Archiving AVCHD - strategies???

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ftaok, Jul 14, 2015.

  1. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast

    I seem to be in a bit of a crisis point in trying to organize my digital life. I have gotten my photos (iPhoto/Photos) sorted out mostly, so it's time to tackle my videos.

    I currently house my videos on an external HDD which I'll call my iMovie Drive. I have about 13 tapes worth of DV footage and about 40 GB of AVCHD. The DV footage is unedited capture from tapes to iMovie. The AVCHD footage are a straight dump of the SD card's file structure.

    OK, so with that said, I haven't done very much with the videos that I've taken over the years, but I do plan on it some day. I've basically made a few iMovie videos here and there, but not much more than that. But I don't want to lose my footage in the event of a hard drive failure.

    My DV footage is backed up since I still have the original tapes. My AVCHD footage is another matter.

    Here's what I'm planning on doing. If it's stupid or ridiculous, please let me know. I can take the criticism.

    1. Buy a bunch of 8 GB SD cards and fill them up using the camcorders copy function. This will allow me to have the complete file structure so I don't lose important stuff like the metadata not stored in the MTS stream. The SD cards will serve as my primary back up.

    2. Burn a DVD-DL for each SD card, which will be the second back up.

    The primary file will live on the iMovie hard drive.

    Alternative - if someone tells me that SD cards aren't a good medium to use for back-ups (i.e. flash media deteriorates, bit-rot, etc), I could purchase another hard drive to serve as a mirror for my primary iMovie drive. Then I'll stick it in my fireproof safe for safe keeping. This alternative would certainly be cheaper than a bunch of 8 GB SD cards.

    Thanks in advance for any comments and suggestions.

  2. Unami, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015

    Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    not sure about bit-rot & stuff. but i would not expect too much trouble from it over the next 10 years, if you store the media well. i still can read the occasional 10 year old hd/sd-card/dvd-r I find at home. i guess, a hard drive should be spun up from time to time so the platter doesn't get stuck.

    i'd just buy 2 hds for backup and store them in different places - that's cheaper and easier to do. unless you just got a few hours of footage then the sd cards will do. when you transfer your backups onto another medium in a few years time - which you'll have to do to stay safe - it's either making a copy of an hd or possibly re-transfering hundreds of slow sd-cards.

    other than that, using sd-cards as backup sounds like a good plan to me. i'm hoping to do this in the future, but the prices would have to come down to €35 for a 1TB card for it to make sense to me. so that's still a few years away. :)

    it's usually enough just to copy the "private" folder to preserve the avchd file structure, unless you take photos or other formats of video. i store the prvate folder in another folder with a good name.
  3. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Hard Drives. Since this is actually very precious media consider more than one backup drive: one to that fireproof safe, one offsite (in case someone steals your computer and safe). It doesn't sound like you have that much media to store yet (a bunch of 8GB cards is what, maybe 80GB in 10 cards or 160GB in 20 cards?). So thinking about the future, why don't you buy 1-2 maybe 4TB Hard Drives to be your backups. That should cover you for a long time.

    I'd be worried about the DV tapes as a hard backup. I suspect there will come a time when a version of iMovie stops supporting their import. So be sure you backup the hard drive files of those as if the tapes are destroyed. If they eat a LOT of hard drive space, maybe just back them up one time with the tapes themselves being a last resort backup should both the on-site and off-site hard drives both fail you at the same time.
  4. JasonA macrumors member

    Feb 18, 2009
    Consider burning to BD-R. Single layer Blu-rays are getting very cheap ~ $1 each and can hold 23GB.
  5. ftaok thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    Thanks for all the advice. I think I'm just going to get more hard drives to back up my current 1 TB iMovie drive. I'm looking at the WD MyCloud so that I can back up using USB, but get some cloud features. Plus, since it'll be "always on", I'm more likely to actually back up my movie drive since my current set up requires dragging out hard drives and finding places to plug them in ... yes, I'm that lazy.

    JasonA - I have been thinking of getting a BD burner since it'll be useful for many other things ... plus burning my home movies on BD for playing on our big screen. Could also use it to rip my BD collection, at least the ones without iTunes digital copies (or still SD digital copies).
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Hard Drives are the best and lost cost physical media. But you need to ALWAYS follow some rules:

    1) The data should always exist on three different physical media
    2) The data should always exist at two different geographical locations.

    The above needs to happen even during a backup. So if you backup software over writes old data then you need four different physical copies.

    I keep one copy live on the iMac, one more copy on a Time Machine drive (that's two physical copies) and then I have a fire safe with hard drives in it (so now I have three) and finally I use an on-line backup service which gives me the fourth copy AND a second geographical location.

    The way you loose data is not with a failed hard drive. It is either (1) A error like operator error or software bug, (2) theft of the equipment or (3) some kind of disaster like a fire or flood or lightening striking a utility pole while your computer is plugged into AC power.

    Never use write only media such as a DVD for backup unless you plan to verify all your DVDs by placing then one at a time into a reader and reading them end to end, maybe twice a year.

    What I do is every so often I buy a bigger hard drive and then use that new big drive for Time Machine and then use the old TM drive for live data. You biggest and newest drive should be used for Time Machine.
  7. ftaok thread starter macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I just ordered a new portable drive to backup my AVCHD and DV footage. Probably need to get my other desktop drives consolidated and use that for the third copy of my videos. Keep one backup in my safe and the other backup at work. That'll be the plan ... let's see if I can stick with it.

    Thanks for the advice.


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