Latest post Fri, Mar 22 2019 9:59 PM by jwrl. 6 replies.
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  • Mon, Feb 11 2019 8:30 PM

    • Richard Riley
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    • Joined on Wed, Jan 11 2012
    • Evansville, IN
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    Digitizing for Archive

    Our company owner wants ot get read of our tape library. He doesn't want to keep supporting tape machines. We have 20 plus years of Standard Definition and High Definition footage.

    I'm thinking of digitizing the HD footage at DNX145 and then export DNX145 QT files to be stored and backed up on multiple hard drives. 95% of our HD footage is shot on DVCPro HD tapes. with a mixture of 1080 and 720 formats. I am planning to digitize in the native formats the the footage was shot in.

    I planning to digitize the SD footage at MXF 1:1 and export MXF Qt files for backup. Has anyone else been tasked with something similar and do you have any words of wisdom I need to know before we embark on this many months project.


    Richard R.

    Avid DS 11.0.2 XW8600 Dual Quad Cores, 12 Gig Ram [view my complete system specs]
  • Tue, Feb 12 2019 3:35 PM In reply to

    • DStone
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    Re: Digitizing for Archive

    I've been doing this for my personal tape library (digital and analog, about 26 years of stuff). For the analog tapes, I'm encoding to good, old fashioned, DV. I'm actually just backing up the original DV/HDV files onto BluRay 50Gb disks; no transcodes.

    I'd like to have something like the Sony ODS to do the backup, but I can't justify the expense. M-Disc is the next best alternative. It's expensive ($8 - $10 per disc, depending on how many ordered) for a 100Gb disc, but they don't wear out or fade over time.

    The problem with hard drives is all hard drives eventually fail. I recently went back to a bunch of IDE drives I have to salvage what I could. These were all packed away in running condition. One drive has a catastrophic failure, and another is intermitant (but I got what I wanted). That's the risk you take with mechanical drives packed away for years.

    The lifetime for SSDs is still questionable. They haven't been around long enough to know for certain how long they'll last.

    I'm still waiting for them to perfect Glass storage; 1000+ years guaranteed. Assuming you don't drop the glass. Geeked

    For long term storage, you should really check out the Sony ODS backup system. The media is reasonably priced (3.3Tb for under $200), and retrieval speed is good. The writer is expensive, but it's probably worth the expense.

    The only other large archive method is using LTO tapes. They're cheaper than the ODS, and a LTO-6 cartdridge (~ $65) holds 6TB uncompressed. Transfer speeds are slower of course, but if you're looking for offline storage this is a good solution.

    DIY quad core I7-4790K, 32Gb, NVidia GTX 970 4GB, Win 10 Pro, MC(generally the latest or the one just before), MC 7.x [view my complete system specs]

    Dave S.

  • Tue, Feb 12 2019 5:07 PM In reply to

    • jef
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    Re: Digitizing for Archive

    Archiving is a big commitment of time and resources.  You have to make some really hard decisions.  For example spinning discs or LTO?

    Here is one thing to think about - Quicktime.

    Most archivists do not support the idea of proprietary formats.  Quicktime being one.  Why?  The owner of the format can change the rules about it's usage at any time.  Look how Apple totally dropped support for Quicktime on Windows.

    With that in mind, I would - at minimum - save your DNx 145 files as MXF OP1a files.  MXF is an open standard.

    For me the big issue is SD.  I have tried what you suggest but it is not that simple.  I have had issues with MXF 1:1 files saved as .mov not being readable by other tools.  And that is a bad idea for any archive.

    And if you want to avoid Quicktime as noted above you are really in a bind.  Avid has not really made a DNx type codec for SD.  In theory you can use DNx HR as it can be any frame size.  BUT by design it only support progressive.  Almost all SD will be interlace.  It MIGHT work, but you are now working outside of the codec design.

    So I have not come up with any real long term solution for SD.  And even though it violates what I wrote about Quicktime I am leaning toward using ProResHQ for SD only as a short term solution.

    Long term you need to budget for the maintenance and refreshing of your digital archive.  People tend to not really think out the costs of this.  For a true archive you need to have two copies in two locations.  And every so many years both copies need to be migrated to new media.  For as long as there is a financially sound reason to do so.

    These are things to think through before starting.  There is no one "approved" method.  You have to figure out what will work for you.

    Please share what you decide to do.  I am always gathering info on how people handle this.

    Good Luck,


    Avid DS 11.0.2 R.I.P | MC "Well, it depends ..." mostly 8.11.0 but playing w 2018.12.6|OS 10.14.x - iMac 2017 - home system MacPro Dual 2.8 8core... [view my complete system specs]


    Jef Huey

    Senior Editor

    Old Stuff

  • Tue, Feb 12 2019 5:35 PM In reply to

    • Richard Riley
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, Jan 11 2012
    • Evansville, IN
    • Posts 20
    • Points 255

    Re: Digitizing for Archive

    Great insight Jef, thank you.

    Once I can settle on an export codec my plans are to buy 2 X 2TB HDD and fill them up to 1.5TB. They will mirror each other. We also have an LTO Tape drive that will store 1.5TB per tape. This would be our third copy. My ultimate goal is to throw all of the footage onto a Raid 6 backup system as well. So all in all there would be 4 copies of the footage. Located at different locations of course. The HD Footage is the easiest. Your right MXF Op1a 145mb is what I was planning to do. We have about 250 tapes so I am thinking we have around 10TB of footage. The SD is a different story. We have more than a thousand tapes. 
    Avid DS 11.0.2 XW8600 Dual Quad Cores, 12 Gig Ram [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Mar 8 2019 1:10 PM In reply to

    • jeryan
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 5 2006
    • Posts 16
    • Points 160
    • Avid Employee

    Re: Digitizing for Archive

    If you're willing to upload, look at Azure Cloud storage.  Microsoft doesn't charge for upload bandwidth.  They do charge for download bandwidth, so be aware of that.

    Do the math and see what's cheaper - budgetting for the Azure subscription as an operational expense or the initial capital expense of the HDDs, backups, etc. with periodic drive checks and replacements.

    Best regards,


  • Fri, Mar 22 2019 5:07 PM In reply to

    • aVienna
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    • Joined on Fri, Jul 21 2006
    • Vienna
    • Posts 66
    • Points 750

    Re: Digitizing for Archive

    Avid DNxHD and DNxHR and many other formats affected

    1) MC Symphony 2018.12.3, HP Z420: Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2, 6 cores @3.50GHz, 40GB RAM, Windows 10 Pro, Z TurboDrive 256GB as system disc, Thunderbolt 2... [view my complete system specs]
  • Fri, Mar 22 2019 9:59 PM In reply to

    • jwrl
    • Top 25 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 13 2005
    • Melbourne, Australia
    • Posts 8,388
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    Re: Digitizing for Archive

    Looks like another attempt by Apple to force people to only use their products.

    MC 7.0.4 - Asus P6T Deluxe V2 mobo - Intel i7 920 2.66GHz - Windows 7 Ult64 SP1 - nVidia Quadro FX 1800 - 16 Gbyte low latency DDR3 RAM - Internal 8 Tb... [view my complete system specs]
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