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  1. Member
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    Hi,

    I have a series of around a dozen Hi8/Video8 home movie tapes ranging from 1990 to 2001. I am curious as to what the most long-lasting archival method would be. I already have VHS copies (done in the 1990s) and DVD copies (done in the 2000s) of them, but I want what would be the best archival for long-term preservation and viewing (IE thinking on 50-100 year time tables - basically for my great grandchildren to be able to view them at the same level of quality the tapes are presently in today).

    So, what route should I go? What route would offer:

    1) The least image/data compression/pixellation from the original tape?

    2) The longest lasting medium overall - a medium with say roughly 50 years lifespan before any image loss sets in?

    3) The most easily transferable medium (IE - say in 100 years DVD players are of course extinct, the format most likely to be compatible with future technologies and thus the most easily transferable)?

    Also, say I have copies made of the existing DVDs, will there be any data/signal/image loss on the subsequent copies (and will copying the DVDs lower the data/signal of the original DVD?)

    Note I am on a budget. I can't afford to spend say more than 100-150 per tape.

    Also note - one home video, the earliest from 1990, was taped over. The only thing that survives of it is a VHS, and a DVD from that VHS. Can the DVD act as a "new master" in this case and what conversion should I do to ensure that video's survival over time? It's the only tape of my parents together from before I was born, so in its way it's special.
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  2. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    1) Well for no quality loss you would want to go with a lossless codec like HuffYUV, Lagarith, FFV1, so on. Preferably sticking with popular and free codecs like the ones I listed. Niche codecs probably will not fair as well in the future probably, as far as being able to easily play it. Could even just store completely raw YUY2 or YV12 video data which will probably be even more compatible than anything else.

    2) The better question would be what medium of digital data storage will last a long time. And with that question comes a lot of uncertainty and luck. All you can really do is improve your odds by having duplicates across multiple mediums (HDDs, SSDs, Flashdrive, DVD/Bluray, Cloud, Digital Tape, and so on) stored in different locations. If the history of computer data storage is anything to go by, then you will want to simply transfer this data to the latest medium every so often (every decade for example).

    As far as image loss is concerned, there won't be any loss as long as all the bits survive. But be sure to keep the original tapes just in case, as they are the "masters" and tape as a long term medium is better than what many people think.

    3) Hard to tell what groundbreaking things will happen with computer compatibility standards in the future, like moving away from Intel x86 and x64, or moving away from standard 1/0 bits to quantum qbits. Will there be a digital divide in the distant future, like what happened with the analog to digital transition. Probably. There are too many unknowns to say for certain what form of data storage will easily be read in the future. But just because it's not easy does not mean I'm saying it will be impossible. Just the future people wanting to watch your videos might have to go through some extra steps, maybe buy some outdated equipment from Goodwill, and maybe do a lot of research.

    But what I can tell you is that having your stuff in digital form will be exponentially easier to read than keeping it on tape, even if the tape lost none of its signal strength over 50-100 years. Simply because VHS machines and analog capture equipment will be pretty much gone. What equipment that remains in working order will be insanely priced.

    Originally Posted by RyfromNy View Post
    Also note - one home video, the earliest from 1990, was taped over. The only thing that survives of it is a VHS, and a DVD from that VHS. Can the DVD act as a "new master" in this case and what conversion should I do to ensure that video's survival over time? It's the only tape of my parents together from before I was born, so in its way it's special.
    Well now that VHS is currently the best copy you have then, as the DVD copy is a 3rd generation lossy copy compressed with old MPEG2. But you can use it for now, just don't consider it the best copy.

    If you are interested in some dry reading you can check out my thread on the Video8 capture subject. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/381533-Video8-Player-vs-Digital8-Camcorder-for-capturing-Video8
    Last edited by KarMa; 4th Feb 2017 at 18:25.
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  3. Whether or not the the media itself is still readable, in 100 years you will not easily be able to read anything you create today because there will be no compatible hardware. You will periodically have to evaluate the physical and logical formats and convert to whatever is popular at that time. This is where lossless codecs (or no compression at all) will be crucial. But it will still require some moderate expertise in video and audio to perform those conversions.

    Uncompressed YUV 4:2:2 standard definition video runs about 75 GB per hour. If your tapes are one hour each that's about 900 GB of data. At 4.7 GB per DVD that's nearly 200 DVDs. And you'll want triple redundancy so you'll need 600 DVDs. It will take a very long time to check all those DVDs and replace them as needed. And this is not easily automated as somebody has to swap discs every few minutes during the audit. Even with Blu-ray you're talking about 120 discs.

    Compressing the sources with a lossless codec will reduce the size by about half. Still a lot of data to work with on DVD/BD.

    The only practical storage is hard drives. Again, you want triple redundancy. But at least testing and repairing files can be automated. You can easily compare every file on one drive to the corresponding file on another drive. If any file has become corrupt you can replace it with one of the good files. If any drive fails you can easily replace it with a new drive and copy all the files from one of the remaining drives.

    Who knows if huffyuv, lagarith, ffmpeg lossless, or ut video codec will still be easily available in 10 or 20 years from now. They are not widespread consumer level products -- so there will be few people with the ability to deal with them 100 years from now. You will have to recompress them with another lossless codec (whatever is popular at that time) periodically. But it will be easy to automate.

    On top of all that you should also create regular movie DVDs with no more than one hour on each single layer disc. That will give you pretty good quality and the discs will be easily watchable for the next 10 to 20 years. Maybe longer. Again, you will want several copies and you will need to monitor and replace them as necessary.

    There is only one good manufacturer left for DVDs -- Verbatim. Taiyo Yuden, the second to last good manufacturer, left the market last (?) year. In theory, there is mdisc (a mineral based DVD) that is supposed to last ~1000 years. I'll believe that when I see it, 1000 years from now.
    Last edited by jagabo; 4th Feb 2017 at 22:34.
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  4. Member
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    Originally Posted by RyfromNy View Post
    2) The longest lasting medium overall - a medium with say roughly 50 years lifespan before any image loss sets in?
    Magnetic tape is a medium known to last 50 years or more under proper storage conditions. Ironic, huh, after going to all this trouble to get your content off of tape? An archive where I have worked is using Linear Tape Open (LTO) cartridges to store files.
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  5. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Originally Posted by RyfromNy View Post
    2) The longest lasting medium overall - a medium with say roughly 50 years lifespan before any image loss sets in?
    Magnetic tape is a medium known to last 50 years or more under proper storage conditions. Ironic, huh, after going to all this trouble to get your content off of tape? An archive where I have worked is using Linear Tape Open (LTO) cartridges to store files.
    Drives to read 50 year old tapes are not so easily available now.
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  6. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Originally Posted by RyfromNy View Post
    2) The longest lasting medium overall - a medium with say roughly 50 years lifespan before any image loss sets in?
    Magnetic tape is a medium known to last 50 years or more under proper storage conditions. Ironic, huh, after going to all this trouble to get your content off of tape? An archive where I have worked is using Linear Tape Open (LTO) cartridges to store files.
    More of a question of if you can get a working machine to read your tape 50 years from now.
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  7. Member
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    You have to put your machine in the vault with the tape. I came across an oddball Tascam DTRS recording a couple of years ago that was made up at Lucasfilm Skywalker Ranch. They had all their old players in storage and were able to rip the tracks for me.
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