Video: Video archives

I digitize various video footage, some of which is obtained from degrading video tapes, and needs to be color corrected.

Oldest footage so far was from a 1982 black and white Beta video, that was converted to VHS in 1988, timecode added, yet improperly stored since.

I keep the scenes that I feel are important, and eventually create DVDs in iMovie/iDVD, however I am not 100% sure that bits that I discard are not important.

Thus I am interested in preserving full footage as well, at least for 5, although realistically for over 10 years.

I can keep it on video tapes, yet am not certain that it’s a good idea, considering how much some of this footage degraded already. I am also concerned about availability of VCRs capable of reading video tapes in 10 year time frame.

One approach is to keep it in uncompressed DV format on a hard drive, drop the hard drive into a bank vault. As I am dealing with ~300 hours of video all together, this is not realistic, esp if I want a backup. Besides, will I be able to read HFS+, ext3fs, NTFS or whatever? EIDE? SATA? Firewire? USB?

I’ve been considering compressing it in full NTSC (or PAL) resolution to DivX 6 format, and burning it to DVDs (or on one or two external hard drives). Yes, I technically lose quality, but then again, most of my source material is not stellar as it is.

At this point I am concerned as well… Will I be able to decode it in 10 years? Will DVD drives still be available, or will they go the way of (5.25″) floppy drives?

Re-copying every 3 years?


Is there anything better then DivX that I should look into? I am concerned about the disk space to quality ratio, and this project has no budget (ie I currently finance it out of my own pocket)

One thought to “Video: Video archives”

  1. Maybe MPEG2 or H.264 would be good choices for archiving video?

    I was going to suggest that you save each fram as a compressed TIFF and save the audio track as AIFF… but that sounds like it would take up too much filespace!


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