Acquiring Video

Acquiring Edited Video and Elements

Edited videos are videos that are created using other videos as sources. They can range from complex productions to the simple addition of logos or title cards to raw video footage.

Acquiring edited videos involves a slightly different approach from acquiring raw video footage. First of all, the “original” file is not relevant since the video is outputted from an editing system and there is no direct connection to a recorded event. Second, the creation of edited videos can generate a variety of other files that may need to be acquired depending on the intended future use of the edited video.

Make Sure You Have a Master

Always acquire a “master” copy — the highest quality copy of an edited video — when possible. If you are outputting the video from editing software, export a high-quality video as your master, even if you do not have an immediate use for it. You can export additional copies in other formats as needed.

Remember that once a video is outputted, there is no way to improve its visual or audio quality. Having a high-quality master is therefore especially important if you will not have access to the raw footage or the editing project file later on.

Keep (Some) Production Elements

Editing a video usually involves creating a variety of additional files, such as project files, graphics, render files, and transcoded source files. It can be difficult to determine what to keep.

In general, it is a good idea to collect the project files (e.g. the .fcp file) and edit decision lists (EDL), in case you ever need to re-edit the video. You may need to re-edit, for example, if you find an error, if the situation changes and you need to update information, or if you want to make a new version of the video. For the same reason, it is a good idea to collect graphics or any other elements that were created for the video.

It is not necessary to acquire temporary files (i.e. render files) from an editing project, as these can be re-rendered if needed.

Editing software sometimes requires videomakers to transcode source video files to a format that is easier for the software to work with. At the end of the project, you may wish to acquire these transcoded copies so that you can easily re-edit the project in the future. However, transcoded copies require extra storage space — they are often significantly larger than the original source files. To conserve disk space, you may delete the transcoded copies and just keep the original source files. As long as you have not changed any filenames, it is possible to re-create the transcoded copies from the original source files and re-connect them to your editing project.

Video as Evidence Tip

If you have an edited video and the unedited original source files used to create it, do not delete the original source files when you are finished with your edit! Unedited original files are more valuable as evidence than edited videos.

  1. Introduction
  2. Deciding What to Keep
  3. Acquiring Raw Video and Metadata
  4. Acquiring Edited Video and Elements
  • Decide what you will—and will not—collect and save; create a selection policy based on your goals and needs.
  • Acquire unaltered original files whenever possible.
  • Acquire all available metadata and related documentation about your videos.
  • Check your acquired files to make sure you have copied or downloaded them completely and correctly.
  • Do not rename video files if they have their original camera-given filenames.
  • Maintain the chain of custody by documenting the source, time, date, and location of your acquisition.
  • For edited videos, acquire a high-quality master whenever possible.
  • For edited videos, acquire production elements like project files and graphics.
Key Concept: Selection Policy

A selection policy provides clarity on what you will acquire and what you will not.
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Key Concept: Authenticity

Maintain the authenticity of a video when you acquire it by collecting the intact original file(s) and the metadata that comes with it.
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Key Concept: Chain of Custody

Your acquisition forms a part of a video’s chain of custody.

Document your acquisition, so that an unbroken chain can be traced all the way back to the source.
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Key Concept: Completeness

Be sure that you acquire all of the files needed to create a complete record, as defined by the purpose or requirements of your collection.
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Key Concept: Original Order

You may or may not receive video files in the order in which they were originally created, but you should restore the original order after you acquire them.
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Key Concept: Integrity

Ensure that no loss, tampering, or file corruption occurs during the process of acquisition.
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Key Concept: Original File

Always acquire an exact copy of the file created by the camera with no alterations to content or technical specifications, unless doing so is impossible.
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Key Concept: Metadata

Metadata may be embedded within a video file, or it may be a separate document. It is as important to acquire a video’s metadata as it is to acquire the video itself.
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The Archiving Workflow

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