You pose some good questions.
Here are some of my thoughts:
DVD's will not last forever, and dye-based, burned DVD's probably will fade away, before commercially pressed DVD's.
Right now, DVD-Videos (the commercial ones) are still outselling BD's by much more than the industry ever imagined, and BD players are falling in price dramatically. I saw a Sony low-end unit for US $99 at Costco today. BD players will be able to play DVD's, and as their up-rezzing chips improve, will probably do so better than we can imagine now.
I archive my Projects onto about a dozen 2TB externals. All have USB 2.0, IEEE-1394a & IEEE-1394b (FireWire 400 & 800) connections. However, USB 2.0 is going away, but USB 3.0 is, for the time being, backward compatible. IEEE-1394a is still popular, but IEEE-1394b might be totally replaced by eSATA, or something newer, lurking just behind the curtain. I will maintain connections for those three specs. for the next several computers, if possible, BUT, I am in the market for a new laptop, and Clevo (a major laptop MoBo mfgr.) has dropped ExpressCard slots, so no IEEE-1394b for now. USB 2.0 has been replaced with USB 3.0, but it is not all that popular, as it is not living up to its hype of transfer speed. I see it going away soon. IEEE-1394a has been dropped by many computer companies, and if there is no PICMCIA (mostly gone already), or ExpressCard, then no laptop will be capable of connecting to all of my externals. It is still possible to get multi-I/O cards, with what I need for desktops, at least for now. Along those lines, I have three older computers, just because they have connections, or internal peripherals, for say my DLT tapes, my other tapes and even my SyJet 1TB removable discs. If I need to access any of those, I just fire up the computer, and hope that spiders have not build too many "homes" in it. Same for my ZIP drives, my SyQuest drives and even my LS-120 drives. All have come and are now long gone, but I still have a basement filled with those drives, and computers to support them. Still, I have some SQX tapes, that probably should be thrown away, since I no longer have any computers to read from them. Nothing is forever.
The ISO is a good way to go, BUT, it is the DVD-Video, and while you can rip from those, the Video has already been compressed to MPEG-2 DVD, so is not as good as the original Source Footage.
I keep my mini-DV tapes on file, and even when my Canon is replaced, I will keep it around, just in case I need to Capture from those tapes again.
One possibility would be DL BD's, and to store those in the cool dark, with the raw footage, or maybe Trimmed footage. Still, one has the slow death of a BD, and also would have to make sure that one had a BD multi-drive for their computer, or a computer from "way back when," with such.
I have hundreds of thousands of 35mm slides, and still have a slide/negative scanner, plus a slide projector. Still, those films are dying, and that projector is very old now. Not sure if one could even buy a 35mm projector, except from the antique store.
Obviously, there is no future-proof solution in there - just some observations and thoughts.
Good luck, and I will be interested in seeing what others think.
Message was edited by: Bill Hunt - Corrected lost line-breaks.
I used a powerful DVD Converting software, convert DVD disc to digital video, faster than the free HandBrake, download here,
with it, I used for converting dvds to M4V format for my iPad 3, ATV2
Looks like a rec. for a potentially viable program. There is a trail, and a full-paid version. I have never used either, so cannot comment on how well either might, or might not work for you.
When I clicked, no bells, or whistles, went off, so I would say that it might be worth a bit of reading, to see if it offers anything for you. The program is DVD to M4V. Though I have never heard of it, I would say that one should research it, to see if it offers anything for them.
I've wondered about this myself.
For now, when I create my DVD, I do a "Burn to Disc", which is essentially the DVD on my hard drive. This, to me, has several advantages. First, if I ever need to create another DVD (somebody wants an additional copy, a copy gets lost or destroyed, etc.), I can just pop in a new blank DVD, fire up ImgBurn (or whatever), and create a new copy in about 3 minutes. Second, since everything on my hard drives is always backed up to at least one location, that means I have 2 hard drive "DVD" copies in addition to how many actual physical DVDs I create (also, I always create one "master" DVD that goes directly to the safe deposit box).
To me, that seems like a fairly good strategy for ensuring the DVDs I create won't ever disappear.
But unfortunately, it doesn't do much to address your overriding concern of what happens when the DVD spec is no longer supported.
For that, I'm sorry to say I haven't come up with anything brilliant.
You can save your original tapes, but what happens when you can't find a camcorder that will play them any longer? I recently ran into that problem when my DV-AVI camcorder died and I realized I still had tapes to import. Surprise: they don't really make those any more.
So if you capture your tapes and save them as .avi files, what happens if the DV-AVI spec is no longer supported.
Or if, like me, you save your project output as a DVD on disk. What happens when the DVD spec is obsolete?
In short, I don't think there is any way to future-proof without having a crystal ball. Without knowing what technology will be the first to go, how do you know what to protect?
But I think what helps me sleep at night is that it seems pretty rare that a technology just disappears overnight. For example, even VHS tapes (remember those?) can still be converted to DVDs. Heck, even 8mm film can be converted to DVD. The converted quality may not be the best, but honestly it's not the quality that's important, it's the memories (we recently sat around watching some old 8mm home movies that had been converted to DVD, and the quality was just as bad as you can imagine, but not one person complained - in fact they were overjoyed just to be able to watch the footage from so long ago).
So if DVDs stop being supported, I'm sure there will be plenty of time and plenty of technology to convert to [insert new technology here]... as long as you still have the DVDs around, that is (hence my strategy of ensuring my DVDs don't disappear)!