The move from film to digital in the production of television commercials has had a major impact, not only in the way things work on set but also in the way the final product is stored. Where once we relied on physical reels of film stored in film labs, digital files are now stored on remote hard drives.
Agencies and production companies need to communicate effectively when it comes to the storage of advertising material and must also check that adequate insurance is in place to cover potential losses. If this doesn’t happen, material that has cost millions of rand to produce may easily be lost or corrupted. Long-term storage solutions should always be discussed from the outset so that all parties understand their responsibilities and are well-positioned to meet them. The production company should note in its quote cover-letter the process to be followed, and this should be quoted for (on post-breakouts).
The production company is responsible for storage on an appropriate hard drive on the shoot day. This process is generally insured under the production company’s “Producer’s Package”, which should be carefully read to ensure full compliance with the insurers’ recommended protocol. Generally, the material must be transferred to two hard drives which are independently transported to two different locations. This is to ensure that one drive is secure in the event that the other is lost or destroyed. It must always be remembered that hard drives are not a reliable source of long-term storage as they get old and sometimes fail for no reason.