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Re: [AV Media Matters] Preserving old vhs video


[May I introduce myself first: My name is Dirk Tust. I am a student of
computer sciences in Giessen, Germany, and a collector of TV history "in
progress" with a focus on the things in between regular schedules
(station IDs, news, startups, closedowns, testcards, etc.) I came to
this mailing list some time ago by a mention of "AV Media Matters" in
"mhp-chat", a mailing list for TV nostalgics like me (for further
information see http://www.meldrum.co.uk/mhp/ and
http://www.transdiffusion.org/ ). So far I have just been lurking
through the postings of AV Media Matters, and although this mailing list
is aimed towards professionals, it is a good source of general
information about the problems I have to face now and the next years. My
archive consists of VHS, S-VHS and a few "Video 2000" tapes (an
European video system which started in 1980 and eventually failed in
1985), some recordings as early as 1982.]

Tom Nelson schrieb:
> i Just purchased a 733 mzh with 128 megs of ram and 26 gig hard drive.
> My intention is to transfer analog video images to digital and put them
> on a stable storage medium. i.e. CD-ROM or DVD. I have come to believe
> the MPEG2 is the correct compression format.  The current price of the
> MPEG2 boards is a limiting factor.  I may be a little ahead of my time
> but my analog tapes aren't getting any younger and my kids are getting
> older.  I have even thought of purchasing a Sony Digital camera, which
> permits transfer from analog to digital, and adding a firewire
> connection to my computer.  That would be less expensive than
> the current price of the MPEG2 boards.  Does anybody have any
> recommendations that won't send me to the poorhouse?

[Ooops, my answer became a bit more general, but the consumer problems
haven't been covered here very much so far.]

The questition Tom raises here is a general problem for consumers. The
consumer electronics (CE) industry is even less interested in producing
devices which come even close to "archival" status than in the Pro
market. They want us to buy our favourite software over and over again
(Betamax, VHS, Laserdisc, LD with PCM, LD with AC-3, DVD, ...) instead
of copying a perfect-quality medium with at least keeping the quality
level, even if you are filming. In fact, VHS represents the lower limit
of "acceptable" quality, suitable just for timeshift recording and maybe
a bit prerecorded software, not filming or even editing...

But back to the main topic, Tom. CD-ROM's capacity for digital video is
just too small to be cosidered seriously. 74 minutes can be achived only
by MPEG1 at 1.5 Mbit/s, with MPEG2 and 6 Mbit/s for somewhat decent
quality from perfect sources you are already running out of space after
18 minutes. Even with current DVD-RAM with 2.6 GByte per side you won't
reach the 60 minute mark (about 57). Raise the data rate to compensate
the negative side-effects of (S-)VHS/Video(Hi)8 noise and it will be
even less. And remember, you can't play DVD-RAM in DVD-Video players.

A short note to Data-VHS: Although a recording time of seven hours in
standard definition at 14 Mbit/s with the option to tape DTV data
streams directly sounds promising, the lack of transparent digital
connections without copy protection at the moment (only DV in, which is
then converted to MPEG2 on tape!) and the sheer novelty makes D-VHS
currently a "wait and see" product. The same applies for recordable
DVD-Video, if it will hit the shelves (2000?, 2001? ...)

To preserve as much quality as possible for inevitable subsequent
copying, DV with it's 25 Mbit/s is IMHO the best (only?) option for
consumers at the moment, which consequently means to use Mini-DV tapes
for the archive (author feels guilty while writing this, but DVD-RAM
would hold just 13 minutes of DV material...) Your mention of Sony
indicates that you have filmed with Video/Hi8 so far. If that is true,
buying a Sony Digital 8 and a firewire board would be a cost-effective
alternative with added functionality (non-linear editing) at the moment.
But I would not bet too much on a long market presence of Digital 8, as
the transition character of the concept is way too dominant. If you're
going that way, you should mentally prepare yourself to (digitally) copy
the D8 stuff to Mini-DV quite soon.

A friend of mine once said: "As a CE customer, you can only minimize the
cheat, not avoid."

Hope that helps.

Dirk Tust

 /\_/\    Dirk Tust             dirk.tust@mni.fh-giessen.de
( O.O )                         http://www.uni-giessen.de/~hg18/
  >-<     "Hey Dad!"-Hompepage: http://www.uni-giessen.de/~hg18/hey_dad/
 /   \

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