Larry Jordan Commentary: Media Doesn’t Last Forever – Updating Archiving Practices

by Larry Jordan

This is really important, so let me get right to the point: Your Digital media archiving must be managed.

Apple is completing the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit hardware and software that it began 15 years ago. This means that at some point in the near future, older 32-bit applications and media files won’t open on current systems. To prevent losing access to our archiving history, we need to convert older legacy media files into a current 64-bit codecs.

Most legacy files are SD (standard-definition), so, when converting files shot with a camera, ProRes 422 is an excellent archive choice. If you are converting files created on a computer, either with or without an alpha channel, ProRes 4444 is the codec I recommend.

NOTE: One of the benefits of ProRes is that it is resolution-agnostic. It easily supports any original source resolution of our media files.

A key reason I recommend ProRes 422 for camera media is that standard-definition video was shot in a 4:2:2 color space or smaller. Digital Betacam shot 4:2:2, Betacam SP and DV shot, essentially, 4:1:1, while DVDs were 4:2:0.

Because older 32-bit applications and older codecs will not be supported forever, it is essential to convert older files into newer codecs in order to retain access to our historical archiving. It is always better to proactively convert older media files than discover, after you’ve already upgraded, that the files no longer open.

Before you upgrade your editing system to a new version of the macOS, such as Mojave, take time to make sure that your legacy files and applications will still run properly. Waiting a few weeks before upgrading to allow yourself time to research any potential problems will be time well-spent.

NOTE: Another option is to create a dual-boot system disk. This allows you to run both an older version of the macOS alongside the current version. Here’s an article that explains how to do this.

WHY IS 64-BIT BETTER?

In a word: performance.

64-bit systems can access vastly larger amounts of memory. The 64-bit Intel architecture is significantly faster than 32-bit. It supports better system security. And, when it comes to media files, 64-bit system support is necessary for larger media frame sizes and larger project frame sizes, such as 4K and beyond.

THE BACK STORY

Apple began converting from 32-bit to 64-bit hardware in 2003. By 2008, both Apple hardware and operating systems fully-supported 64-bit applications, while at the same time, also running older, 32-bit applications. For the next ten years, both 32-bit and 64-bit applications ran happily together.

However, the legacy QuickTime stack (upon which both Final Cut Pro 7 and QuickTime Player 7 were built) was not designed for 64-bit operation. QuickTime Player 7 was replaced by QuickTime Player X in 2007 and, over time, Apple has added new features into QuickTime Player X (which is now called: QuickTime Player).

NOTE: Here’s an article that showcases many of the newer features in QuickTime Player.

While many new features have been added to QuickTime Player, it still doesn’t have the same functionality as the Pro version of QuickTime Player 7; which is why many of us still use the older version. However, very soon, after another macOS upgrade or two, that older version of QuickTime Player 7 will stop working.

NOTE: It is important to note the Final Cut Pro 7 stopped working with the release of macOS High Sierra (v.10.13). DVD Studio Pro stopped working with the release of Sierra (v. 10.12).

At WWDC 2017, Apple announced to its developers that High Sierra would be the last OS to support 32-bit applications without compromise. Starting with Mojave (v. 10.14), the operating system will display a warning whenever you launch a 32-bit application.

Read the rest of Larry’s thoughts on Updating your Media Archive formats at LarryJordan.com.

About James DeRuvo 604 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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