Converting videotapes to digital files is the best way to preserve them for posterity. This also frees up storage space, eliminates clutter, and a lot of time spent dusting! If you’ve already digitized your old videos, congratulations are in order, however, you may still have some homework organizing them! If you haven’t done so, we recommend considering the best storage methods for digital video files prior to getting them converted. Although digital file formats won’t visibly add to physical clutter and collect dust like your old VHS tapes, you need to give some thought to organizing and storing them. Disorganized digital folders and semi-cloud-synced albums may not present the same issues as non-archival shoeboxes and dust-covered cases, but can easily lead to unnecessary woes.
Storage Options for Digital Videos
Storage options include flash drive storage, DVDs, and the cloud. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help you decide the best storage method to suit your needs.
By the 2000s, DVDs were clearly the preferred video format and VHS began to lose its status as the go-to format. Digital files can be burned to DVDs and you can do this yourself if you have the right equipment, or choose this option when you send videotapes to ScanCafe.
Pros: DVDs have withstood the test of time, with proven reliability for more than two decades. DVDs are far sleeker than VHS tapes and other analog media. Although DVD recording options are on their way out, playback devices are still readily available, making this a viable option for storing digital family memories and movies.
Cons: DVD recorders are becoming increasingly scarce. Most new laptop models don’t come equipped with built-in DVD writers. When you look at flash drive vs. DVD storage, DVD capacity pales in comparison. A DVD can store several hours of video footage and a few GBs of files, but thumb drives offer so much more. DVDs can be played by anyone with the right equipment, which isn’t a problem unless your content is confidential.
Thumb Drives/Flash Drives
When you send old analog media to ScanCafe, we can transfer VHS tapes to thumb drives. When they were first introduced, thumb drives, flash drives (also called jump), and USB sticks quickly made 3.5-inch floppy disks obsolete. Today, these drives typically can hold a minimum of 256 megabytes and a maximum of several gigabytes of data, due to improvements in technology over the last two decades.
Pros: Thumb drives offer compact portability, vast storage capability, ease of use, security protection functionality, and fast access.
Cons: Due to their small size, thumb drives can easily be misplaced or lost. If the thumb drive is plugged into a computer infected with a virus, it is vulnerable to malware that will make it unreadable. Improperly ejecting a drive you’re working on can corrupt the data.
Storing digital videos and other files in the cloud that is shareable across devices seems like a better choice than hogging valuable storage space on your PC or phone. A dizzying array of choices can make this option seem daunting, but an abundance of reputable reviews from unbiased sources can help inform your choice. Cloud storage has become more affordable due to competition from a growing number of providers, such as IDrive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon Drive, and Apple iCloud Drive.
Pros: Cloud storage offers many positive perks including scalability at the push of a button (up or down), accessibility and sharing from any device at any location, pay-per-usage pricing, emergency backup, quick access if you have a fast internet connection, and storage immortality because this method eliminates obsolete hardware.
Cons: If your internet connection is subpar, accessing your files in a timely manner could prove frustrating. Digital downloads in the cloud are prone to a growing number of ever-clever hackers.
Bottom line… What works best for someone else may not be the best option for you. If you opt for the cloud, we suggest doing research to find the most secure, affordable, and reliable solution. Like flash drives, cloud solutions have different price points and storage capacities.