Knowledge Base

  • Posted on: 25 April 2013
  • By: monkeydna
knowledge base

Video Car Cams
An in-car camera is a great investment for any car owner, the same way an indoor camera system is for a home owner. One can be used as a car security camera or to to monitor the driving habits of employees or new drivers. Those designed as security cameras for cars will usually have features like night vision and a long battery life. A dashboard camera may also include features like GPS logging and speed reporting. For some, a miniature camera can make a good low-cost car cam. Though not particularly designed for the application, they are usually motion activated and capable of capturing any vandalism or break-in. Brickhouse Security offers a long list of security options and we strongly recommend viewing their sight. read…

Personal Archiving

Increasingly our possessions and our communications are no longer material, they’re digital and they are dependent on technology to make them accessible. As new technology emerges and current technology becomes obsolete, we need to actively manage our digital possessions to help protect them and keep them available for years to come. These pages offer simple and practical strategies for personal digital preservation.

Keeping Personal Digital Records
You probably have resumes, school papers, financial spreadsheets, presentation slides or other digital documents. You might also have digital copies of original hard copy documents such as letters, maps or family histories. Some of this information may have enduring value. For this type of information it is important to decide which documents to save. Think about different versions, such as drafts and earlier copies. Drafts, for example, can provide important details that do not appear in final versions. read more

Keeping Personal Digital Photographs
Photos have rich personal meaning. And photos are unique: if they are lost, the information they provide can never be replaced.
How to Transfer Photos from Your Camera to Your Computer (PDF, 213 Kb) VIDEO:
source: Phil Michel, Digital Conversion Coordinator from the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographs division, offers advice on archiving digital photos.

Digital Photography Archiving Tips
Identify where you have digital photos
• Identify all your digital photos on cameras, computers and removable media such as memory cards.
• Include your photos on the more

Keeping Personal Digital Audio
You may have many digital audio files with music, lectures and other sound recordings. Some of these have personal, financial or other value that leads you to keep them for a long time. You should make sure that the audio files you select for saving are in an open file format. This will ensure the greatest flexibility for future use.

Audio Archiving Tips
Identify your digital audio files
• Identify your audio files on computers, audio players, phones and removable media such as memory cards and DVDs.
• Include audio files that you manage through audio software. Decide which audio recordings have long-term value learn more

Keeping Personal Digital Video
Technical file quality is an important consideration for digital video. Videos that are posted on the Web, for example, are often grainy and have less information than the original version. Save the highest quality versions of your videos along with good descriptive information about them. How to Transfer Video from Tape, DVD or Camera to Your Computer (PDF, 242 KB)

Podcast PODCAST Audiovisual archivist Linda Tai offers practical solutions for preserving digital video. read more

Video Archiving Tips
Identify where you have digital videos
• Identify all your digital videos on cameras, computers, phones and removable media such as memory cards.
• Include your videos on the Web. Decide which videos are most important
• Pick the videos you feel are most important.
• You can pick a few videos or many
• You can save just final edited versions or you can also save unedited footage
• If there are multiple versions of an important video, save the one with highest quality. learn more

Keeping Personal Electronic Mail
Like paper letters, your e-mail messages document important events, transactions and relationships.
Saving an e-mail involves keeping it separate from your e-mail program. This is because e-mail programs are not meant to keep information for a long time: they can change or stop providing support at any time.

How to Archive Email (PDF, 84 KB) Decide which messages have long-term value
• Pick the messages you feel are especially important.
• You can pick a few messages or many.
• Save attachments that are part of the selected messages.

Electronic Mail Archiving Tips
Identify all your e-mail sources
• Identify your personal e-mail accounts.
• Within each account, find all folders or other separate groupings of messages; include any "archived" messages. read more

Keeping Personal Websites, Blogs and Social Media
If you have a blog, website, Facebook page or other way to share information on the Internet, you also have a rich source of information that you should think about saving for the future.
For this category you need to start any archiving process by first identifying what you have. You might have multiple places where you share information, and you should give consideration to them all.

Website Archiving Tips Identify where you have Websites
• Locate all your content on the Web, including personal websites and social media sites and services.
• Be sure to include current information as well as any older (archived) content. read more


I wouldn't throw out all your floppy drives or zip drives. Save one of each with the appropriate hardware connectors.

Many of us have years/decades of photographs, slides and negatives in photo albums, sitting in boxes, bags, drawers, etc. These photos, slides and negatives are the only visual link we have to our past, serve as a visual tool for our Family Trees/Ancestors Heritage. Many times too often these items are in such a state of degradation that only a professional can restore them which is not a cheap endeavor. Many of us wait and put it off till its way too late and all those memories are lost forever. I ask why wait till that happens? Here's how to handle this project.

  • Drag out all those photos, slides and negatives
  • Invite family and friends over
  • Make some refreshments
  • Pour over the boxes of memories
  • Reminisce, laugh, re-live those times 
  • Determine how you may want to sort out the photos. By date, by person, place, etc.?
  • Collect them into piles and indicate what, where, who, when.
  • Finally, if you have a video camera handy, record the event. You will be surprised how much more information you will learn about those bygone memories.

Once you have all your items separated and organized bring them to your local scanning bureau/Kinkos, copy center etc. Or you may want to do it yourself.

  • Important note*
    I strongly suggest that you augment the images with text of who, what, where, when etc., for your decedents so that they will know what they are viewing long after you're gone.

We finally launched our Facebook page. Please check it out.

PME's solution to pre-organizing your photos for scanning-

As part of your ancestral documentation PME provides this method as a courtesy to your children and your children's children, ad infinitum.

• VERY IMPORTANT! Scanning your images is not cheap and it shouldn't be cheap. PME scans all photo images by hand at 800 dpi. Slides and negatives at 4000 dpi. We do not feed them into a machine and hope for the best. We make certain that your precious images and slides are handled with the utmost care and consideration.

Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)
"The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one's feet."

• Collect all your photos, slides and negatives.

• Arrange the collection in an area for easy access and retrieval.

• Separate the photos, slides and negatives. 

• Call family, friends, anyone interested. Make this a family event.

• This is the fun part. Make some refreshments. Go through each photo and slide/negative. Talk about the images, reminisce, re-live the memories. Many minds added to the mix helps determine who, what, where, when these photos were taken. (Whenever possible my mom always marked the back of each photo with names, places and dates). Thanks Mom!

• Document dates, people, places, when, where, in the images and note them for future reference.

• If you have a video camera handy, record the event as well. This will help you later if you need to verify an image and it's also another way for your descendants to share in your memories.

• Separate images and slides/negatives that show obvious and significant degradation. This pile will take priority over others.

• After you have sorted all your memories, decide which ones you want to have scanned first. (usually the oldest/worst are done first)

• Be sure to allocate the extra finances to have information such as who, what, where, or when included in each image. Your descendants will not know anything about your images if you do not indicate this. 

For all the DIY-ers...

Employing the use of a digital video editing service like PME is typically the way to go. However for you hard core boys n girls you may want to (DIY- Do It Yourself) which can be fun and extremely rewarding! With a little patience and perseverance and of course some spare change, you can build your own NLE system for a reasonable amount of dough.

One of the most confusing things about digital video editing is the storage requirement. In an article written by Videoguys Techs they point out useful information that will help you better understand just what kind of storage you'll need for your video productions. Mac or PC based video editors face the same storage challenges and questions, and here are the straight forward answers you need!

Top 5 Storage Rules
You have a lot of choices for drives to store your digital video files. A stand-alone SATA hard drive is fast enough for editing Standard Definition (SD) footage using DV or MPEG2 compression. But, if you're working with uncompressed SD footage or HD footage, a more robust storage solution is recommended.

1. You can never have too much storage.
DV compressed video requires 13GB per hour of footage, ProRes 422 requires 66GB per hour. While this may not seem like a big deal to you today, it sure was not so many years ago. Back in 1998 a 9GB SCSI drive would cost you over $1500!! And if you wanted to create great looking video, you had no choice but to invest that kind of money. Today's SATA drives are faster, more reliable and most importantly offer far greater capacities at a fraction of the cost. You can find 1TB drives (1,000 GB) for under $100 online.

2. It's the throughput baby!
Seek times and peak transfer rates mean nothing for video production. All we care about is sustained throughput. We don't care about the highest specs of the drive. We only care about the minimum. If the sustained data rate of the drive dips below the required transfer rate for our video, the result is jerky playback, messed up audio and dropped frames. Given today's technology, there is no excuse for this. When in doubt, get better storage than you think you will need.
RPMs are a good indicator of a drives over-all performance. For video work it is recommended you have drives rated 7200 RPM or faster. Many 5400 RPM drives do not have the sustained throughput required for NLE (Non Linear Editing) work.

3. A single drive will get slower as it fills with data.
A hard drive is a spinning disk. Back when we all had turntables and records, this was very easy to explain. If you placed a penny on the outer edge of the record, it would travel a much greater distance in a single rotation than a penny placed near the label on the inside of the LP. More distance over the same period of time equals greater speed. Using this analogy today just gets me a strange look by most people. But the reality is still the same: A single drive will get slower as it fills with data. Even with todays SATA
technology we have seen that once a drive reaches 75% of capacity, the sustained data rate starts to drop off considerably.
Drives are so big, affordable & fast today that this rule at times does not even apply. You can buy a 1TB drive for under $100, that's big enough to store over 15 hours of ProRes 422 or 75 hours of DV/HDV video. Even though we don't want you to fill the drive beyond 75% capacity - that still leaves you with enough room for several hours of video!

4. Use a dedicated drive for your video projects and media.
With today's powerful processors, lightening fast memory, super 3D graphics cards and huge SATA hard drives; you can capture, edit & playback single stream DV video with your system drive. That said, we still urge you to get a dedicated hard drive (7200 RPM or faster) for all your video clips. This will produce the best results - especially for video projects over 1 hour in length. If you are going to be editing HD footage we still recommend a dedicated RAID for all your video and media. That will give you the best results.

5. RAIDs are GREAT for video!!
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks. That means that 2 or more drives are grouped and formatted together in order to provide greater storage and performance. There are several different types of RAID, which will be posted later. Setting up a RAID is very simple and easy to do. If you are putting together a new machine for video editing we recommend selecting a motherboard with a built-in SATA RAID controller. Not only will this work great, but we've found they often include very easy to use RAID configuration software. If you have a laptop or you do not want to open up your computer you can ad an external RAID solution like Videoguys' G-Tech G- RAIDs.


Check out VideoGuys Website...

Many times, more than I wish to admit we get videos taken by our customers to have transferred on to digital media that seem to miss the mark of adequate "people"  representation. What I mean by this for example is, imagine a family outing to a park  or museum. Much of the video/film has been shot of scenery, landscapes, buildings, you get the picture and a vast majority of the people present have cameo appearances of less than 2-3 secs. I can't stress the importance of full facial capture of less than 20 secs and full body capture as well. Unless you're shooting the scenery , buildings, landscaping, etc, that is understandable but the need to capture our family and friends is paramount for obvious reason. 

    • 1

      Insert any loose DVDs into new cases or sleeves. DVDs that are left out in the open run the risk of dust buildup and scratches, which will lead to the disc skipping, freezing, or not reading at all. You can purchase cases or sleeves at most electronic or office supply stores. Quantities vary, and you can get a set of as few as three or as many as 25 depending on cost and need. Paper sleeves can be even cheaper if you are not concerned with displaying your collection. Alternatively, you can purchase a CD book, but it will not provide as much protection.

    • 2

      Transfer your DVDs into the room you want to keep them in. Make sure you do not store them in direct sunlight, extreme heat, or extreme cold. Typically DVDs should be stored in a room where the temperature varies between 39 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (four to 20 degrees Celsius). Ideally, for long-term storage, a temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit is preferred. Relative humidity should be between 20 percent and 50 percent--the lower the better.

    • 3

      Arrange your DVD collection in the manner you want to store them. If you have a larger collection, you will likely need to put them in some type of order to ensure that they are easier to find. Alphabetical order by title is the easiest and quickest way. You can also subdivide them by genre first, then alphabetically. For example, you will want to arrange your action-adventure titles from A to Z. After that, you can organize comedy A to Z, then drama, horror, science fiction, etc.

    • 4

      Place your DVDs appropriately. If you are storing them in sleeves or a book, keep them in a drawer, or better yet, a sealed plastic container. This will provide an extra level of protection against dust and undesirable temperatures. If you are going to display them, place them side by side, like books, as opposed to laying them flat. This will also prevent exposure to unwanted elements and provide better long-term storage for your DVD collection.