I have almost 1 TB of avi home videos from VHS and my Sony Digital 8 camcorder on my PC. I would like to reduce the size of these files and keep them on my PC while maintaining as much quality as possible. At the same time, I would like to have the ability to burn these to Blu-Ray or other formats in the future without losing more quality when doing that future conversion. Will the MPEG2 format meet my goals, or is there another more appropriate format. Thanks for any help and advice you guys can offer.
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Thread: Best format to archive avi to
Don't do it. Unless I'm mistaken (could be without further info), you already have compressed files. Recompressing them only makes them worse quality, so you should only do it when you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO.
Need more space? Get more space. 1TB HDDs are what? $80USD?...I just checked: $56-$85 (depending on connection, platter speed, etc). That's cheap. Your home videos are priceless.
Need to burn to DVD-Video or BDMV/AVCHD authored formats? Then you may have to recompress (depending on the format/specs that the files currently are). In those cases, make a copy that is compliant with the target format, keeping the original ALWAYS.
Why bother compressing the files further for archiving? A GB of disc space costs less than US$50 now. If you want a more portable viewing format use h.264 in MKV or MP4. Try a program like Handbrake or XmediaRecode.
Last edited by jagabo; 28th Oct 2013 at 23:00.
When you refer to .avi are you referring to something that has been converted to .xvid or .divx or are you referring to the huge .avi files that are not compressed?
Please give an example of a file size with video dimensions. Perhaps a MediaInfo synopsis.
I join Cornucopia and jagabo in the opinion that hard drives are cheap and good value for the money. Just make sure you make a backup copy to another hard drive of all your original files.
If they are the huge .avi files I would suggest h.264 in MKV or MP4 as jagabo suggested. I used to convert to .divx but became so impressed with .h264 mkv, I just gave up on .divx.
Second Cornucopia's suggestion. Stop! Don't do anything more to these files than save it as is. Also, save your original tapes if you haven't already tossed them. Assuming this are family memories you don't want to be remembered as the grandparent, parent ot uncle / auntie that had these great family memoriee, but chose frugality over quality.
I have multiple terabytes of files and every bit (no pun intended) is backed up on a duplicate drive. If $50 is too much to spend in one go, shop around for smaller drives (100-300 GB) on eBay or Craigslist for $15-$20 and backup your data a little at a time. Or if you feel a little spendy, the sweet spot for hard drives are 3tb externals. A quick check on Amazon shows a 3tb external for $106 (less than $36 a gig). Future generations will thank you!
Thanks for the replies. These are definitely the huge .avi files that are not compressed. They're from a Sony Digital 8 camcorder and are about 12 GB per hour. I already have a 1 TB external drive that I have them archived to, but they're too big to keep all of them on my laptop drive, the PC I use most often. I wanted to compress them all to enable fitting them on my laptop to make them more easily accessible but maintain as much quality as possible. I will be doing my editing and preparing for DVD/Blu-Ray on this laptop with Sony Vegas, but I wanted to get started on the right foot.
Likely they are DV. DV is also compressed, just not as much (~5.5:1). Wait till you see real UNCOMPRESSED files: that's H*U*G*E. Or Uncompressed HD or 2k or 4k or stereo3D 4k or 8k. It just keeps getting bigger. With all those much larger files, it starts to put your *puny* 13GB/Hr files into perspective.
Accessible - How? If you want to just view/review them, use a converter to make reasonable quality mp4 copies (at ~1/8th the size of your DV files) and put those on the laptop. If you want to be able to access them for editing, leave them on the external drive. Won't the external HDD connect to your laptop?
If you want to start out right install mediainfo and find out what's really in there. "Avi" doesn't tell you much.
Also, IMHO while there are better formats (esp. h.264) out there, the quality of the format is perhaps less important than the ability of the user to understand the encoder settings used by these formats. The more modern ones like h.264 have far more complex settings than older ones. I wouldn't underestimate this. Well encoded xvid is definitely preferable to poorly encoded h.264.
I would also recommend keeping the raw unedited DV and the original tapes. 13GB per hour may seem big to you, but it's really not. Since home videos can't be replaced, it would be worth the extra cost to buy another external hard drive for backup.
If you convert to mpeg-2 or x264 and delete the DV, there will be some point in the future when you will regret it because you will think to yourself you should have used a different format, or different encoder settings, or you should have applied a filter to clean up the video before encode. By then the original tapes may be degraded and you will never have the quality of the DV that you have now.
For general viewing do a mpeg-2/x264 encode, but keep the DV so you have an archive.
The problem with compressing them now, is you don't know what format or quality you may want/need in the future.
I agree with the above recommendations. Keep them as they are now. And make another copy as a BACKUP. Hardware fails all the time. Better safe than sorry. Especially when there are 2TB and 3TB external drives on selling for under $100.Google is your Friend
Leave DV alone.
- DV is 13GB/hour
- Huffyuv is 35-40GB/hour
- Uncompressed 4:2:2 is 75GB/hour
DV is similar to Blu-ray MPEG-2. That's what I suggest for non-DV tapes.
Best of both worlds:
1. Keep original DV files on (preferably two) HDDs. Keep one at home and one in a safe place (deposit box, fireproof safe, maybe even at a relative's house a long ways off in case of major catastrophe)
2. Transcode the files to Bluray-compliant h.264, which will make the files more portable (smaller) and ready for burning to Bluray without sacrificing much quality. If you want to burn to Bluray at some point, no matter what you will need to transcode anyway. If you can, keep these files backed up as well.
Someone else will be better suited to recommend proper transcoding tools/methods, but I thought this might be helpful: http://www.x264bluray.com/