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Thread: Longest lasting archiving method/storage media for video?

  1. Default Longest lasting archiving method/storage media for video?

    I need to back up some raw footage as well as the edited copies of a series of videos. I'd like these things to be usable in fifty years (yes, whatever media they change too -- I'll change them to). But is there anything that will last 50 years? 20 years? 10?

    For the raw footage, I've got the tapes and I'm currently also saving them as avi's transferred onto a hard drive.

    Then I was saving the edited versions back onto a another mini-dv tape. Then I went to mpegs saved on an external hard drive.

    But I've already had the experience where tape deteriorates and a "stored" hard drive sitting around for a while will loose coherency and be unusable (ouch -- I've had it happen.)

    So.....would it be better to go to a data DVD? Will they last? And which blanks DVD's should I buy? And if they don't -- what does?

    Thanks for any advice.

    Gaia

  2. #2
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    I would suggest that the 'safest' storage medium would be solid state media such as SD cards. These have no moving parts and would therefore not suffer the same deteriation from wear and tear as writable DVDs. DVDs also have a shelf life based on the chemical deteriation of the materials used in the production process. Although not short, it is unlikely that a DVD created now would be fit for purpose in 50 years.

    The most pragmatic solution is to create a back up storage device with two or more harddrives in a RAID array. This means that if anyone one of your drives fail, the other drives can be used to restore the data. Essentially this creates a mirror of you data that can be replicated as you need it. I would recommend that this is reviewed every 5 to 10 years and transferred to another medium - more importanly transferred to the most uptodate stable medium.

    For example if you flim in the 80s you'd have used Hi8 or VHS. In the 90s this would have moved on to DV and then perhaps miniDVD and DVD and now solid state media or Blu Ray. It's becoming increasingly hard to play back VHS tapes, and anything recorded in the 80s is likely to be degraded. However, if you;d have transferred to other media in the interim, you'd still have a copy as good as the original. One caveat to this is that each time you transfer you should try and avoid re-encoding the vide.

  3. Default

    Hey Mark -- thanks for your reply. I'd never thought of SD cards -- checked them out. They're hour programs so if I save them as mpegs that might do it. But here's my question -- I have had problems with long term storage of hard drives. in the past Like I said -- once not used, I have had the experience that they seem to lose "coherency" in some way and become inaccessible. Not able to read files. Mind you this was 6 or 7 years ago -- but it made me wary. Is mine just an exceptional case -- have you found the RAID concept -- once the hard drives are "archived" and not in use to be reliable?

    Thanks...

    Gaia

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    Over time, hard drives will fail. Perhaps a little bit of a dramatic statement to make, but you should expect and plan for a harddrive failing by making sure you always have a 'backup' - be that via RAID or simplying saving the video intwo different physical locations (for example on DVD and a hard drive). I've had plenty of drives fail over the years, and plenty of discs become unplayable. I've rarely lost footage by accident though...

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    Getting off the point slightly but... it amuses me that i have hundreds of LPs going back to the 60s and they play superbly on my old fashioned townsend rock turntalbe thingy. And it makes me titter out loud that I own 78s from the 20s that play as good as new on my wind up gramaphone. I have never thrown a vinyl lp away cos it wouldnt play, you certainly cant say that about compact discs...

    Sometimes progress can be very short sighted.

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