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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

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2012
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    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

    Oddba11

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    Jim
    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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