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  1. Member
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    Dear All,

    I'm finding the depth of this website a little overwhelming and can't find a guide to what I really want. Perhaps someone could point me to a useful resource if it is available here.

    I have 25 miniDV tapes (basically 8 years worth of family videos that I want to keep for posterity in a usable format) that I wish to convert to a digital format on my PC.

    I have successfully imported some of them to .avi using Windows Movie Maker's DV capture wizard and a firewire card.

    I now wish to convert them to a moderately sized format for the following purpose:
    1. To be able to store and save the files to be viewed simply as clips on my PC screen. Size of file should be reasonably compressed so they dont need to occupy my whole hard drive, but they dont need to be "optimumum" compressed.
    2. I'd like to have the opportunity to play them back on a windows pc or a mac
    3. I may wish to turn the files into movies or dvds using editing software. I have a copy of Cyberlink Powerdirector 9, but am willing to use/pay for alternative software to get the job done. In essence I want the saved files to be high quality to enable me to use them in the future for projects, but my primary need is just to turn them into lots of digital, future proof compressed files.

    I am confused by which codec and container I should use for this project. The important thing is to pick something that will be usable and readable by pcs/macs in 10 years time so that I can always watch the videos of my kids growing up on a laptop or pc.

    I hope someone can point towards a guide that gives me solid advice on which file formats and codecs to use.

    Many thanks
    Zaspa
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  2. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    buy large capacity hard drive and store the DVavi files. a 1tb drive will hold them all and leave room for conversions. the tapes are 13gb/hr and having the original format will help with doing multiple type of formats in the future.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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  3. Member
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    Thanks.

    So I understand that the only way to archive this without loss is to keep the original file.

    Lets say I'm protecting myself against the house buring down and losing my backup 1TB disk and want to archive 50-100Gb of data online in the cloud. I'm not bothered about being to make super quality DVDs, I just want to still be able to see my kids dance in the scool play - the memories won't be lost, and I will still be able to view them in 10 years time becuase I didn't choose a ridiculous file format and codec combination. What would you choose, .mp4 with the same 720x576 dimensions as the original file?

    Zaspa
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  4. For viewing use MPEG2 with DVD compatible settings. 1 hour per DVD for the best quality.

    1 TB drives start around US$50, 500 GB around US$40. I would use two drives to make two backups of the DV AVI files. Store one offsite. Check them both for errors occasionally.
    Last edited by jagabo; 30th Aug 2011 at 19:58.
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  5. I sure wouldn't trust my treasured videos to the cloud.
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  6. Member
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    Thanks for the help. I will take your advice and buy a hard drive and back up the raw avis and leave it in my sister's house.

    On to the next part of my enquiry, I haven't found any useful guides out there that will help me to decide how to encode the avis into a smaller format. I have software that can save them in multiple formats for pc/mac playback but I am confused which one to use in order to get the right combination of compatibility with multiple devices and file size.

    Could anyone point me at such a guide, please. One poster above suggested mpeg2 for dvd as a format, but id like to understand why or what the alternatives are before i set off converting 25 hours of video into a compressed format.

    Thanks for any guidance given.
    Zaspa
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  7. I recommended DVD compatible MPEG2 because it's pretty universal, good quality (8000+ kbps), supports interlaced video well, and fits in your requested 50 to 100 GB range (about 1/3 the size of the DV AVI sources). Most software players will recognize interlaced MPEG 2 files and deinterlace at playback. The same is not true for many other formats that support interlaced video. All DVD drives and TV will handle interlaced MPEG 2 properly. There are many editor that can cut/paste edit MPEG2 losslessly (i-frame only) or nearly so (only cut GOPs are reencoded).

    The second best option would probably be h.264 with short GOPs and Blu-ray (AVCHD) compatible settings. Encoding will take longer, software players may or may not handle the interlaced frames properly, Blu-ray players and TVs will handle the video properly, and editing will be harder (not many editors allow lossless editing of h.264). But you can get even more compression and still retain picture quality -- around half the size of MPEG2.
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  8. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    @zaspa,
    I know you've already captured some of your movies to Harddrive via WMM, but that may not be the best choice here. Here's why: Unless you're very careful to change the output format AWAY from the default and use DV-AVI instead, it will alwasy DEFAULT to WMV. And then, you've already got loss on your "masters".

    I'd use WinDV or some other simple DV capture utility and save as DV-AVI. Then, if you want to edit them using an OK editor (not sure about the quality or options of PowerDirector), you should retain the same DV-AVI file format (aka AVI container format, using the DV video codec along with LPCM/WAV audio codec). Save those to the external Harddrives for safekeeping. Then, when you've got what you want, you could use an MPEG2 encoder (there are ~20 listed on this site in the TOOLS section) to give you DVD-compliant MPEG2 files that you could then author to DVD for easy viewability and portability.

    Scott
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  9. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    how about using xmediarecode? set it to the youtube 1280x720 HD preset to make mp4s. the mp4 video will be playable on most current devices and if you wish to uplaod it to youtube for sharing it's all set.

    yes it re-sizes up a bit but it also takes care of 4:3 / 16/9 conversion to square pixel x264 from non-square dv-avi. the dv-avi's at 25mbps should have enough quality to make the conversion ok.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
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