Long one here, but should be a quick read. I had a few questions on encoding and final production so to speak. In case it matters, I'm new to PP CS6, but had edited video prior for over a decade with VideoStudio, a consumer product. I realize the answer is always "it depends", so I will describe my situation and it would be great to hear what a few of you far more experienced than me would do here on the forum or via a private message.
My video interests at present are somewhat Hollywood-like in a crude sense. For example, I have a Sony HDRCX560V camcorder where I will record lots of family video. (I also have a flip camera, my wife's iPhone, 5D, etc. video, but these are not the mainstay recording devices at present.) Two or three times a year I will take all the raw footage and edit it down to a final "home movie" production. Once I'm satisfied with the result, it becomes the final version archived forever much like a movie release. I have yet to go back and want to re-edit an extended version or director's cut. In fact before I moved to an HD camera I have deleted the source video captured from miniDV on my hard drive to free up storage. Similarly, I recently purchased a Countour+ helmet camera unit. I just took 3+ hours of video from a ride and ended up with an 8-minute movie production that I have no intent to edit any further.
In case it matters both cameras use some sort of H.264 MPEG-4 compressed format. At present I am shooting 1280x720 59.94 fps on the Countour+, but I may switch to 1080/30. The Sony is set to 1920x1080, 29.97, although again I may choose something else in the future. I am still learning to speak video codecs and formats, so let me know if you need more information.
I want one highest quality I can produce video that I can play on my computer, PS3, etc. Then BD (and DVD on occasion). I might put some video on Youtube at some point. In the future, who knows. Again, no plans to re-edit once a final production is reached.
I'm going to struggle to articulate my questions, but what format or formats would you encode to and keep forever, what would you keep on your hard drive, etc.? I am pondering several alternatives, but I'm not sure what makes the most sense or if there are far better ideas.
One option is to store all the source video and the PP project and encode as necessary in the future. I can see how this has the advantage of always starting with the raw source footage. But it would seem this route would take up a lot of storage space (and I'm also a backup freak with multiple backups of everything). Old PP project files may lose compatibility. And I would be worried that some day I will open up the project file and accidentally mess something up in the timeline or be missing an asset file somehow. I can handle the storage issue, it's just money I suppose.
A second thought I had was to encode one highest quality "master file" so to speak and re-encode to whatever I need when the time comes. Given that I don't need to re-edit or modify the original production, is there a big difference between starting with the source video vs. a master file created from a sequence with the same settings as a clip? Or maybe one of these lossless codecs I have been reading about makes sense. This method removes the storage burden, PP project file compatibility issue, and I don't have to worry about timeline/assets accidents.
A third thought was to encode a different version for each of the known needed types up front for archival storage. Perhaps combined with either of those options above in case of new needs in the future.
Let me know if my questions don't make sense or if I'm asking the wrong questions in the first place. This use case model is relatively constant for me, so would like to arrive at a well thought out approach that I can repeat over time.