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Old Mar 25, 2008, 08:57 PM   #1
kman79
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What format is best for archiving digital video?

I apologize in advance for such a noob question.

I currently have 750GB mirrored RAID that as of last week was strictly for just backing up my lightroom library and mp3 files. My sister came by the house this past weekend with my precious godson and dumped 6 DV tapes full of video of my nephew, and her DCR-HC90 and asked me if I knew how to back them up. Told her that I have no idea how but I figured you friendly fine folks could help me out.

I experimented with the videos with my MBP, and used iMovie to import them. iMovie seems to haved imported them using .dv extension. Would just backing this up to my External Mirrored RAID in the .dv format be the best format for backup?

Note that when I backup files, it's backed up on my External RAID as well as burnt onto DVDs and stored in my closet inside a plastic storage bin with silica packs. The External RAID is only plugged into the UPS and powered up when I need to backup something. I also have the files stored on a 500GB External for easy access, which is getting quite full.

Is there a better video format that the videos should be imported and archived in, besides the .dv format. Any help on this matter is greatly appreciated.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:12 PM   #2
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Hi,
This may not be the answer you are looking for, but from a practical perspective the best format to archive dv tapes up with is to dub them to another dv tape.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:17 PM   #3
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Haha...that could actually be the answer I'm looking for.

So DV tapes would be a safer medium than DVDs or HDD?
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:21 PM   #4
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I hour of dv tape is roughly 13 gigs. I would ingest the tape via firewire and then print it back out via firewire.
Keep the copies in a safe, cool, dry place out of the sun.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:25 PM   #5
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Tape is the LAST thing I'd want to back it up on. Optical media and definitely hard discs will last a lot longer.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:26 PM   #6
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I appreciate the advice.

Gotta check if the HC90 will allow input via firewire, which I'm thinking it will. Thanks for the help.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:29 PM   #7
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When you import, you loses video quality.

When you dub into another tape, you run the risk of fungi.

It's a trade-off.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:32 PM   #8
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Well, Nothing is perfect. Hard drives fail, disks scratch, tapes stretch/break.

You have a raid, if you are willing to give up the space and have a good back up plan that could work.
Consider the fact that there will likely be more tapes. Are you going to be the custodian of the digital archive for the life of the child?

If you go to the trouble of ingesting the tapes, you may as well burn some optical disks while you are at it.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuarterSwede View Post
definitely hard discs will last a lot longer.
Not even close, tape will easily outlast hard drives.


Orpheus: No, you don't lose quality when you import miniDV tapes. It's a digital transfer of 1's and 0's. If the tape was analog, then yeah there might be some loss.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossbmb View Post
Not even close, tape will easily outlast hard drives.


Orpheus: No, you don't lose quality when you import miniDV tapes. It's a digital transfer of 1's and 0's. If the tape was analog, then yeah there might be some loss.
Um the drive may fail if it's used a lot but even then it's possible to get the data off the disks. If your tape deteriorates your screwed. Why do you think the recording industry is backing up to external hard drives now?
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossbmb View Post
Not even close, tape will easily outlast hard drives.


Orpheus: No, you don't lose quality when you import miniDV tapes. It's a digital transfer of 1's and 0's. If the tape was analog, then yeah there might be some loss.
Hmm.. i didn't know that. I would assume that by import, a conversion/compression has to take place, and hence a lost in quality is expected.

Thanks for pointing out to me.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 09:56 PM   #12
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I think it's simply the case of convenience and portability.

If you have like 300+ dv tapes, it can prove to be a chore to store them physically. With additional DV backups, you can imagine the difficulties.

Whereas if you stop them digitally, all these can fit in a hd and doesn't take up space. A backup with a combination of both methods depending on your needs is the best.
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Old Mar 25, 2008, 10:34 PM   #13
kman79
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My initial route of action was to import them, and then back them up onto both the External RAID and DVD disks. I think it's safe to assume that frequent use of both tape and HDD would result in a higher risk of failure. It's been a habit of mine to always minimize use of original material, make a backup(s), and make another copy for frequent use and viewing. So in essence, I have the the original material, two backups, and easy access for frequent use and backup. In terms of storage and use this is what I have

- Backup 1 - 750GB Mirror RAID (Only Turned On/Plugged in when needed)
- Backup 2 - DVD backups (Stored in plastic bin in closet with silica packs)
- Original Material (Played through once for import and then stored)
- Always on 500GB External (Copies of original for easy access for dubbing)

I understand that Disk Failure is possible, and I was hoping that having a Mirror RAID would give me some buffer for failure. Having a backup on DVDs would be a secondary source of backup in case of such a failure. The external RAID is only plugged in, turned on, and used when there is new material to be backed up. The DVD backups are stored in a dark dry place inside a plastic bin.

My bigger question is, is the .dv format the preferred backup format for compatibility and best format choice to retain image quality?

I appreciate all the help and input.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 12:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuarterSwede View Post
Um the drive may fail if it's used a lot but even then it's possible to get the data off the disks. If your tape deteriorates your screwed. Why do you think the recording industry is backing up to external hard drives now?
HDDs fail if you use them to much. HDDs also fail if you don't use them enough. DVDs are too small to be practical as it takes 2 discs to back up a single DV tape. Blu-ray solves the size problem but it's an unproven format as far as durability goes (everyone reminders CD and DVD rot right?). Tape has been used for decades to backup HDDs by IT departments and has the best proven track record for archival purposes. The next great thing in archiving could be holographic storage, but we're still way to early in the game to see how that's going to pan out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kman79 View Post
My bigger question is, is the .dv format the preferred backup format for compatibility and best format choice to retain image quality?
As BigBossBmb said the file iMovie makes is an exact copy of what's on the tape. You can't get any better than that.


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Old Mar 26, 2008, 01:42 AM   #15
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This is a million dollar question that many studios spend lots of money trying to figure out.

The basic thing is that magnetic tape doesn't last long. It may last anywhere between 10-25 years. Maybe a few years longer if the vaulting conditions are proper.

Hard drives and optical media can last much longer if left undisturbed in dry, temperature controlled environment away from electromagnetic flux.

Fine tuned storage conditions are very important for longevity of magnetic media. More info on that subject.

There is a fundamental problem with both choices. With technology rapidly changing you need to migrate your content to other formats before the playback technology is rendered obsolete.

Remember 5.25" floppy discs? Yeah, you can still find the drives around if you really need to transfer an old archive but it'll cost you. Even VHS is becoming extinct.

The key is to keep stuff moving to new formats whether it's on tape or other media. This takes an effort and organization.

You will laugh when I tell you what's considered the ultimate in moving image preservation. It's black and white film stock. You take a color negative and separate it into three primary color records which are printed onto their respective B&W films. This kind of like the Technicolor process. If you need to restore a film 200 years from now you take those three records and combine them into a color neg. Pretty simple optical/mechanical method that will surely exist in the future.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 06:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by orpheus1120 View Post
Hmm.. i didn't know that. I would assume that by import, a conversion/compression has to take place, and hence a lost in quality is expected.

Thanks for pointing out to me.
there might be a slight loss in quality, but unnoticeable to the untrained eye.

personally, it's good to have a multi-dimensional back up system: dub to another tape and either burn to a DVD for viewing as well as full .dv backup (13 GBs per hour is correct).

As far as i'm concerned, these tapes are precious memories and deserve a proper backup

Cheers,
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 11:11 AM   #17
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I have a VHS tape from my very first VHS recorder bought in 1981.

It is now 27 years old.

It still works and looks just like it did the day I recorded it off the air.

How many hard drives have lasted more than 10 years.

Don't kid yourself.

If stored properly tape is an incredible long lasting storage medium.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 11:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orpheus1120 View Post
I would assume that by import, a conversion/compression has to take place, and hence a lost in quality is expected..
No, the signal that is written to the miniDV tape is already compressed to the DV codec. When capturing the tape, the signal is simply read in the DV codec and no conversion/compression is taking place.
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