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Best Way To Store Digital Video For 20 Years? 805

An anonymous reader writes "My kid is now 1 year old and I already have 100G of digital video (stored on DVDs, DVD quality) and photos. How should I store it so that it's still readable 10 to 20 years from now? Will DVDs stil be around, and readable, 10 years from now? Should I plan for technology changes every 5 to 10 years (DVD->Blue-ray->whatever)? Is optical storage better, or should I try to use hard drives (making technology changes automatic)? And, if the answer is optical, how do you store optical disks so that they last?"
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Best Way To Store Digital Video For 20 Years?

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  • My method (Score:5, Interesting)

    by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:00PM (#23877819) Journal
    Pictures: Backed up to HDD, DVD and Flickr. For $24.95, it's cheap offline backup and the grandparents love it.

    Movies: Taken on MiniDV, backed up to HDD.

    The only worry I have is that the MiniDV's and HDD are in the same house although they are stored in separate locations. But every picture is backed up offsite.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Yea, never dismiss the old standard of posting it online and making storage someone else's problem.

      But yea, if you are serious about storing, store on HDD, and keep an offsite backup. If you're careful with your offsites (i.e. you make a new FULL backup on a semi-regular basis), you can use DVDs, but like everyone else has already said, optical media is a crapshoot, and if you depend on it, you can depend on it letting you down.

      Considering that you're still under a TB, I'd invest in a pair of externals, and

  • Gold Disks (Score:5, Informative)

    by stretchpuppy ( 1304751 ) <`stretchpuppy' `at' `'> on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:00PM (#23877823)

    Claim up to 300 years. []

    • Re:Gold Disks (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:59PM (#23878933) Homepage

      Claim up to 300 years.
      On a very nice theoretic assumption on accelerated aging from disks stored less than a year. I expect at that age it's more than simple temperature and humidity factors that come to play, but I'm sure the company is happy to be long gone with your money before you start complaining in a few decades. Sure it might be good but it's hardly a proven technology.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trentfoley ( 226635 )

      The wording here is what is important.

      Up to 300 years includes 1 day. Since there is no minimum given, it is a semantically void promise. The only thing guaranteed is that your data will not last 300 or more years.

      It is like the "Save up to 50% and more" sales. What does that really mean?

    • by uncqual ( 836337 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @06:19PM (#23880003)
      Be careful though... When burning these, it's critical that you only use gold [USB, SATA, PATA] cables to connect your burner to your computer. Otherwise the bits on the media will degrade quickly due to galvanic corrosion.
  • by boldi ( 100534 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:02PM (#23877859)

    Currently, There is no better way than store a backup on DVD and store the main data on a raid-1 disk set. Move the raid disk set to new disks every few years.

    All the other technologies are more expensive, and even possibly more dangerous (loss of data due incompatibilies or for any other reason).

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:02PM (#23877875)
    In the department I work for we typically use archival DVDs in a temperature and humidity controlled room (also used to store photos, slides, and vellum). For the really important ones I'll copy the disc onto a server in the same room as an ISO. Every month I mirror the data drive onto an offsite server in another building on campus. It's not fool-proof and it's pretty expensive but it has worked for about 8 years now.
  • Optical (Score:4, Funny)

    by PawNtheSandman ( 1238854 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:03PM (#23877877)
    Well why not optical platters? We have 50 year retainment requirements for certain documents and were looking at Plasmon optical devices. They claim it will still be readable and are the only type of backup media that survived both 9/11 and Katrina. Although when I asked if it was the same cartridge that survived both, the vendor gave me a dirty look. I think though you would be fine with dvd-r and just make a new copy every 5 years.
  • Optical? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:03PM (#23877883)

    Only wimps use optical media, _real_ men just upload their important stuff on ftp and let the rest of the world mirror it.

  • groovy man (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FizzGiGG ( 865653 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:03PM (#23877885)
    Store the media on whatever the current standard is. Think about it, what if you had a closet full of tape reals that had all of your old sweet groovy 60's music? What would you do with that now?
  • Storage array. (Score:5, Informative)

    by ( 1195047 ) <> on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:03PM (#23877889) Homepage Journal
    Build a simple storage array with RAID from a barbones PC, your favorite Linux distro, configured for fault-tolerant RAID. It doesn't have to be complicated, and it doesn't have to be powered on unless you're actually pushing data to it.

    Every couple of years, you can add an extra couple of drives. With drive capacities increasing as fast as they are, cost shouldn't be a huge issue.
    • Build a simple storage array with RAID from a barbones PC, your favorite Linux distro, configured for fault-tolerant RAID.

      If you're not a Linux person, that *IS* complicated by default.

      Not that it would really be less complicated with Windows, but only a Linux person wouldn't recognize the inherent complication of RAID.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PFAK ( 524350 ) *

        You could always use FreeNAS [], which is slightly less complicated and can fit on a USB Key.

        FreeNAS is a free NAS (Network-Attached Storage) server, supporting: CIFS (samba), FTP, NFS, AFP, RSYNC, iSCSI protocols, S.M.A.R.T., local user authentication, Software RAID (0,1,5) with a Full WEB configuration interface. FreeNAS takes less than 32MB once installed on Compact Flash, hard drive or USB key.

  • Use backups (Score:5, Informative)

    by z00_miak ( 1305831 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:05PM (#23877911)

    Regardless of the methods you choose, I would highly recommend using at least two different media.

    If these videos are important enough to be stored for 10 to 20 years, then they are important enough to be backed up - it is always difficult to foresee long term failures in any technology. If you read the article on tin whiskers [] they mentioned that some failures can not be tested using short time span methods.

  • a few years ago, this would have been exorbitantly expensive overkill, but this stuff keeps getting cheaper by the day

    with raid5, your videos will last forever, as long as someone keeps replacing the dead drives

    any other media format is physically static, which can degrade. raid5 ensures that the files live on after the physical components degrade, as long as new drives are continually added to the system

    and when the technology becomes ancient and archaic, simply move the files over and upgrade (obviously to a new file format as well)

    as long as some continually performs low level maintenance, your videos will last forever

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:06PM (#23877935) Homepage Journal

    Use multiple different media, with redudancy.

    Store it on HDDs. Mirrored RAID like RAID 1 or RAID 10 is preferred. but even RAID 5 buys you some extra integrity protection.

    Then back it up. CDs. DVDs. BluRay. Tape. Whatever. Multiple times, multiple ways. Every few years do some copies onto new media.

    Keep at least one copy off of your premises. A safe deposit box might be good.

  • Diversify. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lux ( 49200 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:06PM (#23877947)

    If you can afford it, I'd recommend a utility computing platform, like Amazon S3 or whatever Google's offering in that space. Verify that they're built out for long-term, fault-tolerant storage (ie: replication + automated verification and repair.)

    I wouldn't trust that 100%, though, so keep them locally as well.

  • by Roskolnikov ( 68772 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:07PM (#23877967)

    Video I posted 20 years ago is still there....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:08PM (#23877985)

    Instead of hiding behind the camera the whole time, actually interact and play with your kid. The videos and memories aren't as interesting as who the kid will become.

  • by pwnies ( 1034518 ) * <> on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:08PM (#23878005) Homepage Journal
    1. Rename to "xxx 18yr old bj strip"
    2. Upload to P2P protocol of choice.
    Let it proliferate around the internet and retrieve it when necessary.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      hey where can I get that file?

    • by schmiddy ( 599730 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @09:36PM (#23881561) Homepage Journal

      1. Rename to "xxx 18yr old bj strip" 2. Upload to P2P protocol of choice.

      That's not quite good enough. When I wanted to back up drafts of my master's thesis, this is what I did.

      1.) Assign each revision (or tape, in your case) a unique word combination of bizarre sexual acts. For instance "Ostrich feces smeared by Horny Redhead Orangutan Schoolgirls."
      2.) Keep the list of mappings of backed-up files to unique names very, very safe. Keep the list, written down is fine, in a safe deposit box at one or more locations.
      3.) Upload the "porn videos" to Usenet, Kazaa, Gnutella, etc.

      I think you'll find this backup method more than sufficient to withstand fire, flood, meteors, and other acts of God. It sure saved my butt several times when I needed to find old versions of my thesis to build on in future work. If you want to see the final draft of my thesis, just search for "Crazy teen Lllama Sucking Blonde Elephant". There's about a million copies out there, just rename to .pdf.

      For extra points, is anyone out there willing to write automated software to perform such backups? I'm thinking, you have the user enter a few dozen unique animal names, sexual acts, etc. Then, everytime you do an SVN commit, the backup manager chooses a unique combination of words, renames to .avi, and uploads to the usual locations.

  • I sure hope you're shooting in 1080p and RAW, because otherwise your kid must think everyone has cameras growing out of their skulls... Seriously, put down the camera and live a little.

    As for storage, I would personally go through and put together maybe a movie and and picture viewer DVD for each year. And then have those professionally mastered onto pressed discs. Keep those in your fire-proof storage and use burned copies for everyday (I hope not) use and sending to relatives and what not.

    • by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:13PM (#23878109) Journal
      100G is less than 10 hours of MiniDV footage. Birthday parties, time with the grandparents, 10 hours over the course of a year goes by fast.
    • by pruss ( 246395 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:16PM (#23878147) Homepage

      I have not been able to find anybody willing to press discs in quantities lower than about 150. Pressing discs in quantities of, say, 5 would be a nice service for archival purposes, but it would presumably be expensive, since I think the setup costs for pressing discs are high.

  • Still readable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:09PM (#23878013) Homepage
    As the other guy mentioned, CDs are still readable, almost 20 years later. However, they didn't have a viable alternative until about 10 years ago. I think that you will easily be able to find a DVD drive for many years to come, at least the next 20. The problem becomes ensuring that the actual media doesn't get scratched. I wouldn't trust DVDs to last that long, even if you just leave them on a shelf, away from the sunlight. If I was really interested in saving the stuff, I would put it on hard disks with at least 1 redundant copy, if not 2, stored in different places, and transfer over every 3-4 years. Still, it's going to be a lot of data. Your kid is only 1, and you already have 100 GB of stuff. Just think about how much that will balloon to once the kid has an attention span of more than 43 seconds. The first hockey game, all the school plays, all the other junk you could record.

    Personally, I just don't bother with recording much. My wife gets on my case for not taking a lot of pictures with the kids, but I'd rather be interacting and paying attention, rather than trying to ensure we have everything recorded. Sure sometimes like during school plays you can record and not miss anything, but a lot of times, I find when I'm trying to take videos, or photos, I end up missing out on the actual fun.
  • isn't long term storage, though it may have it. The strength is that you can reproduce it with high fidelity to the original numberous times.

    The best way to store digital vidio for 20 years is to make numerous copies of it. 10Gigs is about 3 DVD's at the lowest density. Add a dvd of checksum files (something like a PAR []) and you should still be able to make five sets for under $20 if you are shopping around for DVD media.

    Once a year or three, load up one of the sets and run it through the checksums. Correct any errors discovered via the checksums and copies from the other sets, and make another five sets.

    Volia. Repeatable as long as there is any sort of cheap digital recording media that can easily fit your files out there.

    The real question is how you do this when you have 1,000 Gig to backup.
  • Use S3 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 42forty-two42 ( 532340 ) <`bdonlan' `at' `'> on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:13PM (#23878093) Homepage Journal
    With S3 [] you'd pay $15/mo (+bandwidth) to have it hosted online, instantly accessible. Will it still be around 20 years from now? One can't be certain, but if not, I'm sure you'll have enough warning to copy things off to another medium, and I'm sure there'll be similar services to take its place if need be.
  • by veganboyjosh ( 896761 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:19PM (#23878213)
    No one's brought it up yet, so I will... As the price/convenience/long term compatibility and viability of storage goes down and down, I wonder to what end we will end up keeping this stuff? How many hours of video that you're paying (in time, money, security against fire/damage/loss, etc) to keep up you're actually going to watch? Sure, it's nice to have every single event in your child's life on demand at the touch of a button/click of a mouse, but aren't just plain old memories ok? Does his entire life have to be recorded and watchable?

    At some point, I came to the realization that I had downloaded over 6 solid months worth of music. This doesn't include CD's, LP's, or 7 inch records, of which I probably have 1000 total. If I were able to put all that music on a big loop, and not repeat anything, I'm thinking it would last over 12 months. Some of these I'll probably never listen to. I'm thinking the same is true for the submitter's videos.

    My parents have a big box of photographs from their childhoods, as well as those of their parents. There are some great photos in that box, and I could and have spent hours going through them. Each time I do, I make a mental note that one day I'll scan them and make them digital. Then I realize that we only drag out that box once or twice a year, and never do anything with the photos anyway, and resign to scan them once it gets even cheaper.
    • by dwye ( 1127395 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @06:20PM (#23880023)

      > Sure, it's nice to have every single event in
      > your child's life on demand at the touch of a
      > button/click of a mouse, but aren't just plain
      > old memories ok?

      No. Auto accident. Child dead. Now what?

      Also, if the original poster is smart, he will include his wife and himself in some of the videos, and his children and grandchildren can see what grandfather Surname was like if something happens to him, instead. Let his wife take a few of him, or it will be like our family, where we have just one half inch high photo of my one grandfather, who took all the photos of everyone else.

      > Each time I do, I make a mental note that one day
      > I'll scan them and make them digital. Then I realize
      > that we only drag out that box once or twice a year,
      > and never do anything with the photos anyway, and
      > resign to scan them once it gets even cheaper.

      Scan them before a leaky roof or basement ruins them. Annotate them, while someone still lives who can identify who is who. Then you have a backup to the photos, as well.

  • 100G in one year? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ( 771661 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:19PM (#23878231) Homepage Journal
    100G of video in the first year? I guess you should archive it...he can show it to his therapist when he gets older. One way to solve the archiving problem is to do some editing (serious editing) so there's much less to store.
  • by cpct0 ( 558171 ) <slashdot.micheldonais@com> on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:19PM (#23878239) Homepage Journal

    People who say HDD have their heads in the sand. 20 years. Think about that. 1988. SCSI-1 40 pins. Nearing the end of MFM/RLE. Parallel.

    People who say CDs and DVDs again have their heads in the sand. That's the Floppy Era.

    The best format IMHO is the "current" format. DVDs + HDDs along with a live copy on your computer. DVDs and HDDs should be at two of your friend's houses.

    5-10 years later, once one of the formats is obsolete (EXT3 is now EXT8, DVDs are now expensive again in drug stores), it's time to copy these to the new "current" format, and repeat the process.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lost Race ( 681080 )
      There has never been 40-pin SCSI. SCSI-1 was 50 pins, or, in some non-standards-compliant implementations, 25 pins.
  • by OpCode42 ( 253084 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:21PM (#23878261) Homepage

    So in his first year of life, you've recorded around 34-35 hours of footage? (going on single layer dvd capacities and mpeg2) Ask yourself, when are you going to watch all of that?

  • by bugs2squash ( 1132591 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:21PM (#23878269)
    Collude with a friend to email back and forth encrypted copies of your photos. Arrange for them to be perpetually stored in transit on somebody-else's mail server awaiting delivery.

    Better still - uucp them over some convoluted circular path back to yourself.

    Or rig up an ultra-high-speed moonbounce communications system...

    Just keep them all in motion and they won't get lost.
  • Hard Copies (Score:5, Funny)

    by rhesuspieces00 ( 804354 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:27PM (#23878391) Homepage
    Print the bits out on paper to be scanned later, as necessary. You should make several copies and store them in different locations incase of fire or water damage. To answer your next question: Land in Montana and the Yukon territory is cheap.
  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:28PM (#23878409)

    Unfortunately there isn't a guarantee on any technology. CD/DVDs were supposed to last 100 years until that pesky mold and poor quality make them unsuitable for long term storage. HD-DVD was promising until it lost the format wars. HDs reliability varies with manufacturer and model. My suggestion is to back it up every 5 - 10 years onto new media to keep ahead of the curve. It's more work but you'll make sure it gets saved.

    8mm -> VHS -> DVD -> Bluray -> Profit!!
  • by Krieger ( 7750 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:35PM (#23878543) Homepage
  • by SpacePunk ( 17960 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:43PM (#23878659) Homepage

    Chisel what you want to keep onto stone tablets, or use clay tablets then encase them in a clay envelope. Then bury them in a pit in your back yard.

  • by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @04:45PM (#23878691)

    Is it just me, or do you find that besides a few photos meant to invoke memories, its better to remember something than to record it? I find If I over-indulge in 'capturing the moment', all I seem to have left was the content and I forget what it was like to -be- there.

  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:03PM (#23879015) Journal
    Edit down a "best of" video once in a while. If you don't do it as you go along you never will.

    A few good pictures and a handful of short videos become "precious memories".

    A slag heap of hundreds of hours of raw material become a burden that someone will eventually stop maintaining because it is such a chore.

    Lots of pictures are less of a problem than video both because they are smaller, but because you can look at them faster to see if there are any worth copying, printing etc.

    Send copies of your "best of" to friends and family so that you have off-site storage should your house burn down.

  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:07PM (#23879077)

    My wife and I have taken thousands of digital photos and videos since 2002, but the cold, hard truth is that the vast majority of them just aren't very good. I suspect the OP is in the same boat. The solution is to take the time to identify the best images and videos. This should result in a relatively compact archive only a few hundred digital photos and videos. This "best of" collection will be much easier to duplicate in different format and making physical prints on archival quality paper won't put a huge dent in your pocketbook. Remember that just because you can take 2000 photos of your spittle-covered toddler doesn't mean that you need to keep them all.

    Chances are pretty good that your great grandchildren aren't going to give a damn about inheriting a massive archive of pictures and videos starring weirdly dressed dead relatives they've never met, and if it's physically large it stands a good chance of ending up in a garden shed or unprotected lunar storage pod. If you condense your family album into something more manageable, it will be more accessible and enjoyable for all - now and in the future.

  • Flash Storage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ady1 ( 873490 ) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:21PM (#23879281)

    I'm amazed that no one mentioned it. Just get 16gb usb flash disks.
    It has theoretically unlimited life for archiving. The only time it deteriorate is when you continuously write/erase it.

    • by DrDitto ( 962751 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @06:53PM (#23880325)

      I'm amazed that no one mentioned it. Just get 16gb usb flash disks. It has theoretically unlimited life for archiving. The only time it deteriorate is when you continuously write/erase it.

      I'm amazed this got modded up. If you look at the data sheets of most flash parts, data integrity is typically rated at 10 years.
  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) * on Friday June 20, 2008 @05:43PM (#23879571) Journal

    AMPAS recently had a report called "The Digital Dilemma", which the NY Times wrote about []:

    If not operated occasionally, a hard drive will freeze up in as little as two years. Similarly, DVDs tend to degrade: according to the report, only half of a collection of disks can be expected to last for 15 years...

    What are film archives doing? Where possible, studios are making long-lasting, non-fade B&W pan separation YCM polyester negative film backups, even when the film is mostly or totally "born digital". Then you put it under a mountain somewhere.

    Government video archives worldwide are moving to LTO tape, typically using JPEG 2000 video encoding, with the recognition that every few years they will have to migrate their tapes up a generation of LTO. I suspect there may be a move from lossy JPEG 2000 to lossless JPEG 2000 and eventually uncompressed video as tape speeds and capacities ramp up.

  • by new death barbie ( 240326 ) on Friday June 20, 2008 @06:37PM (#23880181)

    you're collecting 100 GIGS per YEAR?

    When do you plan on WATCHING this stuff?

    Odds are, by the time he's three, you'll be so sick of watching him grow up through a camera viewfinder you'll toss the camera into the back of the closet.

    And if you ever have another kid, he'll grow up thinking he's adopted, because he can't find any photographic evidence of his childhood.

    I speak from experience :)

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.