Dienstag, 18. Februar 2020

format zoo for videos - a bad idea in digital preservation


In an article on https://axfelix.github.io/ffv1, reasons are given not to apply the existing normalization of born-digital videos to FFV1, but to convert to lossy codecs instead. Elsewhere I even heard that normalization is not applied at all because it requires so many resources.

Why is normalization a good idea after all?

Normalization ensures that a manageable set of file formats remains from the huge format zoo, which can be handled well in the future. Normalization therefore reduces the organizational complexity above all.

And why should you use Matroska/FFV1?

FFV1 has the disadvantage of imposing higher storage requirements on its users, but in my opinion, the following points outweigh it:

  • FFV1 is much less complex than h264 (read "reduced technical complexity")
  • FFV1 (like other lossless codecs) allows automatic format migration (see also RAWcooked) — this reduces organizational complexity
  • FFV1 is freely available, widely used, well documented and standardized

The point that FFV1 is also more resistant to bit rot is just the icing on the cake.


Incidentally, personnel cost is the cost driver in digital preservation, as opposed to the pure storage cost.

Hence, the ultimate question is: how expensive is storage capacity in relation to the reduced technical and organizational complexity?