Thursday, April 28, 2016
The future of film preservation is... DNA?
Not that you need any kind of mental stress during finals, but our media librarian passed along this mind-blowing update from the world of film preservation. The best-preserved filmstrips and digital backups will still deteriorate overtime, but the folks at Technicolor (yes, the Wizard of Oz Technicolor) think they've developed a foolproof technique for keeping films stable and format-neutral for thousands of years.
Basically, Technicolor converts a film into code, then – with science indistinguishable from magic – encodes that into DNA. DNA is absurdly dense storage: your phone might hold 32 gigs, but DNA can store about tens of billions times more data in a single gram. Technicolor can bottle millions of copies of this DNA in a small water vial, where it will remain safe probably through the apocalypse.
We have to be a little skeptical just because this is the bleeding edge of film preservation technology, but Technicolor says they'll have it down-pat in a year. Imagine being able to store the entire history of film in a rain barrel. It'll be pricey, but we're astounded.