Archiving home videos

Not sure this is the right forum - please move it if not :slight_smile:

I have a JVC camcorder and I want to essentially archive/reformat the videos from it so they’re safe & useable.

The camera records onto SD card. Every time you press the record button it creates two new files a .MOD file with the video & a .MOI with info in it. The files are named 001.MOD/001.MOI up to 00F.MOD/00F.MOI (hexadecimal). The MOD files are mpeg video+audio which I believe are DVD standard, possibly.

I found ( which copies the .MOD files to yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm.MPG by reading the .MOI files, I modded it a bit to cover the fact that two video files could have the same date & time to the minute (two 20 second clips both recorded on the same date at 10:50am for eg).

The camcorder records in 16:9, but when I play the files (.MOD or the .MPG) in a computer video player, it plays them at 4:3 (looks squished) & I need to tell the player the aspect ratio manually.

What I want to do is transcode all these short clips into one video file (one per month or per ‘event’ eg birthday) that I can play on the computer & maybe burn some to DVD.

I’d like the transcoded clips to be played in order by date & time, play at the correct aspect ratio, and not lose too much information in the process.

I’ve tried so far:

#concat all files for Oct 2011 to one mpg file
mencoder -forceidx -oac copy -ovc copy 2011-10-* -o 2011-10.mpg

#and then
#transcode that to an avi, and tell it the aspect ratio
ffmpeg -i 2011-10.mpg -sameq -aspect 16:9 2011-09.avi

Seems OK at first, but upon inspection the avi is out of sync: the audio leads the video by ~20 seconds!! and there are big square artifacts in the video.
I tried correcting the audio by

mencoder 2011-10.avi -oac copy -ovc copy -delay -20 -o 2011-10_fixed.avi

Sync is better after that, but the duration of the movie is now 20 seconds shorter. Am I losing video?

Does anyone have a better idea of how to do this? Am I making it too complicated? What I want is to just have fewer video files by joining ones that go together, and then keep them in a decent enough format that I can watch them again in 30 years. The last is important to me because most of them are of the first two years of my son’s life. Do not want to jeff them up!

Any suggestions are really appreciated!

Any suggestions for a good place to keep all these videos safe from fire/theft/hard drive failure/optical disc degradation etc for a long time also appreciated!

Do not transcode MPG to AVI. You can’t copy mpeg stream to AVI container - it’s not standard and you will have some troubles playing it.

Also don’t transcode to xvid/x264 unless you know what are you doing (interlaced encoding with proper field order).
Even if did properly, it will degrade quality much. Every time you transcode you will lose permanently some quality.

Use DVD Styler or Bombodo DVD to make DVD-Video disc from mpeg files. If they are DVD compatible, they won’t be transcoded, just re-multiplexed into VOB.
MPEG/VOB files can be also used on Blu Ray disc without transcoding, you can use multiavchd with wine to author such bd disc.
Whether authoring BD or DVD, set 16:9 format for proper playback on standalone player.

Also, try Avidemux to perform mpeg joining/cutting/converting to various formats. But for archival purposes, leave it in MPEG. It’s an industry standard.


Thanks for the info - I’ll keep them as standard mpeg files. For some reason I thought that it would be better to transcode them to mkv(ogg + matroska?) or mp4 for future-proofing. AVI was basically a trial run.

Avidemux is quite good, thanks for the pointer. Took me a while to figure it out - I kept getting just video or segfaults. Then I found the Auto menu & picked dvd and everything was good :slight_smile: It’s a lot slower than the mencoder command I used above to join the individual files. However, the A/V sync is correct, so whatever mencoder was doing, it wasn’t doing it right…

I saw there’s a script interface for avidemux. I’m looking around to try & find (or make) a script that will take a directory (or regex) and mash the videos inside/matching together (in order) and output to whatever Auto>DVD creates.