What Format Should I Choose?

  In general you have a choice between the .Mov format for Mac Users or .Avi format for PC Users. These video formats are great for customers that demand the highest resolution possible from their analog video tapes while maintaining its original size . The .Mov and .Avi formats is set for your editing or archiving for posterity .

     You are not "Stuck" with these video formats forever. In the future if you switch from a Mac to a PC or maybe a friend or family member wants a copy in another format then at that point you can go to the Microsoft or Apple store to get a video converter. A Video Converter will turn the High Quality video file that we created for you into many of the different modern formats available today to be used on your computer, Smart TV or mobile device. Encoders (Codecs) are also available. Encoders are needed to play a format that is not native to your computer without any converting first and is normally free from Microsoft  for Windows or Quick Time for MacOS.


     Many smart TVs today are built to play.AVIs but only a few will play the.Mov format. please refer to your smart TV Model user's manual to see what type of files it requires if you plan to watch videos on an external drive via it's USB port.

  Mp4 which is often requested will play on almost anything but it is not an archival file type because it is heavily compressed and is designed to be used on portable devices like mobile phones ,emailing, net distribution and video streaming. When played on a big screen TV .Mp4 lacks in resolution.


   1hour of High Quality .AVI or .MOV format is about 15GB in Size for 720x480 analog tapes compared to the heavily compressed .Mp4(H264) which is only about 1gb


   Be careful with Do It Yourself video capture devices from Amazon or Ebay because the .Mp4 format it produces  is low in definition and many have lip sync issues when capturing videos longer than 30minutes.

  We have chosen to use .MOV and .AVI as the archival format based on Industry recommendations which can be read in any of these three articles.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Recommended Preservation Formats


National Archives Table of Acceptable Formats


A Short Guide to Choosing a Digital Format


Thank you so much for inquiring with us :)