Video File Specification | Broadcast Format Guidelines

motion film transfer | audio transfer | video transfer | optical transfer |  photographic film transfer  | book transfer  | document transfer 

Our audio-visual engineering studio offer a full service audio and tape video digitising service, supporting families, collections and archives of valuable magnetic tape recordings.  Based just outside the beautiful City of Oxford, and with an impressive client base, we are one of the leading experts in digital conversions within the UK. 


Working inline with The National Archives Standards, which is recognised for long-term preservation, video files must be created and maintain files in these preservation-quality formats as follows:

  • non-proprietary, so the format is not tied to one piece of software or the platform developed by a single company
  • “open,” in that key characteristics and specifications of the format are well-known and documented so that anyone can use or implement the format
  • widely-used so that the format will not soon become obsolete.
  • recognized as a standard by groups like the ISOECMA International, and OASIS as well as the Library of Congress

By employing sustainable, preservation-quality formats, video tape digitisation will greatly increase the likelihood that content will remain accessible and fully functional into the foreseeable future.


MPEG-1/2: Moving Picture Experts Group
AVI: Audio Video Interleave File (uncompressed)
MOV: Quicktime Movie (uncompressed)
MP4: Moving Picture Experts Group (with H.264 encoding)
MJ2: Motion JPEG 2000
DV: Digital Video File (non-proprietary)

What should the final product be delivered in?

Our company will prepare a preservation copy to be stored for the long-term and for an access copy to make your content readily accessible.

  • The purpose of a preservation copy is to create a high quality duplicate of the original record. This way, if the original record deteriorates beyond use the preservation copy will be able to take its place. A preservation copy should last for years or decades – at least long enough to plan for making subsequent copies once these become outdated.
  • The purpose of an access copy is to create a copy of your record that you can play back easily. For example, if you have a VHS tape that is difficult to play back, you can have a DVD or mp4 file created to allow you to play back that content on a computer or DVD player. An access copy should be a well-supported format that is easy to play back.

Video preservation copies generally have the following characteristics:

Video access copies generally have the following characteristics:

  • May be reduced resolutions
  • Low bitrate
  • Fairly compressed

Files may be delivered on hard drive, digital transfer or flash drive; whichever method you select you should be prepared to make a second, or backup, copy to help ensure the safety of your records.

Acceptable Formats

Acceptable Formats Format Versions Codecs Format Specifications
Audio Video Interleaved
Format (AVI)
Uncompressed 4:2:2 Multimedia Programming Interface and Data Specifications 1.0:
( )
QuickTime File
Format (MOV)
Uncompressed 4:2:2 Apple QuickTime File Format Specification (ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003):
Windows Media Video 9 File
Format (WMV)
9 VC-1 Advanced Systems Format (ASF) Specification
Revision 01.20.03
Microsoft Corporation
December 2004:
( )

Windows Media Video 9 encoder:
(v=vs.85).aspx )
MPEG 4 H.264 ISO/IEC 14496-10:2003. Information technology --
Coding of audio-visual objects -- Part 10: Advanced Video Coding
(formal name) MPEG-4, Advanced Video Coding:
catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=37729 )
MPEG-2 Video (MPEG2) ISO/IEC 13818-2:2000 Information technology -- Generic coding of
moving pictures and associated audio information: Video:
catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=31539 )
Material Exchange Format (MXF) J2K-losslessly-compressed ST 377-1:2011
Material Exchange Format (MXF) — File Format Specification:
SEC1.abstract?sid=63bac43b-e0e1-40a3-8019-d379a103987e )

ISO/IEC 15444-1:2004Information technology -- JPEG 2000
image coding system: Core coding system:
catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=37674 )

Our offices are open Monday to Thursday 8am-4pm Friday 8am - 3pm

Our offices and large customer parking are located at the back of our premise, 29b Rear Part Banbury Road, Kidlington OX5 1AQ, behind the large green building attached, opposite Benmead Road.

Contact Us 01865 457000 or email