OT: Video -- digital archiving

Sivakatirswami katir at hindu.org
Thu Aug 22 15:14:01 EDT 2002

If you had 100's of physical video tapes ranging from old VHS (and some PAL)
tapes to high quality recordings on DV tape and your goal was to

A) digitally archive these where the assumption is that hard drive space
(raid array drives) for processing would not be an issue, but that, of
course, one would eventually have to offload the files to some storage
B) be able to view them in Metacard or Revolution for indexing, cataloging
C) Preserve original quality while still finding some compression scheme
that worked in B) above.
D) choose a format that could be later used to take clips for production
purposes to make new videos, without too much degradation thereby avoiding
the process of going back to the original physical tapes to pick up clips
and sequences.
E) subsequently be able to create both VHS tapes and DVD's of the video for
viewing by "the common man with a TV and a VCR/DVD player"

Then, how would you answer the following questions:

1) What devices can read in a VHS tape or a DV stream and record that
directly to a storage media? Thereby avoiding PC station/CPU time right from
the start of the archival process. The idea  being to create a
"hardware-slave" station where we simply pump physical tapes through the
device for several weeks and end up with stacks of DVD's... Which can be
loaded onto hard drives as needed for cataloging and production runs.

2) What format  would you want to store that video in assuming that you
wanted to maintain at least MPEG2 DVD quality video through all future
processes--assuming that inevitably the original tape will deteriorate
beyond retrievability.
3) Could the above format be then rendered from within Metacard/Revolution.
I guess this question is simply:  "Can Quicktime play it?"
4) Can MPEG4 help us?  MPEG 4 looks interesting, but i) does anyone know if
a high bit rate MPEG4 file *really* preserves 98% of the original raw DV
stream? ii)   if there are any hardware devices that will read in a VHS tape
or DV tape and  output directly to a DVD disc in MPEG4 format? There are
inexpensive machines ($700.00) that will  do this job going VHS to DVD
(MPEG2) but MPEG4 would should optimize space requirements... Again I don't
know if there is really that much difference between a hi-res MPEG4
formatted file compared to a high quality MPEG2 Video.... Perhaps they would
be about the same and MPEG4's claims to fame in terms of compression only
relate to lower quality bitRates.

Email me off list if  you think this is a bad thread for this forum... Or,
not if you think those here would like to also know about this... Then we
can keep the discussion out front. Or directly me to a better forum for
these questions if you think there is one...

Himalayan Academy Publications.

Editor's Assistant/Production Manager
katir at hindu.org 
www.HinduismToday.com, www.HimalayanAcademy.com,
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