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How do you archive your P2 footage?


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#1 JD Marlow

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 08:40 AM

I'm debating whether to invest in a nice large external RAID-1 array for storage and archiving of P2 material shot w/ my HVX200A. I'm also considering buying a Blu-Ray burner and archiving to single or dual layer BD-R disks. Any opinions? Has anyone tried archiving with Blu-Ray with measurable success?

Edited by JD Marlow, 02 April 2009 - 08:41 AM.

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#2 Dino Giammattei

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 05:23 AM

I'm debating whether to invest in a nice large external RAID-1 array for storage and archiving of P2 material shot w/ my HVX200A. I'm also considering buying a Blu-Ray burner and archiving to single or dual layer BD-R disks. Any opinions? Has anyone tried archiving with Blu-Ray with measurable success?

Where I work, we use a Tanberg VXA tape machine. It's slow, and is a bit confusing to use, at least for a dummy like myself, but it does the job. It's also fairly inexpensive.
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#3 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 09:22 AM

I wonder if SD & compact flash memory cards are considered appropriate for data archive purposes? Is data written to them relatively secure for a long time (>20 yrs.)?

The cost of these cards continually decreases, and the reader/writer devices are already very inexpensive. For some archive situations, "fast" cards would not be necessary, further keeping costs low. Obviously these cards have no moving parts to wear out or jam, are relatively unaffected by humidity & temp, almost unbreakable, and are very small. Put 'em in a cheap protective case & forget 'em?

My guess is that because this tech is already inexpensive and widely available, and gets faster-cheaper-better every year (every few months?) these cards will be "readable" for many, many years simply because of the ready availability of hardware to read them.

However, if data recorded to these memory cards fades after relatively few years, or they are otherwise considered fragile, then never mind. :rolleyes:

All the best,

- Peter
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#4 Jim Hyslop

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 11:05 PM

I'm debating whether to invest in a nice large external RAID-1 array for storage and archiving of P2 material shot w/ my HVX200A. I'm also considering buying a Blu-Ray burner and archiving to single or dual layer BD-R disks. Any opinions? Has anyone tried archiving with Blu-Ray with measurable success?

The best archival medium to this day remains black-and-white film that's properly stored. So for best longevity, do a three-colour separation film-out onto black & white film, and store the films in a climate controlled archival vault. But I'm assuming you, like me, don't have the budget for that :-)

I wouldn't use a RAID device, or any magnetic media for that matter, for long-term storage and archiving. Hard drives are subject to mechanical failure if left powered up, and apparently no hard drive manufacturers have actually tested data longevity if the drive is left unpowered for long periods (see this discussion for details). All magnetic media lose their information over time.

I did a quick google, and the figure I saw quoted for DVD lifetime is only a year and a half. Not great for archiving! I don't know about Blu-Ray, but I believe it also uses organic dyes, so I suspect it's probably about the same life expectancy.

I like Peter's suggestion about using flash memory. Like he suggested, they're fairly cheap, small, and have very modest environmental requirements. It appears flash card data retention is about 10 years. The card itself is still good, so you can copy the data off, erase the card, then copy data back onto it and you're good for another 10 years.

The better the quality of cards, the more likely they will retain data, so it's definitely worth spending the extra bucks to safeguard your footage.

The biggest danger I can see with flash memory is the format becoming obsolete. 10 years from now your CF card may still have great data, but will you be able to find something that can read a CF card? Who knows what formats will be around in 10 years? Mind you, that danger is present for all digital formats, so I guess it's kind of a straw-man argument.

So, at the moment the best strategy I can see is to copy the data onto flash cards, and to re-copy them every 7 or 8 years (just to be safe I wouldn't wait the whole 10 years - you never know how much the manufacturers might exaggerate their claims). Keep an eye on flash memory formats, and if it appears your format is becoming obsolete get some cards of the new format and copy the data over, even if it's only been a couple of years since you last copied the cards.

Whatever route you choose, I'd make at least two copies, stored in different geographic areas.
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#5 Jim Keller

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 08:58 PM

We archive to DVDs. When the contents of the card are larger than the capacity of a dual-layer DVD, I simply create a second DVD with a folder on it that's called "Add to such-and-such folder" and dump some of the additional files there. We haven't had any problems, but of course, we've only been doing this for a few years now. To that end, I suspect a Blue burner would serve your needs adequately, assuming the time eaten up in a burn and then a transfer back to the hard drive isn't an issue for you.
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#6 Kevin Zanit

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:03 AM

The best electronic archival medium I am aware of is LTO tape. LTO4 is the latest generation. Each tape is 800gb native, 1.6tb compressed. The machines are fairly expensive, but the tapes are not too bad and go down in price all the time. It is also very fast, can read/ write at up 240MB/s.

I would still trust it over just about everything else, it has been the standard archival medium for a very long time, with an accepted lifespan of up to 30 years or so. To date, most LTO formats have been backwards compatible as well.

Kevin Zanit
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#7 JD Marlow

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 11:01 PM

The best electronic archival medium I am aware of is LTO tape. LTO4 is the latest generation. Each tape is 800gb native, 1.6tb compressed. The machines are fairly expensive, but the tapes are not too bad and go down in price all the time. It is also very fast, can read/ write at up 240MB/s.

I would still trust it over just about everything else, it has been the standard archival medium for a very long time, with an accepted lifespan of up to 30 years or so. To date, most LTO formats have been backwards compatible as well.

Kevin Zanit



I would agree that LTO is really the best for reliability, size, and speed. But assuming I can't afford an LTO drive, and I have no problem waiting overnight for a 50GB DL BD-R to burn, is there any better, less expensive option? I don't like how expensive BD-R's (much less BD-REs) are per disc, but they're obviously huge so they make themselves worth it over time.

I've also read contrary information regarding Blu-Ray discs that they don't use dyes like normal DVDs, so they have the potential to live longer. Has anyone else have solid info on the shelf life of DVDs or Blu-Ray discs?
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#8 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 09:19 PM

Especially for archiving relatively large quantities of data, LTO tape is a fantastic, industry-standard solution.

However, if one needs to archive relatively few "P2-sized" chunks of data on a low budget, SD/compact flash cards are looking to be a viable option.

According to a document on SanDisk's website, their current SD/compact flash memory card products are "rated" for 100+ years of life:

"MTBF (@ 25 C) >1,000,000 hours"

See page "2-4" in the PDF at:
http://www.sandisk.c...lashPMv12.0.pdf

Manufacturers' MTBF ratings should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. However, if the above is true then data recorded on a SD card might be good for at least several decades.

(Note that the doc doesn't say data on a card won't fade away for 100 years. Instead the doc might be saying the card can be _used_ for >100 years. Big difference.)

To improve the chances of the data contained on your SD card being read by future generations yet unborn, you might print-out this PDF on acid-free paper and store it together with the SD cards. The technical info contained in this doc should enable a clever, future junior computer geek to cobble together a SD card reader out of inexpensive materials if required. :-)

Whereas by comparison a functional LTO tape machine -- capable of reading a crumbling LTO tape -- is less likely to be readily (and cheaply) available several decades from now. And it's even less likely anyone's going to cobble together a functional LTO machine to play back relatively low-value data.

All the best,

- Peter

P.S.: Don't try this at home kids!: :-)
http://ex-blog.panas...itex08_370.html
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