Long term video storage

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dbwrobel, Dec 14, 2010.

  1. dbwrobel Guest

    May 11, 2010
    I'm currently in the process of putting all of my old VHS and MiniDV tapes (approx. 40 or so) onto a more modern storage medium and I had an idea come to mind; does anyone know/think its more feasible to store all these movies on a hard disk drive instead of a disk? I had initially planned to put all the videos on DVDs while keeping programs/files/pictures on hard drives.
    I thought of this as I'm also in the process of consolidating years of backup DVDs and CDs into more of a central location that could be accessible quickly instead of having to go digging through many disks.
  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    For the VHS tapes, you would need an old VCR and an analog capture device (like an Elgato EyeTV). For the MiniDV tapes, either a MiniDV deck or MiniDV camcorder capturing into your machine over FireWire would do.

    But the first question you'll want to ask yourself is whether or not you intend on using the archived footage to edit later on. If this is the case, you'll want to retain as much quality as possible from the captures, which means larger file sizes...

    For the VHS stuff, I'd probably encode straight to H.264 with an Elgato or similar device. You're not going to get very good quality with VHS tapes anyway. DVDs would be an acceptable backup medium for this sort of thing, as the file sizes wouldn't be all too big (640x480 files at about 768kbps-1Mbps would be more than adequate for old VHS material).

    For the MiniDV stuff, you would first have to capture over FireWire (into iMovie, FCE, FCP, etc.), which will yield files encoded in DV-NTSC (or DV-PAL, if you're in Europe). DV-NTSC video requires about 13GB/hour for storage, making even dual-layer DVDs pretty impractical. For this, you'll probably want to use hard drives instead. Note that if you DON'T intend on editing this type of material later, you can encode it to H.264 to save space.
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Considering how inexpensive HDD are (a 2TB drive is around $100) I'd save everything as DV on a pair of 2TB drives (both drives containing the same data). A 2TB drive will comfortable hold over 100 hours of DV which should be plenty of space. A problem, IMO, w/going to H.264 now is that even though you may not intended on editing the videos that might change in a year or three and then you have to go through the process of transcoding everything into a different codec. Also, if you already have a miniDV camera odds are you can hook a VCR up to the camera, the camera up to your Mac and capture your VHS tapes that way.


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