This time of year I get very busy with videotape and film transfers, recovering those lost memories that are trapped on obsolete media. The videos make a great Christmas gift, or a wonderful activity to share with family over the holidays.
I can still deliver the video on DVD if that’s what the customer wants, but recently I have been recommending forgoing the disk in favor of .mp4 files. The files can be provided over the internet through a file sharing site like Dropbox or Google Drive, on an external hard drive or, most commonly, on a thumb drive.
A DVD can be played in a DVD player and shown on a television or monitor. That’s it. It cannot be copied or backed up without specialized software or hardware. It cannot be played on many newer laptops, as they don’t have disk drives. Within the next 10-20 years, DVDs will be as obsolete as VHS tapes are now.
Video files, or mp4’s, are just computer files. They can be moved, copied, renamed… just like any other computer file. Most importantly, they can be backed up. Multiple copies can be made and distributed, to insure that these treasured memories will always be preserved. The files can be watched on a smart television, or through any device that connects to a computer or has a USB port. They can be edited. They can be shared in social media or on YouTube or Vimeo. They can be stored in the cloud. They can be viewed on phones and tablets.
Some people request both DVDs and .mp4s. As long as there is a desire for DVDs, I will continue to offer them. But, when preserving our video memories for the future, we need to look to the future.
Dave Waldman is a video storyteller and owner of Treasured Memories Video and B2B Video Solutions in Bedford, New Hampshire. He can be reached at (603) 566-3075 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is davidwaldman.com.