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How to Store Video for Hundreds of Years [Hint: the Mormons Solved this Problem]

There are not many options for storing data, particularly video, for more than a couple of decades. We reviewed many options because we want to give our Legacy Interview clients a way to pass their video interview down to future generations. This is what we learned.

How long will digital storage last?

When we set out to record interviews so that future generations could know their history, we immediately ran into a major problem. We could record beautiful video, but how would we store it?

  • How long will data last in “the cloud”, how will you store the link? What if the storage company changes the URL?
  • How long will data last on a USB, the manufactures will all worn you that you have a max of 10 years.
  • How long will data last on solid-state-drive, not only will you have to worry about cables to plug it into your computer, but your computer likely won’t have the software in 20 years to be able to access it.
  • How long will data last if you put it on a DVD-R, you have a maximum of 30 years, before the carbon based disk starts to break down and lose data.

Are books the only way to save ideas?

Maybe! Books have a longevity to them in that paper and good ink will last a long time. We love books and if you turn your Legacy Interview into a book, we use archive grade paper, ink, and use a bible binding company, to make sure that book will last hundreds of years

The downside of books are that they can’t capture the sound of a voice, a gesture, the movement. In our modern world we should be able to capture video and store it for a long time, but how?

The Mormons figured it out.

One of the largest contributions Mormons give to the wider world is the digitization of genealogical research. They send missionaries all over the world and often they spend years in libraries, cemeteries, town halls and churches to convert paper/pen records into digital records.

They saw that current methods were not going to keep their work accessible for any longer than 30 years. A group of Brigham Young University professors; Barry Lunt, Matthew Linford, Henry O’Connell and Doug Hansen created a disc that could be played in an ordinary Blue-Ray DVD that was made out of a glassy carbon material that is substantially inert to oxidation and has a melting point of 1,000 °C. They call it an M-Disc.

Tested by the US Department of Defense, accessible in libraries.

It is almost like the disc is made out of porcelain. If you can avoid scratched the data has been tested by the US Department of Defense who claimed that it was likely to keep data secure for up to 1,000 years!

We often make the joke that between the US Department of Defense or the Mormon church, at least one of them should be around in a few hundred years! The reality is that the M-Disc has become a standard in the archiving industry and their technology should be accessible for generations at archive libraries and museums.

All you need is a Blue-Ray DVD player made after 2005.

But the best part of getting a Legacy Interview on an M-Disc is that as long as you keep a Blue-Ray DVD player at home you will have access to the long term storage of your video. Most people access their video interview online, but there is something really comforting about storing the M-Disc, knowing that your data is secure.


At Legacy Interviews we use the M-Disc for permanent long term storage of our videos. The disks are made of a non-carbon based material, similar to porcelain, so as long as they aren’t scratched they will be playable for as long as 1,000 years [or more!]M

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