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-   -   Archiving Old Tape Formats (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/long-black-line/144999-archiving-old-tape-formats.html)

Shaun Roemich March 4th, 2009 08:22 AM


Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis (Post 1022040)
DVCAM and DV are virtually identical quality. They both use the same codec. The only difference is that the DVCAM tape drive runs much faster than DV so there's less of a chance of drop out. MII is a much better quality codec than DV/DVCAM. MII is basically 4:2:2 8-bit uncompressed.

DV and DVCam ARE identical quality. No virtually about it, at least in terms of the video signal written to tape.

Agreed that MII is better than DV/DVCam but to call an analog format a "codec" would be incorrect. Codec is an acronym for COmpressor DECompressor, which indicates digital.

And yes, the chroma is recorded at half the frequency of the luminance channel.

Shaun Roemich March 4th, 2009 08:25 AM


Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen (Post 1021875)
I'd suggest DVCAM tape. It's relatively high quality (certainly equal to MII)

The issue with DV/DVCam is the colour sampling is at one quarter the luminance. MII is at one half. You're throwing away a lot of colour information as well as visual detail.

ADDENDUM: Of course, this all ASSUMES that the playback of the original material is high quality with little or no analog tape related issues and that the original program material is high in INITIAL quality...

Bill Pryor March 4th, 2009 09:42 AM

MII is very close to Betacam, so what I did might be of use. When I was using DVCAM with DSR1800 decks which had component in and out, I transferred a bunch of Betacam SP tapes, via component, to DVCAM and comparing the original Betacam with the transferred DVCAM, nobody could tell the difference. That got my old tapes from analog into the digital realm and then I could do whatever I wanted with them. Obviously, DVCAM is not going to be around forever either, but it satisfied the requirement for the next few years. Much of that footage has been captured and re-edited into updates of old programs.

The reason I transferred to DVCAM was because we had DVCAM decks with component in. What I think I'd do today, however, is invest in a quality converter that takes component in, thus skipping the tape-to-tape transfer phase, and capture all the footage and save it as some QT format, ProRes, H.264, whatever you prefer. I'd store the files onto those gold coated expensive DVDs, which you can get at B&H. And I'd also keep the footage on hard drives. However, in my experience hard drives can simply die for no apparent reason when sitting on a shelf for a long time. So I'd consider the DVDs to be my "original."

In the digital world these days long term archiving is not a piece of equipment or a format--it's a process. Before DVD becomes extinct, the files probably would have to be transferred to some solid state device. Already, USB thumb drives are available in 32 gig sizes for around 40 bucks. Eventually it'll be cheaper to use them than DVDs, probably. However, no doubt they'll be extinct one day too. The main issue, I think, for your client is to get his footage into a digital form, regardless of what it is. It may be that 3 hour DVCAM tapes transferred from component to component would be the cheapest, easiest thing to do for right now. I stress the component--you do it with S-video or composite cable, there will be a degradation in quality.

My old Betacam SP tapes, which had been properly stored, were still in good shape after more than a dozen years, and the dropout compensation in the deck took care of most dropouts, which with old 3/4, Betacam and MII tapes is an issue. In my case many of the tapes had been handled a lot during early editing, on a variety of decks, so I expected more dropouts than I actually saw. Still, the sooner you get digital, the better off you are. Should your guy decide to go the tape route, make sure he only uses the best quality tape. In nearly 10 years of shooting DVCAM I used only Sony PDVM tapes and never saw a single dropout.

TingSern Wong March 4th, 2009 09:51 AM

Another pretty good codec you could consider will be CINEFORM's codec. It got 10bits, 422 colour space, and uses wavelet compression. And is available for both PC and MAC platform.

As for physical media - hard-disk is out of question. Too many parts in there. The best I would think (that is available NOW) - BluRAY. It got the densest recording media so far for optical. Then in a couple of years time - when it becomes common place - halographic memories.

Rick L. Allen March 4th, 2009 11:28 AM


Originally Posted by Mitchell Lewis (Post 1022040)
MII is a much better quality codec than DV/DVCAM.

Have you actually ever played back or watched MII? My DVCAM footage runs circles around anything I ever shot on Ikegami 53/57's with MII backs. After 10 record play cycles we had to replace the MII tapes because dropouts had become unbearable. MII had great specs that didn't translate into real world picture quality and that was if the audio worked. I've got 20 year old BetaSP tape that still plays and looks better than any MII ever did.

Ethan Cooper March 4th, 2009 04:33 PM


Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen (Post 1022171)
Have you actually ever played back or watched MII? My DVCAM footage runs circles around anything I ever shot on Ikegami 53/57's with MII backs. After 10 record play cycles we had to replace the MII tapes because dropouts had become unbearable. MII had great specs that didn't translate into real world picture quality and that was if the audio worked. I've got 20 year old BetaSP tape that still plays and looks better than any MII ever did.

It's all subjective. My former employer, the same guy who I'm inquiring about archival methods for, swore by MII and to this day will tell you that he prefers the look of that format to DVCAM. Every time we'd bust out the old stuff on MII he'd talk about the analogue look compared to the digital look and loved to point out how to his eye the component analogue signal was "smoother" and less "harsh". My guess is that he was seeing the difference between 4:2:2 of the MII and the 4:1:1 of the DVCAM.

It's a matter of opinion.

What I will say is having been around MII, Beta SP, and DVCAM that well shot MII held it's own against any of them. Your poor experience with the format is unfortunate.

The point of this thread isn't to denigrate this or that format, but to have a meeting of the minds and see if we can come up with some ideas for archiving old material. Let's leave it at that.

Mitchell Lewis March 5th, 2009 01:38 PM

Back on topic:

Here's what I think will be the solution for archiving in the future:

DMN interstitial

Once the prices come down (like they always do), we'll end up with cost effective, large storage capacity hard drives, without any of the hardware failures. I can't wait! :)

John Miller March 5th, 2009 07:04 PM

I wouldn't choose DV/DVCAM for the 4:1:1 reason.

But if I had to use it, I'd avoid any form of container (i.e., AVI, MOV etc) - I'd store it as a raw DV stream.

Likewise, for long term archiving, I'd avoid any proprietary codec no matter how wonderful they might be. Why? Because there is no guarantee that the codec will be available. Remember Indeo?

I'd also consider redundant formats for storage - e.g., tape and BR and hard drives etc. Personally, I place more faith in tape simply because the other options haven't stood the test of time yet - just look at the nightmares with recordable DVDs failing after just a couple of years. I have 20 year old Video8 tapes that play just as well as the day they were recorded on the original camcorder.

Re DV vs DVCAM - there is a difference in that DVCAM always records with locked audio. No big whoop, though. BUT - only a very few brands (of models thereof) can play DVCAM. Most consumer Sony DV camcorders can actually play DVCAM.

Bill Koehler March 6th, 2009 01:13 AM

How about MPEG2 4:2:2 ?

MPEG2 is a nice, generic, high compression codec that people are going to understand for a long, long time to come.

Shaun Roemich March 6th, 2009 05:41 AM


Originally Posted by John Miller (Post 1023025)
Re DV vs DVCAM - there is a difference in that DVCAM always records with locked audio.

If this is in response to my quote above, you'll notice that I mention they are "identical quality" (exact same compression and bitrate, just different tap pitch) and further qualify myself by mentioning "in terms of the VIDEO written to tape".

Ah yes, Indeo... Nostalgia creeping in...

Ivan Snoeckx March 6th, 2009 07:38 AM

How about XDCAM Professional Disc system? Would this be a great way to archive? I'm already shooting XDCAM HD and are going to invest shortly in a PDW-U1 optical disc drive.

I also have lots of S-VHS Pro, Betacam SP and DVCAM tapes (actually who doesn't?) that I must archive for future use. The DVCAM tapes will be fine for the first years I guess. To me this looks way better, then storing it all back again on tape because it's tapeless. Much easier to access when the archiving is done. Or do I see this wrong? Any thoughts?

Perrone Ford March 6th, 2009 08:12 AM


I think that in any archiving solution we need to look at two things.

The medium (Tape, hard drive, solid state, film), and the codec or means to read that file later.

Requiring that the video be stored in a playable format locks us to both. Allowing the file to be written as data opens up more flexibility.

For instance, if we say we were going to archive in "DVD" then we'd be locked to mpeg2 AND we'd be locked to optical. Saying we were going to store on optical would allow a great many codecs, or saying we were going to store as mpeg2 would let us write to any media.

I honestly believe that if the environment can be controlled (flood protection, heat protection, fire protection) then tape makes good sense. But in non-controlled scenarios, then optical makes more sense.

I would not lock myself to a single-vendor solution like Sony Professional Disk though. There are far too many standardized codecs and such to jump into bed with a single vendor solution. Generally, looking at what the library of congress is doing is a good start. They spend quite a lot of time thinking about these things. As to other preservation companies. Film is terrific because it's very stable, and all you need to do is to figure out how to shine a light through it to see the images.

I still contend that going to optical with a SMPTE standards based codec is going to hold up best over time.

Jim Andrada March 12th, 2009 02:57 PM

FYI, QuantuM Corp will be having a webcast on archiving/long term data storage on 3/18

Here's the blurb that showed up in my e-mail

May be of interest so I'm passing this along


Join Quantum for our webcast entitled “Designing a Long-term Data Retention Strategy” and we’ll discuss shifting industry trends requiring more data to be retained for longer periods of time for both compliance and non-compliance requirements. A combination of tape and disk-based data protection, including archiving for data preservation, can help address power, cooling, floor-space and economics concerns while meeting other needs and issues.

In this webcast, hear about the issues and trends as well as how magnetic tape continues to evolve to support changing data protection and long-term data protection requirements while complementing and co-existing with disk-based data protection

END QUOTE_____________________________________________

Harry Pallenberg March 12th, 2009 06:42 PM

my 2 cents...
We have BetaSp tapes that are almost 20 years old that still work - but we did have to move all out old 2 inch & 1 inch tape over to DigiBeta... But I know that sooner rather than later we'll have to do the same with the SP... but to what?

Well NO WAY to a drive, I'd much rather go to M2 to DigiBeta - digi will be around for AGES....

I seem to remember a program that recored data to MiniDV tapes (only 13GB per) - maybe that tech has progressed.

BluRay - seems like a good choice.

We even talked about paying to SAVE an old 1 inch machine!!!! Doubt your friend will want to do that...

It does seems like in these modern digital days - archiving is a lost art.... If I had to pull that trigger right now - I would go for DigiBeta - but thats what we use here and have all the decks and so on....

Good luck.. let us know what the final choice is.

Ethan Cooper March 13th, 2009 09:18 AM

Actually he still has a pristine 1" machine sitting in a back room that he wont get rid of because he's convinced that he'll make $$ with it again one day when people get desperate to transfer old 1" stuff to some other format.

The thing looked brand spanking new.

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