Is tape dead?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by GaryT, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. GaryT

    GaryT Guest

    A few years ago when I purchased a new camera I went with a Canon HV30,
    knowing that the DV tape should be good for decades with proper storage.
    Purely digital formats (AVCHD, etc.) seem to have since become the norm. I
    believe hard drives, flash, home burned DVDs and such media have higher
    potential for failure and data loss so I was wondering how you all are
    currently archiving your files.
    GaryT, Jan 17, 2014
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  2. GaryT

    mkujbida Guest

    I went HD two years ago and the cameras I got were SD card only. I now back up everything to two different external hard drives.

    mkujbida, Jan 17, 2014
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  3. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    It much easier and quicker to transfer video from a SD card or a Hard drive
    if the camera has a hard drive than from DV tape. Magnetic tape can be
    accidentally destroyed if it comes in contact with magnetic fields. I have
    not had any problems in storing video to DVD. Its recommended that you use
    a well known brand and check out other brands on the internet to find out
    if they are reliable. When I last checked there was only one video camera
    that used DV tape being sold in a camera shop. The other cameras used a SD
    card or had solid state memory built into the video camera.

    I have transferred my SD tapes to either DVD or external hard drives.
    If your camera has a problem that can't be fixed then how are you going to
    play your SD tapes. I've heard of some people having trouble in finding a
    second hand video camera so they could play the media they recorded on.
    Brian, Jan 18, 2014
  4. Tape, *properly-stored*, is still one of the best archiving
    media. Perhaps the best may be (notice the "uncertainty"
    expressed here...;-) "pressed" (NOT home-made!) optical disks,
    and home-made "Stone" M-Disc optical DVDs and Blu-rays, and
    "gold" optical disks - plus copies on **multiple** hard-drives
    that are properly-stored, checked, and "exercised". Worst are
    home-made standard CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, and copies made on
    solid-state memory devices. So, I *WOULD NOT* recommend using
    home-made DVDs as a means for archiving anything, and hard-drive
    copies need to be in multiples, with all being checked
    occasionally, a time-consuming operation... An alternative for
    video/film is carefully processed and stored B&W film (or the
    similar Technicolor process for color), but...........! 8^)
    David Ruether, Jan 18, 2014
  5. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    I'm still looking for a program that can check video files for errors. As
    you say it can be time consuming (and boring) if you were to visually play
    back all your stored videos to check for errors.

    Have you had trouble with home made DVD's in the past David?
    Brian, Jan 18, 2014
  6. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    I'm still looking for a program that can check video files for errors.

    Assuming you know the videos are good to start with, I use a free utility
    called "Exact File".

    It generates MD5 or other hashes for a file. By checking the hash again at
    a later date, you can quickly determine if even a single bit has changed in
    the file.

    I use the test digest option to create a file containing hashes for all
    videos in a folder. It also saves a small test program you can use to
    quickly verify the videos.

    If I burn the videos to a DVD or Blu-Ray, I include the exactfile test
    program and hash digest so I can verify the integrity of the videos.
    I can't speak for David, but I had numerous DVD failures in the past. I was
    using them for backups with a program that filled each disc as full as
    possible. DVD's tend to degrade from the outer edge in, so the more data
    that was stored on the disc, the more likely it was to be corrupted. I
    learned the hard way not to trust DVD's for archiving.

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 18, 2014
  7. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    Hi Gary,
    Redundancy is key, regardless of what method you use to archive your
    videos. Even if you had a storage medium that was completely foolproof,
    guaranteed not to lose data in 20 billion years, you could still lose it,
    step on it and break it, have it destroyed in a fire, or someone could
    steal it.

    Copy 1: I store all my videos on my computers hard drive. This gives me
    quick access, and I use a network media streamer that allows us to watch
    our videos in our living room.

    Copy 2: I backup nightly to an external USB hard drive. This backup is
    mostly for the accidental "oops" recovery, than true archiving. It's
    still vulnerable to viruses, power surges, etc. since it's always

    Copy 3: Once a month or so I swap my local external USB drive with a
    second drive I keep in the safe deposit box. This offers protection in
    case my entire computer is destroyed by fire or flood, or if my computer
    equipment was stolen. Swapping the drives also ensures they are up to
    date and keeps the mechanical mechanisms from sticking due to unuse.

    Copy 4: I also burn my video files to a Blu-Ray data disc (not playable
    in a Blu-Ray player). If I don't check my videos routinely before each
    backup (I don't), it's possible a video could be corrupted on my main
    hard drive (copy 1). The altered file then migrates to each of the
    backups, and I may not realize all three copies are corrupt until it's
    too late. The Blu-Ray disc gives me another layer of protection that is
    not vulnerable to change. I still wouldn't rely on a BluRay disc as the
    sole backup method.

    In my case, the first three copies are totally automated. I don't need to
    do anything to ensure new files are backed up. I only need to burn a new
    Blu-Ray disc when I add new videos, or if I discover a disc has failed
    (would need to check it periodically with ExactFile to determine that).

    I have 50 years of video memories I do not want to lose. So redundant
    backups are very important to me (and really not that much work or

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 18, 2014
  8. Good piece and advice - thanks!
    David Ruether, Jan 18, 2014
  9. Don't forget that the film base matters :)

    ....I'm thinking of all those old acetate[1] films that degenerated in
    storage :-(

    Today, of course, that's really a moot point, because no one is using
    acetate any more.

    [1] If I misstated the material's name, then please be so kind as to
    mentally subsitute the correct name (I'm just being lazy).
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 18, 2014
  10. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    I use to store video on DVD's but you can only store 2 hours of video or
    4.3 GB of data on a single layer DVD so these days I backup from my
    computer to external hard drives, which is faster and easier than writing
    to DVD's. If my computers hard drive gets too full then I move the files
    off the computers drive to a second External hard drive. So at all times I
    have two copies of my files. If I want to play my video camera videos then
    I copy the video to a portable hard drive which is plugged into a media
    player which is plugged into my TV. If I want to give someone a copy of a
    video from my camera then I'll burn a DVD. If its a video I want to enter
    into a competition or to play at someones place then I'll burn a DVD.

    When copying a video file to an external hard drive I turn off most
    background programs including the antivirus program that could try and
    interfere with the copying. I disconnect from the internet and wait until
    the the files have finished copying before using my computer again.

    But no matter what method you use things can go wrong.
    Brian, Jan 19, 2014
  11. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    If you don't mind others seeing your video you could put it on YouTube were
    it should stay for a long time.
    Keeping things in different locations could help.

    I think the stoneage men had the right idea about craving things into stone
    Brian, Jan 19, 2014
  12. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    Blu-Ray discs let you store about 25GB per disc, but it's hard to beat the
    speed and cost of external hard drives.
    As I mentioned, I stream videos over my home network using a network media
    player (TVIX N6600 in my case). This lets me watch any video on my computer
    hard drive instantly without needing to copy files first.

    I don't have a network connection in our bedroom, so I picked up a Micca
    Speck media player. It's very inexpensive, smaller than a deck of cards,
    and works great. I copied many of our favorite videos to a 32GB SD card,
    and play the videos from that:
    I use "Robocopy" with Windows task scheduler to automatically sync my video
    files to an external hard drive every night:

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 19, 2014
  13. GaryT

    Gavino Guest

    But YouTube will re-encode the video.
    At best, this would be a lower quality fallback, not a primary backup.
    Gavino, Jan 19, 2014
  14. Consider using TinyURL or another such URL shrinking service. It's easy
    and it gets around breaking long URLs like that.
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 19, 2014
  15. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    Hi Gene,
    Maybe it's just me, but I don't trust shortened URL's. You never really
    know where you'll end up when you click one of those. It could be Amazon or
    Google, or it could be a virus or porn site.

    I really have to trust the poster before I will click through a shortened
    URL, and even then I avoid it.

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 20, 2014
  16. There's a trick you can use that can help (it is a tiny bit of work).

    This is for TinyURL - I don't know how to do it in the other URL

    Let's say the TinyURL is (which I just made
    for this exercise from your other link, which wasn't broken in my

    Add the word preview. (include the dot) after the slashes like so:

    Click on that and you will see this:

    Preview of
    This TinyURL redirects to:

    Proceed to this site.

    The last line is a link; if you rest your cursor on it, you'll see (in
    your status bar or whatever) that they're not lying.

    Also, if you generate a TinyURL of your own, you will have an
    opportunmity to generate the preview link to paste in your post.
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 20, 2014
  17. BTW - I'd rather click on a shortened URL than try to reconstruct a
    b0rken link :)
    Gene E. Bloch, Jan 20, 2014
  18. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    HerHusband, Jan 21, 2014
  19. GaryT

    Brian Guest

    I tend to see things differently.
    Tapes can be damaged if exposed to magnetic fields.
    They deteriorate over time. I have some VHS tapes I can no longer play
    If something goes wrong then the tape can get damaged in the hardware.
    Videotapes lose their magnetic signal over time, quality and color of your
    memories deteriorate.
    The tape grows brittle and eventually breaks – even when sitting on a
    Moss can appear on tapes.
    Some tapes can shed their coating. I mainly had this happen with old
    cassette audio tapes. I had to clean the tape heads a lot.

    My main storage for large size videos is external hard drives.
    I have copied my DV Tapes to a computer file on the computer and have
    copied this to an external hard drive.
    I usually have a copy of the same video on two external hard drives.

    The equipment to play back the tape may not be supported much longer so if
    your equipment breaks down then it might not be able to be repaired making
    it difficult to find a way to play back your tapes.

    I have never heard of a hard drive freezing from not being used. Where did
    you get your information from?
    Brian, Jan 26, 2014
  20. GaryT

    HerHusband Guest

    Good thought, but I was not talking about final, edited footage, but
    Unless you frequently go back and edit old footage again, it doesn't make
    sense to archive hours of video if you're only interested in 10 minutes of

    I always make my edits and archive the final video. In the last 25 years I
    have NEVER needed to go back and edit old footage. If I didn't want it
    then, it's unlikely I would want it now. By storing the video in a common
    high bitrate format (I use MPEG2), I haven't needed to convert the video to
    other formats yet either.

    That said, if you still can't bear to part with the original footage, at
    least edit out all the useless clips in the video. I always shoot extra
    video at the start and end of each clip, sometimes the lighting makes a
    clip unusable, a person stands in front of the camera, I accidentally hit
    record and have 20 minutes of the ground and sky, etc. Cutting out all of
    that useless video before archiving can save a lot of storage space.

    Anthony Watson
    HerHusband, Jan 26, 2014
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