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Mini-DV Archive Project

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have a little project on my hands which involves taking all the Mini-DV video I have shot of my kids over the last 7 years.

I have been saving the tapes and moving the raw, uncompressed AVI files to my file server. This in turn has been backed up to Mozy.com with all my other important files. With Mozy changing their subscription plan I have noticed that this video is taking up more than 35% of my storage.

So I think it is time to convert this video to a more disk space friendly format while retaining much of the quality but greatly reducing file size.

I am planning using another HD to store the raw AVI files, but this will not be on my disk that gets backed up remotely. Only the newly converted files will get backed up remotely in case my house goes up in smoke.

So my question to all of you is what format should I convert to that meets the following requirements:
  1. Universally used and accepted (e.g. extenders, media players, etc...)
  2. Quality vs. Quantity
    • Achieves good quality but reduces disk space
    • This is the difficult one as they are inversely related I believe

So give me some suggestions. I also would ask that if you recommend a format, what resource (application) would you use to do the actual conversion?
post #2 of 14
H.264/MPEG-4 stored in MKV seems to be very efficient and high quality. Most all modern media players can handle MKV material.
You need a decent multi-core CPU (quad core works well) to process HD material if you don't want to tie up your computer for 12+ hours at a time for an hours worth of processed video.

Give "handbrake" a try for transcoding, there are many others out there too that do a good job. I like Handbrakes option for encoding to a set file output size and it's ability to add jobs to the que for batch processing.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I am playing with Handbrake right now. I have an Android phone and an IPad. I think I would like a format that either platform will play without re-conversion to another format. Playing with Handbrake I tried the REGULAR-NORMAL presets took one of the AVI files and put it on dropbox. Both Android and IPad can play the file and it looks good. I tried m4v and mkv containers and both work on IPad and Android. However, I noticed my Windows 7 laptop doesn't recognize the mkv file.

So the next question is, will it look good (as close to the original AVI) on my 52" flat-screen when I try to view through Windows Media Center? My Mini-DV camera is a Canon which is about 7 years old (got it when my first child was born). It gives me AVI files that are in 720x480 29fps. I also have a lot of AVI files that were taken with a Canon point and shoot (640x480 30fps). No HD stuff.
post #4 of 14
I would suggest you ask this in the camcorders forum as there have been a couple of people that have run through the same scenario as you.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...sprune=7&f=161

FWIW, I wouldn't use mkv as your archival format. It's real popular with the illegal torrenting crowd, but not nearly as well supported in the traditional NLE editing packages.

Finally, for me, I'd probably just buy a large HDD and load the native DV AVI files to it, then store it in a desk at work. I prefer to archive the best version, even for offsite backup.

-Suntan
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by poraxan View Post

will it look good (as close to the original AVI) on my 52" flat-screen when I try to view through Windows Media Center?

No,
, if you use Handbrake nothing good will come out of it. You need to get 60p H.264 out of your 60i Dv avi.
I have gone through similar process , with the exception that my media players cannot play DV avi so I was looking for substitute. Storage is not a problem today. I do not know if you realize that 1T WD passport with a carrying case or similar is a very reasonable storage, decent price, and you can leave it at your parents, friend house. Try to look now they get rid of those USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 upgrade), but USB 2.0 is enough for storage anyway and they might be on sale.

You can check out my video samples exactly created for this problem:
EDIT: previous download did not work for US IP adressess I think, this one should be ok,
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VP9916TA
zip containes 4 files files:
-1 minute of original NTSC DV avi (201MB)
-mpeg2 60i DVD compliant file (52.7 MB)
-H.264 60p 640x480 square pixel encoded by x264 with MeGui, 60p created by QTGMC , (33MB)
-avisynth script needed for encoding of that last H.264,
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinusss View Post

No,
, if you use Handbrake nothing good will come out of it. You need to get 60p H.264 out of your 60i Dv avi.
I have gone through similar process , with the exception that my media players cannot play DV avi so I was looking for substitute. Storage is not a problem today. I do not know if you realize that 1T WD passport with a carrying case or similar is a very reasonable storage, decent price, and you can leave it at your parents, friend house. Try to look now they get rid of those USB 2.0 (USB 3.0 upgrade), but USB 2.0 is enough for storage anyway and they might be on sale.

You can check out my video samples exactly created for this problem:
EDIT: previous download did not work for US IP adressess I think, this one should be ok,
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=VP9916TA
zip containes 4 files files:
-1 minute of original NTSC DV avi (201MB)
-mpeg2 60i DVD compliant file (52.7 MB)
-H.264 60p 640x480 square pixel encoded by x264 with MeGui, 60p created by QTGMC , (33MB)
-avisynth script needed for encoding of that last H.264,

What tool did you use to convert the files? NEVERMIND: AVISYNTH I think I see the writing on the wall. I will copy all my videos to an external and take it to the in-laws for backup. I will also transcode what is good to MP4 so I can play them on my IPad/Android or stream them to my media center.
post #7 of 14
I transferred bunch of miniDV tapes recently and although I'm storing all original .avi files, I used Ripbot (CQ=18 for best quality) to encode some of them into x264 mkv files to be able to play them in WDTV Live with quality equal to original avi files at quarter of the original size. I also transferred all my old VHS tapes the same way 2 years ago with excellent results and, IMO, this is the best and simplest solution. HTH.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

FWIW, I wouldn't use mkv as your archival format. It's real popular with the illegal torrenting crowd, but not nearly as well supported in the traditional NLE editing packages.
-Suntan

You always want to save your original raw files as recorded for re-encoding down the line. MKV would be for everyday use when you want to watch your home videos with friends and family on your media player.
It's pretty simple to archive your raw AVI's to BD50 or BD25 nowadays- so that's not really a problem to always have the source material at your disposal.

FWIW- I'm not sold on archiving valuable media on hard drives- just had a work associate bring in a 3.5" 250gb usb drive enclosure he had archived photos onto some time ago. It's giving "the click of death" sound on start-up. Took the drive out of the enclosure to try it directly attached to a motherboard- still "click of death"- the manufacture date on the drive was 2005. He only used it two or three times to fill it with photos, etc and it's dead. Hope he had backups on optical disc...
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by vtms View Post

I transferred bunch of miniDV tapes recently and although I'm storing all original .avi files, I used Ripbot (CQ=18 for best quality) to encode some of them into x264 mkv files to be able to play them in WDTV Live with quality equal to original avi files at quarter of the original size. I also transferred all my old VHS tapes the same way 2 years ago with excellent results and, IMO, this is the best and simplest solution. HTH.

Yes, Ripbot264 is one of those wonderful Avisynth, x264 based encoders as MeGui is too. MeGui has perhaps difficult learning curve.
Ripbot264 generates script itself so user doesn't have to have slightest idea how Avisynth works.On the top of it it all it accepts your own avs script , click "show script" , delete script generated in that window and paste your own. Leave couple of lines empty on the top of that script (some bug perhaps) and it will encode it just fine as well. Great tools.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by replayrob View Post

You always want to save your original raw files as recorded for re-encoding down the line. MKV would be for everyday use when you want to watch your home videos with friends and family on your media player.
It's pretty simple to archive your raw AVI's to BD50 or BD25 nowadays- so that's not really a problem to always have the source material at your disposal.

FWIW- I'm not sold on archiving valuable media on hard drives- just had a work associate bring in a 3.5" 250gb usb drive enclosure he had archived photos onto some time ago. It's giving "the click of death" sound on start-up. Took the drive out of the enclosure to try it directly attached to a motherboard- still "click of death"- the manufacture date on the drive was 2005. He only used it two or three times to fill it with photos, etc and it's dead. Hope he had backups on optical disc...

two HDD back ups is minimum, sure, stored independently ,perhaps not hooked up in the same power line,... it is constant keep up with those ....
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm not worried about backup. I've got a pretty meticulous backup process. The raw files are copied to a backup HD on a NAS that is RAID as well as backed up to an online backup service (Mozy). Mozy did work, because my HD did die last month and my backup hadn't run since July 2010, but I was able to get all my files back. I now have an email sent weekly for the backup process status.

My problem is that Mozy jacked up their rates. So i think i am going to continue with the RAW AVI files backed up locally to a HD as well as one tucked away at my parents.

I really just want all the videos to be accessible from

1. IPad
2. Android phones
3. Windows Media Center
4. Streamer (Brite-View CinemaTube)

I think having the converted files (MP4) available and backed up to Mozy will get me towards the goal of easy access for the above devices while having a much file size footprint.

I will take the raw AVI files offline.

Thanks!
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by poraxan View Post

I really just want all the videos to be accessible from

1. IPad
2. Android phones
3. Windows Media Center
4. Streamer (Brite-View CinemaTube)

Are you looking to just straight up convert all the footage to a smaller size, or you actually looking to edit the footage into something resembling a compelling home movie?

Straight conversion is relatively painless with a number of free apps (as has already been discussed.) But if you want to do something creative with the base footage, you really should look into purchasing an NLE (non-linear editing) package.

Some of the basic offerings are not very expensive at all and more-and-more are offering pretty compelling features.

-Suntan
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
At this point it is an exercise to straight up convert (and in general clean up the clutter) the video to have online access to it and allow multiple platforms the ability to play it.

I will keep the raw for possible future editing.
post #14 of 14
Ripbot converts to .mp4 too.
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