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Digitizing Home Video Collection

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
For a Christmas gift to my parents, my siblings and I are digitizing our home movies. I'm in charge of gathering the equipment we will need for such an endevour. Thankfully, my parents still have working beta, 8mm, vhs, and any other formats that we've captured video throughout the years (actually decades). All of them have either s-video or composite (those video, R/L audio jacks usually marked in yellow, red, and white) outputs. The goal is to not only have the movies on DVD, but to also store and organize them in a way that will last for many, many years to come.

I think I will need some sort of analog capture device and hard drives. My question is who makes good capture devices with RCA and S-video inputs? We're not planning on doing any editing except for splitting up the video into multiple files and organizing them into dated folders. Is there good software I can download or will the stock software that usually comes with video capture devices be good enough? Finally, I want to store the video long-term. I know that DVDs can go bad after many years so I don't want to put all my eggs into that basket. I was thinking of storing the video on external, USB hard drives in a closet. The data will be copied and stored in two different physical locations for redundancy. Should I just get a few external, 1TB hard drives or should I invest in multi-drive enclosures where the data is replicated between drives (like a RAID configuration)? Would you suggest using several smaller drives or a few big drives? Or are hard drives a bad way to store data and is there something better? Finally, should the video be stored uncompressed or compressed?

Finally, the transfer work will be split between two people so whatever is suggested will need to be doubled. I'm not looking for bleeding-edge, professional transfer gear, but just something I can buy at a consumer electronics store (or online). I'm on a Windows XP machine.

Sorry if this is not the correct forum to ask such questions. If there is somewhere else where I will get better feedback, please let me know. Thanks!
post #2 of 3
I have been testing out those analog capture devices that automatically make it an MP4 file. My advice is don't do it this way, get a capture device that captures a full uncompressed DV file. It's much better for editing. I would definitely go for multiple back-up. Optical media like XDCAM discs are supposed to be the safest for archiving. Obviously, if every household in the family takes a copy, this will be even the safest method. I would also keep the tapes. The problem with only keeping it on tapes, is that nobody ever watches them. If people do watch them, the tapes wear out.
post #3 of 3
Wanna do it the best way? Get a Canopus unit, digitize your video to DV-AVI.

Search google whatever for Canopus and read the comments. The Canopus ADVC55, ADVC110, and ADVC300. The 55 unit can be had for about $200.

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