How Do You Archive Old DV Footage?
August 13, 2011 9:10 PM   Subscribe

A/V Filter: What's the best long-term way to archive and view miniDV tapes recorded on a Sony video camera?

I shot about 20 miniDV tapes of standard definition footage while living in Japan in 2002. I love this footage and want to watch it for the rest of my life. The Sony camera I shot it on is now toast and my new Canon camera won't play the tapes without artefacting and distorting the footage.

Which of the following is the best way to archive the footage for repeat viewings over the years?

1) Digitize it all and back it up on multiple hard drives/the cloud. (But we're talking about 30 hours of footage here, lots of drive space)
2) Buy a miniDV deck to play back the tapes.
3) ?????

Would love to hear suggestions or other solutions I haven't thought of. Thanks!
posted by Bobby Bittman to Technology (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
30 hours of NTSC DV is only 350-400gb. 500gb drives can be had for $50 each. Buy a couple, copy your data and store in a safe location. Also burn DVDs. Check the integrity of your data every so often. And replace drives as needed. Redundancy is key here.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:28 PM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

First, I suspect that the reason the Canon won't play back is because you recorded in LP mode, which does not have a standard thus allowing each manufacturer to do it however they wanted. You will probably need to get a comparable Sony DV camcorder in order to get a clean playback.

Couldn't recall how DV footage typically translates to disk size so I mathed-up a couple dozen files I have laying around. Looks to average ~4 MB/second. One hour means ~13 GB.

Personally, I wouldn't put this in the cloud for two reasons: cost & time. You will have to pay for this much cloud storage and it will take a long time to upload (with many failures, if experience is any guide).

I would put them on a hard drive, then dupe the hard drive and put it in a safe deposit box.

DVDs are OK if you want an additional storage medium, as CPH sez above. Be aware that burned DVD/CD disks are subject to light degredation so store them in a light-proof container.
posted by trinity8-director at 9:38 PM on August 13, 2011

@trinity8-director is right about the LP mode; you'll need the same of very similar Sony camera to play them back. It'll be much cheaper than a Sony mini-DV deck. As soon as you find one, digitize the footage fully.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 1:17 AM on August 14, 2011

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