Archiving – for safety and profit?

Media archiving

Restoration and quality retention

Image restoration
Restoring images can be painstaking, but worth it
Of course, not all content is ready to archive. Time is not always kind to media, analogue or digital.

Whilst there are limitations, old and damaged media can also be digitised and restored to their original quality – and sometimes even improved upon. Torn, scratched or heat/moisture damaged items can also be painstakingly touched up and made useful again – whether purely for posterity or to be repurposed within your business. Whilst this can be an expensive process, for the right image and the right application you might be able to re-liven an irreplaceable piece of history.

Regardless of the condition of your media, if you are going to make full use of it in your digital archive you are going to have to ensure that the digitisation process is going to result in the best possible output.

Basic office scanners, slide converters and DIY videotape converters are very convenient, but they’re not going to result in the best quality digital facsimile. If your old media has real value, then you will need to invest in services of a specialist company to provide the digitisation for you.

A specialist company can also handle format conversions as well as putting media into modern, edit-friendly applications, whether that’s converting BetaSP or Digibeta to QuickTime files, or converting footage from NTSC to PAL. Of course, you could buy or rent the hardware to do this, but it may be more cost effective, not to mention quicker, to outsource the service.

Future media

So now you’ve got an idea of how your old media could start to benefit your business. But, maybe now is not the right time for you to start to get it digitised and archived. If this is the case then you’ll need to make sure your existing media is stored correctly so that it doesn’t deteriorate or, worse still, become damaged beyond recovery. Luckily there are five simple rules that apply to pretty much any media in storage.

1 – Keep it dry!
Pretty much all media can be damaged by high moisture levels and damp.

2 – Keep it clean!
Dust and dirt can cause friction damage to analogue media – especially items such as videotapes.

3 – Keep it at a constant temperature!
Do not store media in areas where temperatures vary – such as lofts or parts of your building without climate control.

4 – Keep it away from strong magnetic sources!
Videotapes can be totally erased by placing them near to a strong magnetic source.

5 – Keep it protected!
Make sure your media is properly protected from impact or compression damage.

About the author
Kevin Cook is the owner of Video Artisan, a video production and services company based in Loughton, Essex – just within the M25 motorway. Video Artisan also provides various media digitisation services and specialise in videotape to DVD or MP4 files.