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Monday, May 23, 2011

Chips aren't just for lunch any more...

Chips aren't just for lunch any more! The computer industry has used this play on words for years, (Computer Chips, Micro Chips, Potato Chips...) but now that the production industry is "Going Green", we need to steal some of those adages. The truth is that this is all coming about as the two industries share/merge technologies, storing video in a digital file format similar to the way computers store files on technology like thumb drives.

The TV and Film industry has been advancing in technology for years and these advances coincidentally parallel the push for industry in general to be environmentally friendly. By using a new medium to record video we are able to eliminate Tape Media. Tape has served the industry well, but reuse of tape often leads to degradation of quality with each re-record. In fact, there is a classification used for the "generation" of tape that we use to maintain quality control.

With file based media, we no longer need to classify an "Original", "Master", or "Dub". File based cameras and recording devices allow us to copy those files as many times as we want, with zero quality loss. If we are able to reuse recording devices and media time and again, then we eliminate the need to store and/or discard countless miles of tape and the plastic cartridges that hold them. We also can ingest directly to an edit system, often faster than real time. This reduces the edit time and energy consumption.

In addition, tape-based HD systems still run a premium in the market. If we can produce entire HD shoots and deliver a digital file format to TV stations, we never need to invest tens of thousands of dollars in HD tape decks. This in turn keeps overhead down and allows us to pass-on the savings!

So, current technology allows us to record to P2 Cards, SxS Cards, and SD Cards (to name a few). These are all solid state CHIPS that can be used over and over again. More uses equals less trash, which leads to less in the landfill. This also means less use of plastics (you know, that petroleum-based material we use for everything these days). Perhaps we will be the cause of declining gas prices!!!

O.K., so we use less plastic, and contribute less to landfills, but is that the only impact? Well, actually, no. There have been recent advances in lighting that are also helping the industry to help the environment. Many of us are switching over to the use of LED lights on video shoots. The LED lights use a lot less electricity and do not heat up a room, so the air conditioners stay off, which also helps with the carbon footprint. LED lights become a safer choice as well. Less heat and energy draw means customers don't need to worry so much about the fire hazards that the older studio lights caused.

Many industries are also relying more on alternative energies. Our web host's data center is partially powered by renewable energy. Of course, they have back up generators to ensure the industry standard 99% up-time. This technology allows for less environmental impact from the ever growing Internet.

So, whether powering server racks, lighting your next video or storing media on your next shoot, we are all doing our part to keep the earth's oceans & skies blue and the greens... well, green. Boy, all this talk has made me hungry! CHIPS anyone?

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