How to store digital photos and videos

How to store digital photos and videos

Have you ever thought that in one moment you can lose everything of value that has accumulated over the years – the digital memory of the first steps of a son or daughter, meetings with parents and friends, trips to the sea or to the mountains, all their photo and video archives in digital form.

In one of the most ordinary morning can be very important to you photos, videos and documents stored on digital media, gone forever or become inaccessible. What will happen to our photos and videos in 20 years? And in 40-50 years? And what then can be viewed videotapes VHS or DVD from a school or wedding records?

The article describes how very easy to lose photos and videos stored in digital and analog form, and how to keep them that it did not happen ever.

What we have lost or may lose?

We all have our photos and videos on those or other media – VHS tape, the film of the camera on CD or DVD, computer, laptop, phone, camera, social networks of the Internet. And when something happens (as it surely will, do not doubt), then c lost data usually have to say goodbye, because very often restore them or very expensive, or even impossible. You can forget the username and password or to crack, disks, videotapes, memory cards and other storage media unusable, or they won’t open. In our fast pace of life now this may not seem like a tragedy, but many years later, our memory may remain only in our elusive memories, as in the digital age, photos and videos can be very easy to write and easy to lose forever. It might be worth to think about it?

Playback devices become obsolete or fail

VHS VCRs and camcorders for the storage on magnetic films

Now most of them are unhealthy, besides, the read head they are prone to wear and now they are almost impossible to replace. A large part of the VCR and the camcorder only has analog outputs (such as “tulips”), which are absent in modern digital technology. In other words, even if a playback device and will regularly 20 years later (almost unbelievably), it still wouldn’t have anything to connect, because you want TV then, too long ago will be gone.

CD and DVD drives, consumer DVD-video players

The situation with these devices also gives sadness, as with the development of high-speed Internet channels, social networking and online video, they are actively covered up by dust. Now even many laptops and personal computers equipped with DVD drives, but we are gently displace the so-called “cloud technologies” and a few years to buy these drives would be a problem, after 20 years in the living will remain only a few DVD devices, and after 40-50 years they will have to remember not all people of the older generation. Also meaningless is the decision to store photos and videos on even the best optical disk with warranty for 1000 years as in the future they still won’t open.

Computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and phones.

Almost completely the last few years of our lives are stored in these devices directly or indirectly, on hard drives, internal storage media of various types, memory cards, MicroSD, etc. We store gigabytes of photos and videos in their devices without even thinking how fragile and even cowardly it may be that the apparent reliability of digital information. And once in surprise (most of them horror) have found that the computer or the laptop stops running due to problems with the hard drive, which unexpectedly failed and took with me to your tunnel of light to heaven all of our digital memories, so neatly sorted into folders with dates and names on drive D. after a few years such modern and fashionable digital devices will be replaced new, and our photos and videos will remain in the old and who knows if it will work you get them out.

Analog and digital carriers become obsolete or deteriorating

Video cassettes VHS, Video 8 (analogue record); MiniD, Digital 8 (digital recording).

How to store digital photos and videos

Term video storage is highly dependent on the quality of the film video cassettes – in most cases after 10 years even on the best of the original VHS video quality begins to fall in 20 years video on the analog video may be too much noisy and blurry, and on digital tapes will be lost to half frame, and after 40 years, most likely, will remain that, just a uniform noise or blurry or sketchy images. The analogue of the effect of a gradual loss of video on membranous carriers can be seen on regular audio cassettes in which record, as noted by many, after a few years it becomes much quieter, gradually lost in the background noise. Another is to consider that often the tapes were overwritten several times, the film surface prone to wear even with a simple playback of the VCR and during storage no rewind tapes once a year (as recommended), which does not adds to the quality of the video remains.

CD or DVD drives.

How to store digital photos and videos

There is a legend that to store photos and videos on optical disk is very reliable and in good conditions, these carriers can save data up to 1000 years, but that is true only by half. Yes, indeed, original CDs and DVDs, produced and recorded at the factory, perfectly preserved in a cool dark place for 100 years and more. But almost all of our digital photos and videos recorded on a cheap DVD drives in computers and laptops is not the best mode (maximum recording speed) on both CD and DVD discs (“discs”) of different quality, so many of them after 5-10 years read not very confident, and after 20 years even with very careful keeping almost all of them will turn into a useless shiny toys.

To check this, enough to get their first CD and turn on fast rewind on the DVD player – most likely that is already happening in many places, the video will slow down, indicating some degradation of the recorded layer. Special superior discs (e.g. TDK ScratchProof, Verbatim Archival Gold) is much more resistant to scratching and the action of time, but after a couple of decades even quality discs won’t open, and so writing to them can still be considered lost.

Flash Drive, SD, MicroSD, SSD hard drives, etc.

How to store digital photos and videos

They are small, cheap, capacious, compact and convenient, but not necessary to hope that the media finally you can securely save your digital photos, videos and documents. New technologies will not give you eternal life Your electronic archives, because the expected term storage of information on flash cards for about 10 years, and unplugged the SSD drives can start to lose data already in 3-6 months! In addition, they have unpleasant feature – if you lose, all at once, what came across very many. For example, zaglyuchit controller failed to be extracted from the USB connector or accidentally Rusnet pocket flash drive and information is lost, completely and generally forever. In other words, modern SSDs are very comfortable for daily work with information, but completely unsuitable for long-term storage.

Hard disk drives (HDD)

How to store digital photos and videos

The theoretical shelf life information on the platters of hard drives is up to 1000 years, but the hard drive is a device, which includes a very delicate mechanics and sophisticated electronics, and a failure of any component makes the entire disk unusable, besides the interfaces of hard disk drives (internal SATA, external USB) will definitely become obsolete in 15-20 years, and sometimes much sooner. However, the classic hard drives are used in almost all databases on the planet, so for all their faults, they are best suited for archiving for long term photos, videos, and documents, as safer technology digital storage of large volumes at the moment simply does not exist.

Unpleasant feature of hard drives is that in the case of degradation of the disk surface, you can usually manage to save all information to a new medium, but in the case of failure of the electronics, all the files immediately become inaccessible and data recovery on the hard disks in the specialized workshops are very expensive and not always possible, so be sure to do the duplication of information on the other device.

Computer viruses, accidental erasing

How to store digital photos and videos

Evil inventions unknown geniuses viruses are usually harmless for information on digital media, reinstall operating system and try antivirus not leave them over. But some (DirtyDecrypt, for example) purposeful encrypt, remove, or change these photos, videos and documents, after which they can be considered lost, because in most cases they will not be able to recover in the primary as even the experts.

Moreover, often the users themselves are trying to “clean up” your computer and with the trash in the basket and accidentally leave valuable files. It is usually detected later, when deleted photos, videos and documents have already been overwritten with new data and restore something doesn’t work either independently by specialized programs or with the help of experts. Also when you reinstall Windows, the layman often loses the valuable information stored on the system drive (usually on the desktop and in the folder “My documents”) because when you install a new operating system, it typically is formatted.

Photos printed on inkjet printers

Like any dye, pigment printed photographs fade over time and after a while the image fade – lose color and contrast. The main enemies of the photos not the time, and outdoor sunlight (specifically ultraviolet light), temperature and humidity (the higher, the quicker the aging). Photos printed using genuine quality ink (e.g. Epson Claria or DuraBrite Ultra) is much more sustainable than printed cheap compatible ink. For example, exposed to the bright summer sun photos, printed on affordable photo paper using compatible inks, only after 2 weeks lost a large part of the color or any one color, while the printed with high quality ink has not changed, although the time on them also works.

Simple rules on how to store digital photos, videos and documents

It is likely that the problem of obsolescence is a long touch on the most common file formats for storing photos and videos, and they will be supported by new devices throughout our life, so this should not worry – photo formats: jpg, jpeg, gif, png and video formats: mpeg2 (preferred), mkv, avi (divx), avi (xvid) and mp4.

The documents are much more complicated and can say unequivocally that never gets old, only text files (txt). It is assumed that the more rare the format used to store digital information, the higher the likelihood that it will become obsolete faster, so it is recommended to store documents in the most popular at this time formats (e.g., doc, xls, pdf).

The existing specialized system for backup of digital information commonly used in large organisations and are not applicable at home as they have a very high price and are served only by the specialists in this field.

To minimize the probability of losing their digital archives, it is necessary to follow a few simple rules:

  1. To store photos and videos in at least two places in a specific folder on the computer (laptop) and external hard drive that does not carry all the necessary and unnecessary places, and put on the shelf and periodically replenished. When technology will begin to abandon the internal SATA connector, or external USB connector through which the data can be read or write, to rewrite to a new similar types of media for storage.

The recommended amount external disk for maximum reliability (in the design of hard drive used 1-2 plates):

The 2.5-inch drive – 500-1000 GB

(For example, WD Elements 500GB WDBUZG5000ABK)

Drives 3.5 inch 1000-2000 GB

(For example, WD Elements Desktop WDBWLG0020HBK 2TB)

  1. To have a place to store photos, videos and documents on the Internet – Google.Drive, etc. Already, many services for information storage emit for free up to 25 GB (or even TB 5-8 incredible!!!) for unlimited time data storage. Is it safe to store photos and videos online? More likely than not, it is only necessary to choose a reliable store that will not disappear in a couple of years, although in the License agreement usually States that the service is free of information storage does not guarantee anything and can be closed at any time without explanation. Chances are that to keep the Internet its entire archive of home video will not work due to the limited amount of storage, speed of Internet or any other restrictions, so you should choose the most valuable or to pay for additional space or a guarantee of safety. About “unlimited time” – just a beautiful phrase, so like people all that longer than the rest of their lives – forever.

How to store digital photos and videos

  1. Once a year to print photos. It is quite easy and inexpensive to allocate an hour of time to choose the best 25-50 photos over the past year and to give to the printer. It is very important that the photo prints produced in a major office that you can trust. The quality of printed photos is easy to check – just put in the summer for a couple of weeks on the glass on the Sunny side of one photo. If after such a test color considerably not lost, it means that they will easily last without significant loss of quality no less than 40-50 years if photo albums to store in a dry and not very hot place. If color in the test period will fade, it is best to print photos elsewhere.
  1. To print or digitize analog media. To show, print or transfer with a special scanner in electronic form all undeveloped photographic film, as in a few years no one will be able to do so. Digitize your video tapes, while it is still possible, with the tuner, video capture card or a specialized firm. If too many tapes and digitizing turns out to be very expensive – only a select few. The most valuable is a video shot in a natural relaxed atmosphere, and not a very long record of celebrations or festive events with liters of alcohol.

As you can see, properly store your photos, videos and documents in digital form is a snap and it will not take a lot of time and money. Of course, these simple rules will not help in the case of global force majeure (e.g. heavy duty magnetic storm on the Sun or an electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude thermonuclear explosion that will destroy all electronics within a radius of several thousand km), but then in the new stone age we will remember the basics of agriculture, and not to grieve about what we looked like in his youth.

How to store digital photos and videos was last modified: December 4th, 2016 by Tomas Shellby