What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

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What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by Bruce R on Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:49 pm

I know we've had this discussion at some point in the past, but technology changes and I would like to start my transferring project in the not-too-distant future.

Quality of transfer is concern #1, but file size is too because we're talking about 1000's of dvds.

I want to be able to have a few 8TB hard drives with most of my films on them.  I want to be able to select a film and view it on TV.

Recommendations, cautionary notes, etc., please.

Thanks.

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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by garyleeoz on Fri Jan 20, 2017 12:05 am

I love DVDs. They may last 20 years ... maybe 100 years ... who knows. However, Harddrives can stop working at any time but they can often last 5 or 10 years maybe. If you plan to get rid of your DVDs, make sure you make backup copies of those Harddrives. So your 8TB suddenly becomes 16TB unless you use space compression software to "shrink" your backup copies.

I don't think much has changed over the last 5 years other than you can transmit wirelessly your movies directly from your computer to your TV if you didn't want to use a media player box like the Western Digital box that some forum members liked.

Not sure what the best file format would be. I just stick with mp4 format (with the H264 codec or whatever has superceded H264 ... H265 ?). I used DVDFab once to convert a DVD to mp4 and it created an mp4 file with an average bitrate of 1700 kbps (kilobits per sec). Other converters may give you a different bitrate, eg. TMPGENC Video Mastering Works 6 has a default for mp4 of 2054 kbps which creates an mp4 file of about 1.5GB in size for a 2 hour movie. That's about 30% of the Harddrive space that the original DVD would take up. nb. Youtube videos are closer to 400 kbps or much lower so 1700 kbps is probably a lot higher than most people choose for their mp4 videos.

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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by alanfox on Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:16 am

I've been doing this for some time and experimented with different formats to try and achieve a good tradeoff between video quality and file size. I found that .MP4 (or in my case .MKV) works very well. I use a tool called MKVToolNix (https://www.fosshub.com/MKVToolNix.html) to create my video from DVD, BD, downloaded file (torrent) etc. I use it to strip out any tracks I don't want (alternate languages, unnecessary subtitles, commentary, etc.) and then have a resulting video file. I shoot for files under 6GB (3-5) as they can still keep the resolution (1920X1080) and give me reasonable file sizes.

If the files are larger than I want I use a variety of encoding software to re-encode and compress the files. I use TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5 for the files, as version 6 doesn't not compress very much.

Some files will just be big (ie. Shogun unless you want to keep it as 3 or 4 separate pieces). Keep in mind that if you move away from DVDs you can get much better quality videos, if you stay with that format, your file sizes will be just fine. I keep them on a 4TB USB 3.0 portable hard drive and back it up onto a second.

This fixed a lot of issues for me (DVD storage, needed 2 copies so I had a backup, and evolving technology.) Now whatever format is out or soon to be coming out my system will work. Oh by the way I plug the hard drive either into a notebook PC and plug the PC via HDMI into my big screen TV and use KMLCodec with Windows Movie Player Classic to watch it or I can use a variety of video players (like Roku, Mecca, etc.) to play the videos directly.
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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by garyleeoz on Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi Alan. Out of curiosity, to create a 6 GB mkv file, is your source BluRay/BD disc a single layered 25GB disc or a dual-layered 50GB disc?

Also, TMPGENC Video Mastering Works 5 is no longer sold through the TMPGENC website ... only Works 6 is available. You can force Works 6 to compress more than the default file size by changing the Target File Size or Estimated File Output Size down to a size that you specify (it drops the average bitrate down from the default bitrate) but you may then need to try different video settings to maximize the video quality (the default settings are a compromise between encoding speed and video quality ... the video settings that I'm thinking about are "Profile and Level", "Rate Control Mode" and "Pass Count" .... I usually try for the "best quality" settings but for some videos sometimes they can make things worse than the default settings).


Last edited by garyleeoz on Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add info)

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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by alanfox on Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:03 am

Hi garyleeoz, my source can be anything, and I get it down under 6GB. Much of my stuff is downloaded (torrent) and much of that is 25GB (or larger) BluRay. I've found that I can pretty well maintain the video quality even while reducing the bitrate. Will try TMPGenc VMW 6 again. I still own VMW 5 and passed on the cheap upgrade to VMW 6 due to the lack of file reduction size I perceived. Will cost me more to upgrade now, but will try your suggestions and see if I can get some good results. I like to keep my file sizes reasonable to keep from running out of disk space too quickly. I've also tried a product called MovAvi. It's much faster then TMPGenc VMW but doesn't reduce file sizes very much, even when you set the file size you want.
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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by garyleeoz on Sat Jan 21, 2017 9:18 pm

Hi Alan. Thanks for the info about your source video file sizes. Video compression down to 25% of the original size is a very significant saving in disc space.

I'm not sure if VMW6 gives you any improvement over VMW5 in relation to video quality. I think it just has more editing features that you probably aren't interested in.  I mainly bought VMW6 because of timeline editing and it supports more source formats than my creaky version of TMPGENC XPRESS did, however, now that I own VMW6 I hardly ever use timeline editing (I used it once to combine the best scenes from 2 or more different recordings of the same movie where the two images didn't exactly line up). Also it seems to do a poor job converting some formats like webm. Still, it's a lot easier to use and a lot faster than both XPRESS and the DVD Rebuilder freeware encoder that I sometimes used.

ps. In relation to the video settings "Profile and Level", "Rate Control Mode" and "Pass Count", because I want to create mp4 (H264) video files, I usually have these fields set to "High", "VBR (Average Bitrate)" and "2 Pass" respectively. There may be a hugh list of possible options for "Profile and Level" but only 3 of them can be used with mp4 or mkv output video format.

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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by Bruce R on Sat Feb 11, 2017 5:29 pm

A big, heartfelt thank you to Gary and Alan for sharing all your technical expertise. I have saved all the info in a Word doc so when I start down this path I have your data.

May God richly bless both of you.

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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by alanfox on Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:38 am

Bruce, if I recall properly we talked about this some time ago. I and others posted the processes we used to convert our videos. I've looked for, but cannot find it. If we can find those old posts, there is a lot of good detail there. Questions got answered about formats, disk space, where DVD formats or ISO file would work, etc. Thank you for taking the lead on this.
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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by Bruce R on Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:03 pm

You are absolutely right, Alan, we did discuss this some time ago. I need to find that info too.

However, technology changes and I wanted to re-ask the question and get "up-to-date".

Hopefully I get to it before I have to re-ask the question again!

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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by alanfox on Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:51 am

You know, maybe this was posted on the "old" forum. Hopefully that was archived and we can somehow recover it. I did a write-up of my process some time ago for some friends. It was a PowerPoint document. If I can figure out a way to attach it here I will (maybe some help from someone?) or I can email you if you want to PM me your email address.
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Re: What's the best way to archive films on a hard drive?

Post by alanfox on Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:59 pm

Well, that went well.
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