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Old February 1st, 2002, 03:25 PM   #1
vicsandr
 
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Archiving miniDV footage on DVD-R/RAM

I would like to archive my miniDV footage on DVD-RAM. What file format is best, .dv? What about logging and timecode? Which applications are best suited for the task? File formats? Workflow, etc.? Cheers, Victor.
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 09:55 AM   #2
RED Code Chef
 
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Where you archive on has nothing todo with the format you
capture it in (usually), let me tell you why. I assume you want
to keep all of your footage in native format (DV in this case).
You don't want it in MPEG2 (DVD's native format) because you
essentialy loose quality (re-compression), loose a lot of
flexibility in editting (editting mpeg2 is a lot of work and
headaches) and takes a load of time. If you just leave the
files in DV format (either in .DV, .AVI or quicktime, depending
on your system, preferences and working environment) you
can put it on any medium as long as it fits on it. DVD-RAM has
a size of 4 GB I think and you can only stores files on it as long
as they don't exceed 4 GB! You could also store them on a CD-R
(max 700 mb -> lots of discs :) ....

Now as to the DVD-RAM format. Keep in mind that these things
come in cartridges and cannot be read in a lot of machines! This
is also true for DVD-RW. The best compatible format at this
moment is DVD-R and DVD+RW.

Hope this helps some
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Old February 2nd, 2002, 11:16 AM   #3
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Victor,

I would look at it from an economical perspective, and I'm assuming that you want to archive the footage - meaning that you probably won't have to access it very frequently.

Now to DV: the DV bitstream results in 3.62 MB (that's mega bytes) per second, or roughly 220 MB per minute. An hour of DV foogage therefore consumes roughly 13 GB.

A DVD-R holds 4.6 GB at best - thus you need 3 DVD-Rs to archive an hour of DV footage. That currently costs you roughly US$ 15, and takes about 2 hours to write and verify with the current lot of DVD-R drives. Further, we have no long-term reliability data for DVD-R media, although some manufacturers claim a lifespan of 100 (!) years for their archival media.

A high quality miniDV cassette costs you around US$ 10, and probably less if you buy bulk. The transfer takes the same amount of time as the footage you need to archive (real time). Furthermore, ME (metal evaporated) tape material, which is what's used in miniDV cassettes, has a very good track record. It has been used in backup media in the computer industry for many years. It should last at least 10 years if stored appropriately (humidity and temperature are the most important factors here).

Hard disk drives are not yet comparably priced, costing about US$ 2 per GB at the moment.

The bottom line: at the moment, archiving on miniDV cassettes is probably the most economical. As soon as the prices for DVD-R media drop and the speed of DVD-R drives increases, this will change... And monitoring hard disk prices is probably also worth while...

FWIW,

Ron
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Old February 4th, 2002, 01:34 AM   #4
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I agree with Ronald that it is definitely cheaper (to backup on
DV tapes). In my eyes this option has two downsides though:

1. wear and tear on your tape heads & system. Because you
are going to use your tape system a lot more you are going
to get it filthy much more quickly.
2. retrieval time is long. Whenever you need to get something
back later it is more difficult to find. First you need to find the
correct tape (don't underestimate how long this can take if
you have a lot of tapes and/or don't document them good),
then you need to find the piece on the tape and re-capture
it. You still need to have a computer with firewire capability
and a VCR (or your camera to play back this content).

DVD media lifts most of these points (depending on which DVD
media you use), but it is definitely more expensive at the moment.
It is the way I am going to go myself this year though. I have
like hundreds of CD-R's with all kinds of stuff on it. These are
going to go on DVD-R or DVD+RW and my DV files too. In really
important project I will probably keep my original DV tapes too,
as well as DVD media, but that depends on the project.
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