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This question is to share my experience as well as ask for suggestions for better methods.

Along with 2 friends, I completed the making of a short documentary film in 2006. Clip is at:

The film was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro 1.5 on Windows XP. Here's a screenshot:

enter image description here
(Click to zoom in)

Note this is not intended to be a plug, we've moved on from this initial learning curve project!

The film is in 4:3 standard definition 720x576 PAL format.

As well as retaining the final 30minute film, I wanted to keep all original files that assembled together to make the film.

The footage was 83.5Gb

So I archived them to over 20 4.7Gb DVD recordables in the original .avi format (i.e. data DVD-ROM format, NOT DVD-Video Mpeg2)

Some .avi DV video files were larger than 4.7Gb so I used 7-zip to split them ( here is a guide as to how to do that: )

To recombine them, a dos shell command like this would do that: copy /b file.avi.* file.avi would do the job, where .* is a wild card to include all the split parts e.g. 001, 002...00n assuming they are all in the same directory path folder. file.avi is the recombined file identical to the original.

Later on, I bought a LG BE06 LU10 USB 2.0 Super-multi Blu-ray burner and archived the footage to 2 (two) x 50Gb BD-R DL discs. Again in the original format, written as files to a BD-R in the BD-R BD-ROM UDF format readable by PC/Mac etc, NOT Blu-ray video/film format.

This seems to be a good solution for me, because:

  • the archive is in a robust, reasonably permanent, non-volatile medium, i.e. DVD recordable / Blu-ray (debates about stability of optical media organic chemical dye compounds/substrates aside)

  • the format of the archive is accessible by open source tools or just plain Windows Explorer and it's not in a proprietary format

I just thought I'd ask folks for their experience on better methods, if such exist.

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I'd recommend against archiving to DVDs since they're inconvenient for large projects and just as susceptible to bit rot as hard drives. If you MUST archive to optical, you should use M-Discs (requires special hardware) or 100-year discs, not standard writeable DVDs off the shelf.

My preference is an archival filesystem (naturally, since I helped develop one).

I'm a filmmaker and editor with lots of footage and project files that I used to keep on hard drives in anti-static bags on a shelf. Not ideal since eventually hard drives will bit-rot. For the last couple of years I've been moving finished projects and footage off my Macs onto a PC running MagnaStor and replicating to Amazon S3 buckets in Ireland, California and Singapore.

MagnaStor is a filesystem (e.g. NTFS) that you put on any hard drive (internal, external, USB stick, doesn't matter) that constantly monitors the data on it and self-heals. I worked on a documentary in the UK in 2004-2005 and the footage we shot was VERY precious to me. I like knowing now that not only is my data co-located all around the globe, but that the data I have on my office fileserver is constantly watched over and healed so that if I ever need it in the future it'll be there. A single 2TB drive currently hosts all the stuff I want archived and getting at it is as easy as copying it.

Full disclosure: I am one of the developers on the MagnaStor archival filesystem, but also a user who has definitely benefitted from it.

You can download it at

share|improve this answer
(part1 of 3) +1 for your input, magnastor does look like a viable option, particularly for corporates' mission critical data. But there are concerns about being "locked-in" to a platform or reliant on scarce expertise might not suit smaller projects or the consumer. If you have intellectual property then this could help protect your position in the marketplace but that may also mean a proprietary element to the solution. There may also be similar concerns with this solution as so-called cloud solutions: if the provider's situation changes then this may impact the user. – therobyouknow Oct 3 '12 at 14:21
(part 2 of 3) those concerns aside, I like it that the payment for space is one-off and not ongoing: that is very appealing. I also like it that you use Amazon S3, having that brand backing is very reassuring, given that Amazon have been around for over a decade and their reputation in many areas, their future is about as certain as it can be. – therobyouknow Oct 3 '12 at 14:24
(part 3 of 3)I guess your threat might be a free open source alternative bolt-on to a distributed social network whereby friends co-operate in a syndicate to share resources e.g. each user's local hard drive space as a kind of permanent private torrent/peer-to-peer network, on the top of say the Diaspora distributed social network (or indeed any centralised social network such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ could be the gateway to such a network among friends). – therobyouknow Oct 3 '12 at 14:28
Additional words from me: I guess my primary concern is of your longevity as a company, some more big projects/clients would help build reputation, or if you partnered with a bank or telco for example as an add-on value-add service, and if you were able to connect to not only local drives but also other cloud services such as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa. I will certainly consider you at some point in the future. – therobyouknow Oct 3 '12 at 14:31

For my personal backup requirements I use Windows Home Server(which is based on Server 2003, and requires a PC to install it on): The operating system seems to be angled toward home users but there's no reason why it couldn't be used as a sort of 'project backup server'. WHS has many features which aren't relevant to your scenario but it it does have a useful features which might interest you:

It has a disk management service which allows multiple disks (of varying sizes, manufacturers etc) to be pooled into a single storage pool which can have disks added or removed at your convinience. This storage pool is then divided up into standard windows shares, these shares can be set to "duplicated".

The disk management service then mirrors all the files ensuring there are two copies of the file, each on a different disk. Adding or removing files will cause the service to reshuffle the files. All the hard disks are monitored and you will be notified of any disk issues (ie a disk dieing) through the connector software installed on a PC.

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+1 for the alternative suggestion. – therobyouknow Feb 6 '10 at 15:38
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Thanks for the answer.

I'll close this question by saying the poster's solution might be worth exploring though I haven't tried it as I'm not in a position to invest in further storage.

I believe my solution is still worthwhile, and reasonable and there aren't hugely better solutions out there.

I've also put the footage onto my Lacie NAS 2BigDisk, 2Tb (2x1Tb disks), configured as 1Tb RAID1, "Lacie Safe100" mode.

I've also looked on the respected forum and here are some good answers:

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