Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

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Dog_Papa
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Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Dog_Papa » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:34 am

I have a very large hard drive, but if I load on a few movies, I can no longer do a back-up. What is the best media to store movies on, that I can also
share w/friends & family. An external HD would be a possibility, but that does not work well for sharing. Flash drives would work and so would DVDs.
Is there a DVD type that can be rewritten over and over, like the old VCR tapes could. I still have tapes for the 1990s, along w/VCR. They still work just
fine. I can even send that old stuff to by big screen TV. CDs lose space every time you rewrite them. What are the pros and cons of these ways of storage?

Jamieson22
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Jamieson22 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:38 am

Youtube.com?

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Dog_Papa
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Dog_Papa » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:54 am

YouTube is a good source of entertainment. But, this stuff is new and not on youtube.

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mike143
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by mike143 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:01 am

DVDs that are to be played in a normal set top DVD player have to be authored. If you want them to play specific video formats they will need a computer or a high end DVD player that can handle alternate formats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-RW

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD_authoring
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Jamieson22
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Jamieson22 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:09 am

You can upload your videos to YouTube to share.

Luke Duke
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Luke Duke » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:11 am

If anyone wants a movie, I would make them supply their own flash drive.

pochax
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by pochax » Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:39 am

Put them (upload them) in the cloud (Google Drive, Youtube, Skydrive, Amazon cloud, iCloud, etc.). you will never have to backup and transfer PC-to-PC (or hard drive to hard drive) ever again.

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vectorizer
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by vectorizer » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:20 am

I'm assuming that by saying "share", you just mean the ability for others to view the videos? If so, as others have said, the obvious choice is YouTube because most people are familiar with that site. First create an account on YouTube. You can upload them as "unlisted": anyone can see them, but they need to know the URL (not really secure, but just sort-of hidden). After you upload a video, you can send the URL (web page link) to others to watch it.

Yes, there are DVD blanks that can be re-used like a VCR tape can, they're called "DVD-RW" and "DVD+RW", and just about every DVD burner supports them. They cost more and burn slower than standard write-once "DVD-R" and "DVD+R", but not too bad. However, they are less compatible with non-PC DVD players ... they are less likely to play on old DVD players.

If you really need to give your movie files to someone to play on or through their PC, the easiest is to keep them on a hard drive, and just use a USB drive to transfer. Temporarily copy the files to the USB drive, then the other party copies from the USB drive.

If you need to give your movies to someone who's not comfortable with YouTube (an older relative presumably), but they have a DVD player hooked up to their TV, then giving them a DVD would make sense for them. Note that you can't just copy movie files to a DVD blank and have them play on a standalone DVD player, they must be "authored" to a particular format.

You didn't ask, but you may want to transfer your older movies on VCR tape to your PC, to keep them safer from tape degradation and obsolescence. Assuming you still have a working VCR, there are pretty cheap devices that let you transfer the video on tape to your PC for safekeeping.

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Dog_Papa
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Dog_Papa » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:52 pm

vectorizer wrote: You didn't ask, but you may want to transfer your older movies on VCR tape to your PC, to keep them safer from tape degradation and obsolescence. Assuming you still have a working VCR, there are pretty cheap devices that let you transfer the video on tape to your PC for safekeeping.

Yes, I would like to do that as well. Put older material, tapes of kids when they were young. Along with family vacations back in the 80s & 90s. Pets a pup or kitten,
stuff like that. I like the idea of using Google Cloud. Can I depend on that? When you don't pay for something, I just wonder how dependable it will be. Of course that
is true with things you do pay for as well.

But, I have no idea how to do that. I can get my big screen TV to play old tapes. But, how would I get my PC to record that, of my TV?

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Dumbo
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Dumbo » Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:44 pm

Ok you've opened up a can of worms here. Let me try to help out as the resident geek here.

You are trying to achieve two things:

1) Store your media (digital and analog files) for an extended period on to media (physical disks: hard drives, USB drives, cloud storage, etc)
2) Share those video files with family members in the future

Before you can decide how to continue you need to answer the following:

1) Who is the intended audience? Is this only for sharing right now? Does it need to last 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or even 50 years?
2) If you want to access your videos after 10 years you have a two fold problem: a) The hardware you will store everything on, and b) File format you will convert all your media into.

A: See, if you store things on an external hard drive you don't have a guarantee that you will actually be able to connect that disk to a computer in the future and retrieve any information off of it. I have an old Nintendo and a PlayStation but no way to plug it into my modern TV, for example. If you choose to store your video files in the cloud such as Google Drive that solves part of the problem. But it introduces a second problem that you alluded to, "Can you depend on it?" The answer to that question is contingent to how likely is it that Google will be in business 10 years from now? Probably. 20 years? I don't know. 30 years? Most likely not.

It is not very likely that any of the current goliaths of companies will be around in two decades or more, same way PanAm is not around and many other companies. Tech is so fickle. Best solution is most likely to do both. Keep an external storage array at home (Drobo) where you back up all your files to. Then buy server space with a reliable company such as Amazon on their S3 cloud. It's possible to set up the Drobo to automatically sync up to Amazon at preset frequency so you always have two copies of your video files at all times. That way if your house burns down, Amazon will be there to save you. Once Amazon goes out of business then you move your videos to another service.

If you then want to share some of those videos you should be able to give people links to them from the server. All of this costs money, lots of it. Drobo will probably run you $500, Amazon won't cost much. It's pennies per Gigabyte but it adds up quickly. Once you have actual numbers on file sizes and amount of transfer you can use the S3 calculator at: http://calculator.s3.amazonaws.com/calc5.html to figure out your cost. A rough estimate at 4 Terabytes of storage plus 10 GB monthly download and 1 TB monthly upload puts you at $336 a month for first month. It all depends on how much space you need to use up. It could be as low as $50 a month.

There are services such as "Carbonite" which offer "unlimited" storage. Supposedly you can store unlimited stuff for $150 a year. That might be a good way to get started and test out their "unlimited" claim. I'd go with their top tier of home user.

B: Ok so before you can even store your videos online you need to convert them. You might think but I can view them now already, what does it matter? Well it matters a lot because computer in the future may not support the popular video codecs of today. This I can't help you out with however I don't know enough about it. There are people whose job is to figure out how to archive videos so you can access them in 30-50 years. You'll have to research and learn a lot about it. There's two things to look for there, the video (wrapper) and the actual video content (codec). It's somewhat analogous to IRA's. You can have an IRA (movie) from anyone, anywhere, but what matters more than the label IRA (movie) is the fund associated with it (codec). Is this fund going to be around in 30 years?

I'd suggest doing a Google search on "Archival video codecs/formats" and see what you can glean from there. If that's not enough then find someone to help out. But that part is critical really. You can do all this work of backing up only to find out that nobody can actually view any of your videos in the future.

Lastly, if you're looking to convert VHS to DVD or digital media of any sort I would take it to a professional. It's easy enough to do at home but extremely time consuming and annoying. The adapter will only run you $30 on Amazon but those things are a pain in the @$$ to use even for me. So before you take it to someone you need to know the codec you want them to store it in. Otherwise they'll just use whatever they want and whatever they give to masses which may not be what you want. You probably just want the raw video files, untouched, highest possible quality, and all in a particular video codec. Once that's all done, I would still box up all your tapes, disks etc, along with a VHS player, some cables in a time machine and save it just in case. Otherwise all those tapes are useless in 50 years if you got nothing to play them on.

Sorry for a long and complicated answer but this is not a simple problem. :D

Let me know if I can clear up something.
Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - Isaac Asimov

Luke Duke
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Luke Duke » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:48 pm

Can these movies be (easily) replaced if your storage option were to fail?

patrick
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by patrick » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:22 pm

Dumbo wrote:B: Ok so before you can even store your videos online you need to convert them. You might think but I can view them now already, what does it matter? Well it matters a lot because computer in the future may not support the popular video codecs of today. This I can't help you out with however I don't know enough about it. There are people whose job is to figure out how to archive videos so you can access them in 30-50 years. You'll have to research and learn a lot about it.


I'm rather skeptical whether the sky is actually falling here.

Think about what it would take for future computers to fail to handle today's files. If you use (say) the default codecs included in Windows for your videos, it wouldn't be enough for Microsoft to delete the old codecs, or for Microsoft to go bankrupt. The same would have to happen to everyone else that sells software that can process those videos. And the open source community would also have to remove old video support or shut down completely. And remember that open source lets anyone else work on your source, so even if the mainstream open source media players removed it, someone else can fork the project and put the old codec back in. The only way to lose access is if no technically skilled people care about the format, unlikely to happen soon for a format that's used by millions of people today.

Even if no current software supported your files, that still wouldn't stop you from viewing them. You'd also have to wait for the old software to stop being usable. Windows programs from 15 years ago usually work fine on a new PC today, and even a 30 year old DOS program has a good chance of working from the DOS prompt if you have the 32-bit version of Windows 7. Even after that happens, you could still run the old software on emulator for the old machine until you reach the point where no one cares enough about the old machine to make an emulator for it either.

Even if this does happen in your lifetime, would choosing a special archival format help? Probably better to wait to convert it. Only once you see that your format is being supplant by something else will you really know which format (likely one that doesn't exist now) is supplanting it. The old format wouldn't die overnight so there would be plenty of time to convert it after you find out what the new thing is. Trying to guess now may end up putting you in the place of someone who decided to move everything from floppy disks to Zip disks 15 years ago in order to get away from the now-obsolete floppy disk -- correct that the old format would die but moving to something that would soon become even harder to find!

0cean23
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by 0cean23 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:47 pm

I'm currently using Copy to store my media in the clouds. It works just like dropbox but the great that is that there's no limit for referrals. Each referral you have sign up it will earn you an additional 5gb of storage. Below is a link to sign up and a way to get 20gb free to start with. Enjoy!

[Link containing promotional referral tag removed by admin LadyGeek]

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Dumbo
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by Dumbo » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:29 pm

@patrick

Maybe. Maybe not. You'd be hard pressed to read your paper punch cards on a new Mac or Windows these days.

A quick search revealst that MPEG2 or H.264 might be the best options for long-term preservation and compatibility for the time being.
Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - Isaac Asimov

patrick
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by patrick » Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:45 pm

Dumbo wrote:@patrick

Maybe. Maybe not. You'd be hard pressed to read your paper punch cards on a new Mac or Windows these days.


Punch cards are not a file format (and also didn't have nearly as many users as use digital videos today).

davebo
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by davebo » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:19 pm

I have 3 kids under 5 years old so they were all born in the high-def phase with iphone videos and HD camcorder videos. There is no way that I can put all the stuff I have onto DVDs and I really don't want to sit thru and edit the stuff either. I'm terrified of losing my stuff so I take a multi-layered approach:

1) On my computer
2) On 2 separate external HD. External HDs are very fickle and don't want to leave it to chance on just one. Hey, they are cheap and I figured it's good protection.
3) Amazon Glacier--The problem with solutions like Google Drive or Amazon S3 is that they are way too expensive to store a HD movies. They are meant if you need the videos at your fingertips. Glacier is meant for long-term storage so it's MUCH, MUCH cheaper. The only problem is that it's not user friendly so you probably need to buy a cheap little piece of software that makes it easier to upload/download and backup on regular schedules.

As far as sharing videos, then I'd just do the Google Drive or Youtube option. There is nothing affordable available to store ALL your videos online and share them.

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magellan
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Re: Best PC storage media, for sharing videos

Post by magellan » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:37 am

I agree with others that choosing the right file format/encoding is important for both long-term readability and to minimize the size of the video files. For example, my HD Tivo recodings seem to be in Mpeg-2 format and a 1 hour HD show recorded from cable usually takes about 6GB to store. Converting that same show to Mpeg-4 with an H.264 codec can reduce the file size to as low as 1GB without a significant drop in quality. The compression capabilities of H.264 video encoding are a quantum leap compared to earlier standards and it's probably the best choice for re-encoding video.

The amount of compression you can get away with when you encode video is highly dependent on the content of the original video. SD videos and slow moving talking heads videos can be encoded at much lower data rates (thus lower file size) compared to action movies. If you're not too worried about file size and don't want to customize encoding parameters on a video by video basis, you could just use a very high data rate H.264 encoding (say 10kbps +) and get excellent quality for all videos and still probably reduce that original 6GB mpeg-2 video down to 3GB or better by reencoding.

Another issue is that video encoding is extremely CPU intensive. Encoding a single 1 hour HD video on my high-end i7 laptop with 8 cores takes 20-40 minutes and makes the laptop nearly hot enough to fry an egg. I usually manually change the laptop's power settings to select max cooling, which runs the fan on high and limits CPU speed to keep the laptop from burning itself up.

Jim

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