Tag Archives: formats

Creating A Video Archive

The old tape archives at the Goddard Space Flight Center, going away - we have a lot of tapes that need to go away too
I’ve been tasked with specifying a method for archiving a bunch of old analog videos, from 8mm and VHS mostly, to a networkable digital format. One interim method is to make DVDs of the recordings, but the long-term stability of DVD media is of course dubious.

I have lots of experience with video capture to computer (mostly Mac, some PC) for editing as well as transcoding from one video format to another for various short-term purposes. I’m largely ignorant though of the issues pertaining to viable long-term storage, and I want to find a sweet spot that balances good video quality, manageable file size, and some degree of editability for excerpting and recombining clips at a later time.

I found information on MPEG-4 as an archiving format at the Library of Congress Digital Preservation site, but there’s just too much info to digest without some help. And that kind of help is what librarians are for, so I’ve contacted the Reference Archivist at the university library, and I’ll follow up when I’ve found out more.

Thanks to the Goddard Space Flight Center for the Creative Commons photo from their flickr site.

Mark Pilgrim’s GIVE: A Gentle Intro to Video Encoding

media encoding involves acronym alphabet soup but think about how expert you'll sound in the teachers' lounge or the ball game

This introduction is “gentle” only in technical terms; Mark Pilgrim’s language can get quite salty, so if your school’s filters block four-letter words, you’ll need to read this at home. Nonetheless, the four part A Gentle Introduction to Video Encoding (part one, part two, part three, part four) is an excellent introduction to concepts, terminology, patent status, and limitations of the formats. It does not provide any instruction or tutorials, but those are widely available through the Google.