Archival FAQs

What is Best Way to Save My Video Collection?

There is an old IT rule, the rule of three (3-2-1) that you should consider when archiving all of your video content. It states to make 3 copies of anything you care about, in 2 different formats, with 1 offsite backup. This rule applies to preserving the video collection. We recommend saving your video files in three different places, and in different formats for play and storage. A suggested storage combination for preserving a family's digital video collection would be 1) an access copy on video Blu-ray Disc, 2) a data file stored on an external hard-drive and in an online "cloud hosted" repository; and 3) a USB Flash Drive or M-DISC in your safe deposit box. For a corporate archive, the company could consider a storage combination of optical disc, online storage network (onsite or cloud hosted), and LTO tape backup.

Do you offer a HOW-TO Guide for Archiving a Video Collection?

Yes, we do.

  • The short version of the Guide, with lots of pictures, is Here.
  • The longer version for insomniacs is Here.

What is the Best Approach for Archiving My Video Collection?

  • Professional archivists estimate that NO more than 5% of recorded content has enduring value. The video highlights, the moments that you want to share, the company records worth keeping......it is up to the person or department with the money (budget), time, and resources to make the decision on what to save. Managing video clutter requires time and commitment. Estimate saving 25% of your collection, and start now. Our recommended approach is to Digitize everything that you think valuable, place it on more than one storage technology, and preferably in a private secure location. We offer alternative storage media such as Blu-ray Disc, archival M-DISC, and LTO Tape, for backup of your valuable video collection.

  • Just passing on the content with no accompanying information (often called metadata) can result in lose as well. Will your great grandchildren know the people in your photos? Will the future leaders of your corporation understand the importance of the work you are doing today? That's why we offer our custom Memory Notes service for organizing, labeling, and infusing your content with additional information such as key words, file titles and descriptions, pop-up subtitles, voice narratives, and onscreen titles so that your videos retain their unique value farther into the future.

Give us a call on (800) 325-9541 and we can help you get started.

What is the most reliable digital media I can transfer my content to?

The M-DISC from Millenniata can hold up to 4.7GB of video content, and is rated by the US Dept. of Defense to retain information for up to 1,000 years. Optical Disc readers are projected to be around for the next 30 years, so the M-DISC can be a fairly reliable means of holding your important videos in archive storage (vault or safe deposit box); click here to read more about this technology and view a video on it.

I have a large library of content I need to have transferred and archived, what is the best option?

LTO-6 tapes can store video content equivalent of up to 2,600 hours of standard definition video (in mp4 format). For large transfers to archival media we recommend the LTO tape because of it's proven reliability and storage capacity. We can also offer transfer to dual layer Blu-ray disc, these discs can store up to 50GB of data and can be played in your Blu-ray disc player. Contact Us to discuss the best options for your large order or you can visit our LTO Tape page for more information.

How can I add value to my archived content?

  • Cintrex specializes in taking static content and turning it into dynamic content that will be valuable for generations to come. How will your grandchildren learn the history of their family and the individual stories that have taken place along the way? An old black and white film transferred to a DVD or Blu-ray will let them see the past, but will they understand the past?
  • We offer a variety of services that allow you pass information along with the images of the past. Third-party or self-narration options are available. Future generations will be sure to understand your story when they hear you or professional voice talent telling the story that goes with each image. On-screen titles during your video can tell the who, what, where, when, and why of the story for you. Royalty free instrumental music of all styles can be added to make the content more enjoyable to view.

Contact Us now to find out more about how we can help you breathe life into your archives.

Why use LTO Tape for video backup?

Cintrex AV offers Ultrium Tape backup services to customers wanting to place large amounts of video and audio content onto a proven, long term archival tape solution. One (1) LTO-6 tape can store up to 2.6TB of video content and an LTO-5 can store up to 1.5TB of video content. Ultrium LTO ½” magnetic tapes have been around since 2000, and are a well-supported standard by IBM, HP, Quantum, Sony, Hitachi and others. LTO tapes consume less energy than spinning discs, fare better for long term storage because there are fewer instances of failure due to less moving mechanical parts, and are inexpensive to transport compared to transporting large amount of data across expensive, fat network pipes. The advertised shelf life for LTO tapes is 30 years in proper storage conditions. Content stored on LTO-6 or LTO-5 tapes can be recalled for later use and re-purposed when needed. The LTO tape and tape drive standards are regularly updated, and each new generation of tape drive is always backwards compatible with the two most recent previous generations of LTO tapes.

LTO-6 versus LTO-5 Ultrium Tape, which media to use?

Your existing LTO-5 tapes are good for quite some time (up to 30 years). We can restore content from your LTO-5 tapes using either our LTO-5 or LTO-6 tape drives. LTO-6 tapes and tape drives were introduced to the market in January 2013. LTO-6 tapes have the double the storage capacity in the same physical form and cartridge size. Going forward, we have the option to archive your new content to either generation tape. LTO-6 tape media is double the price of a LTO-5 tape, but it makes for a smaller footprint of tapes on larger jobs, and ends up costing the same. Once Cintrex AV understands the requirements of your video archive project, we can make a recommendation on the best media for your job. A primer on LTO Tape technology shows that LTO-7 and LTO-8 technology specs have been added to the LTO road map but without specific release dates at this time. In the future, maybe in 2020, when LTO-8 tape technology does become available, we can consider copying your archived content onto 1 or 2 LTO-8 tapes so that your content is on the latest technology. Each new generation of LTO tape drive can read content from the previous two generations' tapes.

What is the process to archive video content onto LTO tape?

  1. Safe Transport of your video assets - With your order in our web store, the process begins with shipment of your video files (assets) into Cintrex. It is best practice to always have a duplicate copy of these video files in separate storage, as backup protection against possible loss or damage in shipment. You have the choice of using your own external hard-drives, or using "loaner" hard-drives from Cintrex, for transport of your video files. If your files have already been backed up, and you wish to save time, you may send in your own external hard-drives, and we will pay for the shipment. After placing an order in our web store, you will receive a URL link and instructions to print off a UPS label for attachment to your package shipment into Cintrex AV. If instead, you choose to order our "loaner" drives, we will ship Cintrex AV external hard-drives to your location; these drives to be used for storage of your video files and their shipment back to Cintrex, using a Cintrex provided UPS shipping label. The benefit to you is that the master video files remain safe at your location, and not lost in shipment. The archive rate increases $0.01 per GB (1 penny) with use of our loaner hard-drives.

  2. Follow Customer Documentation - Please provide documentation on job scope - specifying your expected outcomes, naming conventions, organization, and information tagging of video files to be archived.

  3. Selection of Tape type - We offer use of either WORM (Write Once Read Many) or RW (Read-Write) Tapes. if RW tapes are requested, Cintrex will flip the tape’s write protect tab as each tape is filled to protect contents from being over-written until in the hands of the end customer. If WORM tapes are asked for - once a WORM tape is written, it cannot be overwritten or erased and no user intervention is required to protect the data written to the tape. Transfer data rates as high as 400mps when reading stored data off the tapes.

  4. Ingestion and Conversion - If the customer’s content is not already digitized to the desired final data file format, Cintrex can first ingest various types of video, image and audio content, and then convert (transcode) the digitized content to the customer’s preferred final format.

  5. Organization and Cataloging of Content – Per the customer’s direction, Cintrex AV will organize the content into data folders and files before placement on the LTO tape. We can include metadata on the saved projects and other text notes as appropriate for the job.

  6. Support for various storage software platforms - Cintrex AV has experience and licenses for HP Data Protector Express, Symantec Backup Exec, TOLIS Group BRU PE, and LTFS (Linear Tape File System). Our familiarity with these software applications, and various tar and untar prompts, provides flexibility to write and restore data per customer specifications.

  7. Archive and Verify - Archive process includes inventory of contents upon receipt into our lab, review of customer provided instructions, organization of content to be archived, archiving to tape, verification of contents - matching source and destination files, cataloging contents placed on LTO tape, and capturing screen shots of tape file layout. We archive digital video content to your choice of LTO-6 or LTO-5 Tapes. We offer both open and proprietary solutions to promote inter-exchangeability of tapes. We do this in two ways, and one method may be preferred over the other, depending upon the customer’s computing and editing environment.

    • Method #1 – We format the tape to the open LTFS standard (Linear Tape File System) supported by tape drive manufacturers IBM, HP, and Quantum. First developed by IBM and adopted by LTO Technology Provider Companies, LTFS defines the organization of data and metadata on LTO tapes as files stored in a hierarchical directory structure. Data tapes written in the LTFS Format allow direct access to file content data and file metadata. Once the LTFS tape is mounted, users are able to use MAC's Finder or Windows' Explorer to view files in the same manner as if looking at content on an external hard-drive. A “drag and drop” then initiates the restoration process of the archived content. The benefits of LTFS are inter-exchangeability among operating systems (Windows, MAC OS, or Linux), hardware platforms and users, faster access to data, and ease of use and mobility. We recommend LTFS formatted LTO tapes for long term collaboration projects among a community of users with differing computer OS and tape drive platforms. Archived content placed on LTFS LTO tapes can be later restored by any end user, irregardless of what type computer OS or tape drive originally created the LTO-5/6 tape.
    • Method #2 - We format the LTO-5 or LTO-6 tape using a software solution from TOLIS Group titled BRU Producer's Edition, better known as "BRU PE". A backup and restore utility software program, BRU PE is specific for MAC OS X systems having connection to any manufacturers' LTO-5/6 tape drive. We use BRU PE to write session files, volumes, and folders onto LTO media for creation of the archived content. During the archiving process, BRU PE analyzes the original content and groups it into small data blocks that are more easily viewed and acted upon during the subsequent verification and restoration processes. With BRU PE, Cintrex AV is able to take digital content from multiple sources (hard-drives, P2 cards, other tapes, etc.) and arrange the content on the LTO tape to meet customer preferences, catalog the data and provide required metadata descriptions. BRU formatted LTO tapes are accompanied by a DVD containing report catalogs of tape's content and directories, as well as, the restoration software needed when mounting the tape in a LTO-5/6 tape drive. Many major entertainment organizations have standardized on BRU. We recommend BRU PE as the best LTO tape archiving solution because of its strong verification and restoration capabilities.

    • Benefit of Inter-exchangeability: storage format used on the finished LTO tapes offers inter-exchangeability of LTO tapes for a community of end users or collaboration team. We offer LTFS formatting for compatiblity with all brands of OS and tape drive; and BRU-PE tape formatting for MAC specific communities. The open formats of LTO-5 and LTO-6 tapes allow for, or enable, restoration of tape contents by a large community of other vendors and customer partners.


  8. Hard-copy Records - The final tape product includes appropriate labeling or bar coding on the tape casing, paper reports on the tape’s contents, and a digital copy on data DVD of the index logs and media content reports from the transfer and deposit process.

  9. Average Turnaround - Average turnaround within our labs for this service is 1 day for each 4TB of video being archived. This does not include shipment transit time.

  10. Return Contents - You receive back new LTO tape(s) with the archived video content, and a DVD containing the tape catalog of content, screen shots of file layout on LTO tape, and the restoration software needed to restore tape contents in the future.

  11. Payment - We charge your credit card when we have completed your order. If you chose the "loaner" external hard-drive option for transport of your video files into Cintrex, we will authorize a deposit fee against the credit card on file, this amount being $300 for every 4TB of "loaner" storage capacity sent to your site. Once the loaner drives are returned to Cintrex and your order is completed, the authorization amount is converted to a charge on the card and applied towards the original purchase price of your order.

How much is a second copy of the LTO Tape?

$0.08 per GB to create a second set of LTO tape(s).

How much is offsite storage for a second LTO tape copy?

$55 annually

What if I want a custom quote?

For custom quotes fill out our Digital Archival Service Form or please call us at (800) 325-9541.

Storage Containers?

LTO Tape Carrying Cases – availability of carrying cases to protect tapes from damage from shock or impact, from debris from foreign contaminants, and temperature and humidity extremes. Cases are sized according to the number of tapes it needs to contain, ranging from 4 tapes up to 20 tapes.