View Full Version : Best format for archiving video
2007 August 22nd, 07:15
Considering that 15 years from now my kids will be grown up, and I'd like to be able to watch the videos I'm now creating with Premiere....
What format and media would be the best choice to store the family videos so that they're not lost in the abyss of 5 1/4 floppies, or obscure codecs?
2007 August 22nd, 08:08
Well, at least make sure to output to high quality MiniDV tape your final project in HVD format.
Tape as proven to be very reliable for long term archival. You can also, in a few years (like 5-10) copy the content over fire wire from one camera to another one to store a fresh copy that can age 5-10 years from that point on.
My 2 cents.
Outside of that I would output to HD-DVD on standard DVD for easy viewing on standard HD-DVD players in the years to come.
2007 August 27th, 21:07
You bring up a very valid concern. What formats will still be around in 15 years?
Considering that mpeg2 is the current broadcast standard for HDTV, it's pretty safe to assume that transport stream will still be supported, even in 15 years. When it starts to be phased out (if ever... I mean, we are still using mpeg1 these days for some things!) you can always transcode it at that point. I would save, leave it in the native format... mpeg2
The main concern really is to protect the data.
I personally use a muti-pronged approach to protecting my most valuable data. My main rational is to keep the data as easy to bump from one generation of media/ format while aiming at stable archive life for the duration of the datas stay on each generation of media.
Right now my approach is this:
1. Keep a hard drive based "online" copy (with redundancy)
2. Keep an optical back up. ('m only strict about this for my most precious data)
The idea is that it's easier much to bump the "online" copy to new media as it becomes available. Hard drive space is getting so cheap these days, it almost makes no sense to ever delete anything, especially data you consider "valuable". (in my mind at least)
There are ways of stabilizing hard drive based storage to make it more "safe".
It might surprise you that the professional solution to data protection is really just redundancy. For example, Google uses a JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) approach. They duplicate the data 3 or more times on the drives using a proprietary file system.
At the studio where I work, we do something similar. Our file system has the notion of "snapshots" which are really just the data copied again to another part of the filesystem. In addition, we also have tape backups.
My personal solution is the use optical as my fall back rather than tape. I do this for my most precious data.
As for organizing your redundant hard drive based back ups, you can do it with simple hard drive "mirroring" in many ways. There are tools like r-sync to help with that. Or you can simply do it manually. There are also whole file systems that can do it. The most notable open filesystem with built in redundancy is Suns zfs, which supports all sorts of advanced features to help protect data from loss. (It's free) I have yet to experiment with it myself, but at some point in the not to distant future I hope build myself a data server. It will most likely use zfs as the filesystem.
The thinking of keeping stuff hard drive based is that it is pretty trivial to bump it to new media as it becomes available (hence one is less likely to put it off.) You can also keep the old HD media around, once the data has been bumped it to the new media, serving as yet another back up.
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