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Video File format: Compatible and Long-Lasting

Discussion in 'Multimedia' started by JAHerrick, Jan 20, 2012.

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  1. JAHerrick

    JAHerrick Thread Starter

    Jan 20, 2012
    I'm converting old VHS family videos to digital format, to hopefully preserve for the next generation

    What video file format should I use if these are my criteria?:
    1) Compatability: A file format that I can edit on my Mac using Quicktime or iMovie, but that can also be played on a variety of Macs or PCs.
    2) Longevity: A format that's likely to still be readable a decade or two from now even as technology trends change.

    I'm of the opinion that DVD is now starting it's slow death, and therefore I don't want to convert to DVD only to have to reconvert to something else in a few years (with some quality loss upon each conversion). I think storing these videos as digital files on a hard drive will probably give me the most longevity until the next necessary conversion, but the world of file formats and codecs baffles me.

    Thank you.
  2. Oddba11


    May 12, 2011
    First Name:
    The final format is not a consideration. Capture in the highest quality format supported by your current hardware/software. These will be your "master" recordings. Make at least two copies, preferably onto different media types (ie: HDD, DVD, BD, tape, etc.) of your masters for storage. Then use a COPY of the master recording to create your files for current use. In other words, from a copy of the master recording, make you edits and convert to DVD (or whatever other media you are currently using).

    DVD will be around for ages yet, so that is a non issue. And irrelevant, as DVD is higher quality than VHS anyway. In any case, the idea being to have a high quality (preferably uncompressed) original for storage and longevity, which can be used to create copies for any format that you want to use (ie: DVD, avi, wmv, etc.). You don't want to put the tapes into format A now, and then later convert them to format B, and even later format C. Each conversion reduces quality.
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