The time is now
The life span of all film and digitally stored media on magnetic tape or disk is limited. Below is a list of the approximate life span of different media’s and their production dates. Time is a major factor as a lot of these items are already at the end of their effective life, after that they will be lost forever. So, are aim is to collect and digitise all media before it’s gone. There are a lot of different factors that affect life span including brand, humidity, number of time used, and how the media was stored.
8mm 16mm and 35mm. 20-70 years depending on storage conditions and if the case has been opened to breathe regularly. invented in 1928
Magnetic tape Audio & video
All varieties including cassette, reel to reel,VHS, betamax, 8 track 25-40 years. First produced 1928
5-15 years very dependent on brand and build quality. Mass use started in 1970.
CD/DVD/blu-ray all storage on disk read by laser
2-20 years very dependent on brand there are a few exceptions of disks that were designed to last a lot longer but are very rare to come by. Example M-disk up to a thousand years. Main use started in 1982.
Hard disk drive
More often the internals fail rather than the disk lose its data 5-15 years. very dependent on brand with some lasting longer but some a lot less. Started being used in their current format (inside a PC) around 1986
Flash drives or solid state drive
Flash storage degrades by number of cycles used but around 10 years on average use. Gained popularity in the early 2020s
About the FPA
The Film Preservation Archive is a New Zealand based non-profit organization dedicated to finding, rescuing, and restoring older films both as art and as history.
We work will all formats including professional productions, home movies, 8mm, 9.5mm & 16mm reel films with or without sound.
The FPA specialise in the conversion of vintage film into digital format and then making that material available to the public free of charge.