SD, HD, UHD and Beyond
As camera resolution increases, so does the size and density of the data they record. The move from SD to HD quadrupled the clarity of film and video. And now, the consumer is accustomed to HD as the standard. But in ten years, expect 8k or 16k to become the new standard resolution. Manufactures have offered cameras that record 8k and 16k resolutions since 2015. Digital Discs have already reached their capacity with UHD (4k video). In the 1980’s VHS beat BetaMax because it was a cheaper medium; likewise the cost to stream vs the cost to produce discs is dramatically less and far more desirable for consumers.
Customers are already accustomed to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime and they are familiar with the old menu navigation systems of digital disc media. Information formats and mediums of data transfer will continue to change and evolve. Who knows what the future holds. More than likely the next logical step will be in user experience rather than delivery method. Right now however, physical media is going the way of the dinosaur. The ship is sinking and Mediazilla is the brand new yacht that just arrived waiting for you to board. Make the jump to the marriage between streaming content and old form menu navigation that Mediazilla delivers. Your clients will appreciate your commitment to innovation and the polished experience the platform delivers.