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Home > Guidelines > File format comparisons > Formats for videotape Reformatting

Digital File Formats for Videotape Reformatting

The project to compare video formats for reformatting is being led by the National Archives and Records Administration with significant input from the Library of Congress.  The resulting matrixes offer comparisons of the wrappers AVI, MOV (QuickTime), Matroska, MXF, and MPEG-2 (ad hoc file wrapper), and the following encodings: uncompressed (various types), lossless JPEG 2000, ffv1, and MPEG-2 (encoding). The Working Group's starting point is a useful 2011 report by George Blood for the Library of Congress titled Determining Suitable Digital Video Formats for Medium-term Storage. The inclusion of MXF means that the comparison will complement the FADGI Audio-Visual Working Group's active contributions to the finalization of the MXF AS-07 application specification for preservation and archiving, a "pre-version" of which has been adopted by the Library of Congress as their video preservation format.  Nevertheless, as the finalization of AS-07 continues, members of the Working Group and others have expressed interest in evaluating alternate digital file formats.  These alternate formats may be appropriate to certain classes of content, for use as interim measures, or suitable for organizations in modest technical circumstances.

  • Part 1. Detailed Matrix for Wrappers (unified large table) (PDF). December 2, 2014.
    • This table presents all of the information about wrappers in a single table to facilitate comparisons. All pages after the cover are intended for printing on 11x17-inch paper. Part 2 provides the same information on multiple, easily printable pages.
  • Part 2. Detailed Matrix for Wrappers (multi-page) (PDF). December 2, 2014.
    • This document presents the information about wrappers on multiple, easily printable pages. Part 1 provides the same information in a unified table to facilitate comparisons.
  • Part 3. Detailed Matrix for Encodings (unified large table) (PDF). December 2, 2014.
    • This table presents all of the information about encodings in a single table to facilitate comparisons. All pages after the cover are intended for printing on 11x17-inch paper. Part 4 provides the same information on multiple, easily printable pages.
  • Part 4. Detailed Matrix for Encodings (multi-page) (PDF).  December 2, 2014.
    • This document presents the information about encodings on multiple, easily printable pages. Part 3 provides the same information in a unified table to facilitate comparisons.
  • Part 5. Narrative and Summary Tables (PDF).  December 2, 2014.
    • Explanatory document and abbreviated version of the two large matrixes.

Comments are always welcome.

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Working Groups

Still Image Working Group
This group is involved in a cooperative effort to develop common digitization guidelines for still image materials.

Audio-Visual Working Group
The goal for this working group is to identify, establish, and disseminate information about standards and practices for the digital reformatting of audio-visual materials by federal agencies.

Last Updated: 12/2/2014