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Video, Audio, and Still Image Archival

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by Allen Kingsbury

Video Archival
An archived video should be as close as possible to its original form (i.e. minimal compression, format changes, etc.) and should be stored on some durable or secure (i.e. backed up) medium like an external hard drive.
File sizes will tend to be large so you may need to be selective as to what you wish to preserve (i.e. raw footage vs. finished video).

A video file saved with a high quality compression like H.264 may be all you need for a good archival copy of your finished work.
Apple Pro Res 422 is very high quality and the video bit-rate will likely be higher than your camera was capable of. You may be hard pressed to tell the difference between this and the H264 file, but the file size may be up to 7x bigger.

When importing video into Final Cut Pro X you can simply copy the original media from the folder where your footage is stored.
To find this folder, right click on any clip in the library. Then choose "Reveal in Finder". You can drag and drop original media files to your backup device.

When importing off a memory card, you can also drag and drop the original .MP4 or .MTS files onto a hard drive to back them up.

To save a finished video from Final Cut Pro choose, "Share to Master File" then under "Settings" tab select:
Format: Video & Audio
Video codec: .H264 or Apple Pro Res 422

To save the entire Final Cut Pro project file you'll need to browse to the external hard drive in the finder or local movies folder and locate the project file to copy to another device. This Final Cut Pro library file contains all of your events and edits in your timeline.
This is good to backup in case you wish to go back and make changes at a later time. Otherwise sharing a finished video will flatten all of your layers together (text, effects, audio, etc.)

To get to the local movies folder you can use the spotlight search feature in the upper right hand corner of a Mac. Then type in the word "movies". Double click on the search result to open it in the finder. The Final Cut Pro icon with the purple color is the folder you want to back up entirely.

*Lossless video: Few lossless video formats are in common consumer use, as they would result in video files taking up a huge amount of space.

Audio Archival
An archived audio file should be as close as possible to its original form (i.e. minimal compression, format changes, etc.) and should be stored on some durable or secure (i.e. backed up) medium like an external hard drive or thumb drive.
For archiving audio we recommend backing up the original recording or any lossless or uncompressed audio format.

To save a WAV file rom Final Cut Pro choose, "Share to Master File" then under "Settings" tab select:
Format: Audio only
Audio file format: .WAV

*Lossless audio formats: WAV, FLAC, and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec, used by iTunes).

Image Archival
An archived image file should be as close as possible to its original form (i.e. minimal compression, format changes, etc.) and should be stored on some durable or secure (i.e. backed up) medium like an external hard drive or thumb drive.
For still images archive we recommend backing up a high quality .tiff, or .psd Photoshop working file.

Always keep the original image with its original size and dpi (dots per inch). The image can always be downscaled later, but it cannot increase in size without losing quality.
For scanned images a minimum resolution of 150 dpi is good. 300dpi is better.

For DSLR's that shoot in RAW format that will be your best quality lossless option. .JPG compression is still quite good though.

*Lossless still image formats: RAW, BMP, and PNG.

For additional help, please contact the LTS Help Desk at 610-758-4357 or helpdesk@lehigh.edu