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Thread: help setting up an archiving system

  1. #1
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    Default help setting up an archiving system

    I'm trying to digitize 1,000s of hours of VHS, miniDV, and 8mm onto hard drives. I need help setting up a system to do this. (I'm a total newb.) I have a few thoughts on how to go about it, but I'm open to other suggestions:

    1.) I want to store the data as .mxf files. (I also want to be able to burn the data onto DVD occasionally, and I'm not sure if .mxf can do this.)
    2.) I'd like to be able to capture the source material directly into the hard drive (using a capture card?)
    3.) And finally I want to use non-proprietary software for organizing and editing.

    And I have some other questions:
    1.) is it better to have 2 large hard drives (one for backup) that can fit everything, or several smaller ones?
    2.) I've heard of people having problems with "VHS wobble" and problems with audio/video sync when using capture cards. How to avoid these?
    3.) What kind of software will be non-proprietary, work on both Mac and PC (ideally), allow me to convert into .mfx, etc.?

    Any help is very much appreciated.

    S

  2. #2
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    Why MXF? - I would use .avi.

    Get a decent capture box - many pci cards that capture are poor.

  3. #3
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    Why not use a DVD recorder, one with DV in or firewire would be best for the mini DV if you kept the bit rate around 4500kbps it would give about 2 hours per DVD and the quality would be as good as most other ways of converting, and by using a DVD-RW all you would have to do would be copy them to a hard drive, they would then be easy to turn back into DVD to play, another way to play them is using a WD TV Media Player straight from the hard drive. no matter how you capture VHS you can have problems with the field order, the old VHS and SVHS cameras never have any way of keeping a consitant field order I think it was probably to do with the pre roll when the camera went back over the prievious clip by a few frames, it could place 2 upper or 2 lower fields together, the way you might over come that is with a capture card and ScenalyzerLIVE to capture each clip seperatly, however it might all work fine so I'd give it a go and see how it works.

    Bryan

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Why MXF? - I would use .avi.

    Get a decent capture box - many pci cards that capture are poor.
    Thanks Mark. What is the benefit of using .avi over .mxf? I thought .mxf was good because it will make it easier in the future to convert the files to other (as yet undeveloped?) formats.

    S

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wandering-free View Post
    Why not use a DVD recorder, one with DV in or firewire would be best for the mini DV if you kept the bit rate around 4500kbps it would give about 2 hours per DVD and the quality would be as good as most other ways of converting, and by using a DVD-RW all you would have to do would be copy them to a hard drive, they would then be easy to turn back into DVD to play, another way to play them is using a WD TV Media Player straight from the hard drive. no matter how you capture VHS you can have problems with the field order, the old VHS and SVHS cameras never have any way of keeping a consitant field order I think it was probably to do with the pre roll when the camera went back over the prievious clip by a few frames, it could place 2 upper or 2 lower fields together, the way you might over come that is with a capture card and ScenalyzerLIVE to capture each clip seperatly, however it might all work fine so I'd give it a go and see how it works.

    Bryan
    Thanks Bryan. The problem with DVD is that we want to be able to edit the source material. Also, in terms of preservation, I hear DVDs have a relatively short shelf life (but better then those old VHS tapes, surely). So I thought getting onto a hard drive (or several) would be the way to go. I'm sorry to be so ignorant, but can you briefly explain to me what "field order" is? Is this what causes problems with the audio/visual sync?

    Thanks again,

    S

  6. #6
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    The thing about DVDr wearing out is an internet myth.

    "Shelf Life" of Burned/Pressed DVDs - The Digital Video Information Network

    Hard drives do not last forver either.

    I guess I would archive ultra important video on duplicated drives and every few years i would check both volumes and duplicate in the unlikely case of one drive failing.

    As for hte mxf thing - mxf is more likely to cause exchnange problems but wither way it's no big deal. Everything can read an avi - mxf not.

  7. #7
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    Hi sme I misread your first post, I assumed the video's were already edited, seeing you want to edit them Marks way is going to give you the best quality and ease of editing, another way for VHS, if you have access to a mini DV camera with video in you could turn them into DV avi format, and seeing you already have mini DV video to archive why not turn them all into the same type of avi.
    Field order is the way the interlaced fields are read to display the full frame of video,
    field 1 can be referred to as "top field" "upper field" or "odd field"
    field 2 can be referred to as "lower field" "bottom field" or "even field"
    after all we are dealing with video here so if they can make it complicated they sure as hell will. so to make up 1 frame of PAL video at 25 frames per sec they use two fields at 1/50th sec each, a field is like a picture with horizontal empty lines that the next picture fills in, which has its empty horizontal lines where the other ones are to mesh in.
    Field order has nothing to do with audio/video sync this is controlled by what is called interleave and some programs allow you to set it. Premiere does and I always set it to 1 frame, I found I had less problems that way.
    Now DVD is usually lower field first, but with VHS it didn't make any difference which field was displayed first, and when digital editing first came in you could pick which field you wanted to capture first, then when DVD came along they sort of standardize the field order to lower field first, but it doesn't have to be.

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