What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?

Started Mar 5, 2012 | Discussions
xpanded
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What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?
Mar 5, 2012

For the last 8 years I have accumulated quite a few videos from very different digital cameras, an harddisk camcorder and DSLRs/mirrorless. These films are, unsurprisingly, in many different formats.

I have the following two programmes: Premiere Elements 9 and Avidemux. And I work in Windows and for the time being is locked there for other reasons.

I know next to nothing about video, but I would prefer having one format if possible, so that it will be easy in the future to secure compatibility when upgrading software, platform etc - just like I convert all pictures into .dng.

Is there a common format that is consider the optimal quality/size compromise and at the same time is one that it is easy to convert to?

I am sorry if I have missed similar questions – I could not find anything while searching.

All input much appreciated.
Thanks in advance
Xpanded

Cy Cheze
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Re: What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?
In reply to xpanded, Mar 5, 2012

There is no single file type that will convert all video types into one standard, unless you use the least common denominator (and degrade HD files) or the highest HD grade, which would waste incredible amounts of memory space on low quality video without adding anything to their quality.

There are distinct resolutions and aspect ratios. How could one fit all?

It's not like picking JPG as the "standard" for still files, which can have many different resoultions or dimensions, but all be JPG.

From a purely archival standpoint, any of the video formats used in recent years by major brand cameras is likely to remain playable or importable by many software applications. The few exceptions may be some cameras that employed a prorprietary format (some JVC models) or use a non-standard aspect ratio.

MPEG2 is perhaps the most common compressed format, but there are many grades and bitrates.

AVCHD is very compact and common, but it too exists in various resolutions or bitrates.

Each time you convert compressed files, you must recode them, which entails come quality loss.

You'd be better off editing the stuff that matters, and create something in a chosen format that is a suitable compromise, so that something viewable can be shared. You could leave the rest in their native format. Instead of fretting about the archival format, the key worry should be whether they are organized or labeled in any way that will mean anything later on, as memory fades and so forth. If you don't edit your pre-2012 stuff now, the odds you ever will diminish rapidly.

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jralbert
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Re: What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?
In reply to xpanded, Mar 5, 2012

If you go into the help files on both of your video edit programs, you will find a list of the formatsthey can accept and, I believe I have read that you can mix and match within a project (for the most part) and it'll all come out well in the wash. There are, for the times you get stuck, many free video conversion programs omn the web
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Sean Nelson
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Re: What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?
In reply to xpanded, Mar 6, 2012

AVCHD is probably the closest thing to "standard" that you're likely to come by, because it comprises essentially the same formats used by BluRay and and the ATSC television standard - so support for it is likely to be around for a long time.

AVCHD is really just H.264 with some specific resolutions, frame rates and maximum bitrates (the latter to ensure that consumer equipment is capable of playing it). So you don't really have to use AVCHD itself if you stick to using H.264 with the appropriate settings.

But one of the advantages of AVCHD is that along with the encoder and specific parameters for it, the standard also includes a folder structure with metadata files. The reason this is important is because many media have a 4GB limitation on file sizes, and this can limit the length of clips to around a half-hour or so. But the AVCHD metadata files can tie separate physical files into a single logic clip so that you can save movies of pretty much unlimited length.

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cdembrey
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Re: What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?
In reply to xpanded, Mar 6, 2012

AFIK the Ikonoskop is the only one to use CinemaDNG "A-cam dII is our new digital motion picture camera. It shoots uncompressed RAW in full HD in the format CinemaDNG." http://www.ikonoskop.com/dii/

Sure would be nice if there was a common 1080P format. With a Sony NEX 5n I have to convert the AVCHD to ProRes to edit with FCP, while the files from a Sony EX3 are ready to be used by FCP.

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xpanded
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Re: What is the video equivalent of DNG – if any?
In reply to xpanded, Mar 6, 2012

Thanks all - good input - food for thoughts. My PC just died, however, so I will read infrequently in the next days, but will revert. Maybe it is time for an Apple

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Barry Pearson
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CinemaDNG - eventually
In reply to xpanded, Mar 6, 2012

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CinemaDNG

It is several years behind DNG in evolution and take-up.

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Cy Cheze
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CinemaDNG - irrelevant and superfluous for casual video
In reply to Barry Pearson, Mar 6, 2012

Any RAW or low compression video format will consume oceans of memory. It serves no purpose whatever, unless a person wants to perform advanced editing of video for an ad or professional production that must feature some special effect or be corrected for underlying flaws. That takes lots of work. It is not anything that most people will have time for, especially not for a miscellany of old video clips. If the source clip is low quality, the advanced effects tools won't add much anyway.

If a person lacks time to do basic edits of old video, there is no way on earth he or she will tackle editing 1,000 terabytes of decompressed files, most of whose content may be of only transitory interest to the person who shot it, and indecipherable or unidentifiable by anyone else.

If it's simply a matter of archiving, it is fine and dandy to save the files in whateveer native format they were shot. The key thing would be to orginize and label the content and to have a back-up on a separate hard drive.

More important would be to harvest the bits of lasting value into the 30 to 60 minutes that a sympathetic friend or relative is likely to bear viewing, add titles, a voice-over, and a menu structure, then export it to a disc that anyone could play, even if the PC goes kaput or the author succumbs to Alzheimer's.

10 minutes of well-edited video of shared events or memorable moments are probably worth more than 60 hours of raw, unlabled clips encrypted in some massive odd codec.

And if time ever permits, nothing (other than the 1,000 usual chores or pleasures) will stop a person from returning to the source files and editing something longer.

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AOKH
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Re: CinemaDNG - irrelevant and superfluous for casual video
In reply to Cy Cheze, Mar 6, 2012

Great advice!

Cy Cheze wrote:

Any RAW or low compression video format will consume oceans of memory. It serves no purpose whatever, unless a person wants to perform advanced editing of video for an ad or professional production that must feature some special effect or be corrected for underlying flaws. That takes lots of work. It is not anything that most people will have time for, especially not for a miscellany of old video clips. If the source clip is low quality, the advanced effects tools won't add much anyway.

If a person lacks time to do basic edits of old video, there is no way on earth he or she will tackle editing 1,000 terabytes of decompressed files, most of whose content may be of only transitory interest to the person who shot it, and indecipherable or unidentifiable by anyone else.

If it's simply a matter of archiving, it is fine and dandy to save the files in whateveer native format they were shot. The key thing would be to orginize and label the content and to have a back-up on a separate hard drive.

More important would be to harvest the bits of lasting value into the 30 to 60 minutes that a sympathetic friend or relative is likely to bear viewing, add titles, a voice-over, and a menu structure, then export it to a disc that anyone could play, even if the PC goes kaput or the author succumbs to Alzheimer's.

10 minutes of well-edited video of shared events or memorable moments are probably worth more than 60 hours of raw, unlabled clips encrypted in some massive odd codec.

And if time ever permits, nothing (other than the 1,000 usual chores or pleasures) will stop a person from returning to the source files and editing something longer.

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Regards. Anders

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xpanded
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Re: CinemaDNG - irrelevant and superfluous for casual video
In reply to Cy Cheze, Mar 7, 2012

Thanks Cy

I have already labelled the videos and have them stored on three different sites in duplicates (six copies in all). I am not a prolific videographer nor a professional so the size of videos is a non-issue as long as my computer can manage. Not having to make cost/benefit analysis of conversions I can take all the time it takes. If it is worth recording in the first place, then it is worth securing a long life; for me that is. Time is the only resource I have plenty of.

The problem I see already is some editing tools not being able to handle some videos when editing. Probably hunting for the right codec-upgrade would solve that, if the codec for the specific camera is still available. I do not trust such availability in the long run and I am loth to loose some footage due to a format becoming obsolete. Hence the quest for the .vdng.

Cheers,
Xpanded

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