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Thread: Archiving tapeless Footage - options?

  1. Default Archiving tapeless Footage - options?

    I have done a few searches, and most seem to just be pedalling their own cloud storage, but what do people suggest for long term archiving, with relatively easy access?

    At present/ up to now I have used HDV cameras, and archive is as simple as putting the tapes in a nice protective case with a label on them

    Now I am moving to a tapeless camera, I am wondering what the best option is? on the whole it will be just kept as an unused archive, but could be delved into at some point, which was easy with tape, just pop it back on the computer

    So, what's best?

    Back to tape, in which case I need to invest in a HDV 'walkman' thing if I want to keep HD footage
    Hard Drives, not the most reliable, but would 2 identical back ups be safe? still unsure it would last even if I kept spinning the drives every few months
    Memory cards or USB sticks, doesn't seem the most cost effective, but is it a good long term option? if each job was about 100gb, so a couple of 64gb cards/sticks would do the job

    What are peoples views?

  2. #2

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    I'm certainly in the 'solid state' camp on this one. I have a number of DV tapes from around 8 or 9 years ago and already there are signs that some of them are less than perfect. Some drop outs... not a lot, but some.
    The other problem is that they also depend on the long term reliability - and indeed availability - of DV transport drives. My old Canon DV camera seem to be OK at present, but it does make slightly more noise than it used to... and as the bearings dry out and the rubber belts stretch and perish, etc, etc... then that is only going to get worse.

    As many folk ( including me) have already discovered with their now aging VHS tape recorders and players, the need to archive analogue tapes onto digital media gets ever more pressing, as these old mechanical devices start to die.
    This is going to happen with DVD players as well in the future of course. Fairly simple mechanics (except the laser focusing bits), it's but still mechanics.. they will fail.
    (And burnt DVDs (as opposed to pressed ones) already have some history of early failure).

    That is also true for the mechanics of 'spinning disc' HDDs as well.....for the same reasons. Hence the need for duplicate backups.

    Solid state media doesn't have any of those problems.. although it may have some of it's own... too early to know really.... but things definitely seem to be heading that way.

    And once you have the data stored ( and backed up!) as digital data, then whichever way long storage media developed, your data is easily transferable, without any loss of quality.

    So I think for the foreseeable future USB, SSD drives or SD cards ... all duplicated of course.... probably offer the best options for archiving at the present time...
    Last edited by rogs; 01-03-2015 at 04:12 PM.

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    I'm not sure about the longevity of any media. Whatever you choose, I think the key thing is to copy it every few years. Given that, mechanical hard drives, which have been a proven technology for much longer than flash memory, offer much, much cheaper storage. If you've got to copy it frequently anyway, why wouldn't you go for the cheapest option? Absolutely agree about the need for duplicate backups though.
    Tim

  4. Default

    Have to admit, there were a few sites saying mechanical drives were prone to failure, but others were saying as long as they are kept moving every few months then they should last. Ive had a couple of external Seagate drives for a good few years now, the oldest back to 2009 I think, and still working fine, although not archived, its in daily use, and gets things put on and off when they are in use.

    You are correct though, for price, I just picked up a couple of Seagate 4tb drives for 99 each, so you can't argue with that - basically 2 of those full with 2 copies of footage would be about 1/3 cheaper than 1 copy on memory sticks, could even go as far as 3 copies and still be cheaper

    Things to think about for sure!

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    2009! I have drives in regular use going back to 2001 (the schools I work at aren't always the first to upgrade PCs). However, anything mechanical is likely to fail at some point. Spinning them up is definitely a good idea, but don't just spin them up, read them - indeed copy them to another drive. Consider a regime where you have 4 drives. Initially archive onto A and B.
    At 3 months copy A to C.
    At 6 months copy B to D.
    At 9 months copy C to A.
    At 12 months copy D to B.
    etc

    at each stage add new "archived items" to the current "latest" pair (ie after 8 months add to drives C and D)

    This will ensure not only that the drives are spun up, but also that the data is still able to be read.

    Incidentally, this copying should be at file level. If you simply copy partitions any errors that have crept in will simply be duplicated to the new copy.


    Incidentally (again) , flash memory fails as well.

    Archiving in the digital world should not be looked on as a "do once" solution (ie dump the data once only to whatever data store you choose and make a copy) but an ongoing process, where the archived material has to be constantly copied to check its integrity.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Incidentally (again) , flash memory fails as well.
    That can certainly true be when large numbers of 'write' cycles are used... especially with MLC flash (as opposed to SLC). Whether there are many instances of failure for flash that is used for archiving - where the information is only written once to the flash - I'm not sure?

    What is certainly true at this stage - as you have mentioned - is the cost differential. With HDD costs down as low as 3p per GB, as opposed to some 50p per GB for SSD, i'ts certainly no contest, cost wise.

    Even with 'duplicate' costs included , HDD is still more than 8 times cheaper that SSD...... Hmmm... I think I need to re-consider my thoughts on solid state for archiving at the present time...
    Last edited by rogs; 01-04-2015 at 12:42 PM.

  7. #7

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    I was corresponding with the Archivist at York Minster about this, His stuff is way more important than my stuff. They make digital photos of everything they can from the priceless objects and then just keep in on a hard drive.

    Tim has mentioned some great ways to keep archives like the A to B to C etc. There is no perfect solution yet for digital archiving so we must realise it's a changing thing. Even optical disks (DVD & BluRay) don't last for ever but will probably last long enough for the next stage to come around.

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    this is hoarding for the digital age

    we are a bunch of hoarders

    the Archivist is just like us, except he gets paid for hoarding

    hoarders and posh tw@s - that's who we are

    reality check guys

  9. #9

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    I have some backup DVDs that were not readable after five years. My suggestion would be a cheap RAID NAS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XXLRay View Post
    My suggestion would be a cheap RAID NAS.
    If you're going to keep it constantly on and monitored, then yes. However, if you want to turn it of and just spin the disks up every now and again, I'd feel a lot safer with pairs of disks copied individually.
    Tim

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