Culture forms the backbone of each place and its people are identified by their cultural uniqueness. Some great thinkers started preserving it over the time to keep it alive even after thousands and thousands of years.
Today, each country or community has so much heritage of such great value, it is unimaginable. There is audiovisual history, artifacts, material objects, paper preserves, books and the list of items goes on. This heritage is only adding up with each passing day. Museums, libraries, galleries, cultural institutions are full of priceless content.
When it all started off, no one must have ever thought of the challenges humankind will face to take care of them and keep them alive for generations and generations to come. But slowly and gradually, these institutions started facing issues as far as the quality of these preserves was concerned. With changing times and depleting environmental conditions, it became very difficult to upkeep with the quality of each heritage. The need to secure these valuables became such a worrisome issue and needed a permanent and a highly durable solution to it.
WORLD OF DIGITIZATION AND ITS CHALLENGES
A lot of research went into it and Digitization provided the one-stop solution to all problems these institutions were facing. It brought new life to the ever-diminishing rich cultural heritage of our very existence. But it was just a start. With the onset of digitization journey, cropped up, many challenges.
What to Digitize & How to Store
Not everything could be digitized or preserved. There were various forms in which our history existed and that too in varied conditions. Selecting a thing which was possible to revive and then deciding on how to preserve it became the first and foremost task of digitization specialists. The content had to be selective, holds significance with the motive of preservation and be in a revival condition.
Another concern for the custodians of these historical assets is storing the items once a digital copy has been created. It is a speculated decision of investing resources to store old physical items, such as obsolete audio-video material, or frail paper items or let them go after they have been archived digitally.
The Copyright Issue
Another major issue which affected many digitization projects was The Copyright Issue which had to go through a lot of clearances. In such cases, there was the high risk of content being frail or sub judice. Google Books Library Project is a well-known example for when it started digitizing books of US libraries in 2002, never had they thought what lay ahead. In 2005, members of Association of American Publishers and Authors’ Guild brought proceedings of copyright infringement against Google. It was only after a long battle that in late 2013, Google’s activities were protected as fair use.
Cost is another major issue. Any digitization project – audio, video, or manuscript etc. – involves a huge investment in terms of technology and highly skilled manpower. A fair amount of budget needs to be allocated which depends largely on the content, in its present analog form and how will it be converted digitally. Initially, the main purpose to digitize content was to create a repository. Further commercial use was not something high on agenda. But, over the period of time, its future viability became a major deciding factor before undertaking any project.
SOME OF THE SUCCESSFUL DIGITIZATION PROJECTS
Overcoming all hindrances and obstacles, many digitization projects were undertaken and accomplished the feat.
To name a few, The Star East Asian Library at Columbia University holds a unique collection of over 200 Chinese “paper gods” which were conserved and digitized.
Digitizing history of Australian Museum and South Australian Museum in 2010 is another example wherein digitizing workstations were built to reduce cost and increase productivity. They also enjoyed the luxury of increased budgets from time to time seeing the outcome.
In 2015, a major digitization project was undertaken by University of Michigan Biological Collections to digitize close to 50,000 natural history specimens.
Many libraries namely Library of Congress, The British Library, Australian Islamic Library, South Carolina State Library, German National Library of Medicine, National Library of Indonesia, National Library of Whales are few of the names who have successfully preserved their rich heritage. Furthermore, world-class universities also went the digital way to not only preserve their assets but also made them available for references.
THE IMPACT & ROAD AHEAD
Consistent and sustainable efforts showed positive results and slowly and gradually, all institutions started adopting digitization or digital archiving to save and preserve their assets. Now, it has become a worldwide phenomenon and every place, big or small, has adopted technology to give a new life to their collection.
It is even envisaged that in years to come, the word ‘Digital’ would have no meaning of its own. It would actually mean ‘Default’. Digital libraries and repositories have helped our cultural organizations in not only preserving the vast history but has also aided in its accessibility to a wider audience thus by satisfying its commercial viability as well.
Digitization seems to be the need of present and future to preserve our glory and pass it on to our coming generations for them to understand their roots, their forefathers’ journey of life and evolvement of the human brain. It helps in beautifully integrating the past into the present and together advance towards the future.
Attributing to the loss of valuable content and the burgeoning demand for good content by today’s digital consumer, media organizations and content owners have been investing in digitization and archiving of content. Digitization of legacy content is not just about converting analog into digital, but a comprehensive digitization involves series of processes and strict quality control.
Let us look at some common mistakes made during digitization of audiovisual content.
- Incomplete Metadata
Proper storage is essential for the preservation of materials, but it is also necessary to catalog content by adding metadata. Metadata describe and categorize digital content to provide better search, sharing and distribution of media assets.
Most libraries that manage digital content depend on the metadata in databases, integrated library systems, and media asset management systems or their extensions, which also support patron discovery and retrieval of content. However, incomplete or missing metadata often causes issues with searchability of content. Though modern MAM systems generate automated metadata, archivists and operators must feed in as much granular information as possible. Remember, more the information fed in, higher is the accuracy of a system.
- Ignoring Cataloging before Digitization
While creating relevant metadata is essential to ensure easy retrieval of content, generating and maintaining unique barcodes for every tape is a major step for digitization. Not only does barcode ensures rapid availability of data, but the quick turnaround time also ensures minimal loss of time on entry or retrieval of data.
Tapes can be identified easily if they are barcoded properly and the information related to each barcode is captured in a centralized system.
- Not Reviewing the Content before Digitization
Not doing baseband quality check or not reviewing the material before digitization is another common mistake that archivists make while digitizing the content. Each piece of content that gets archived need to be examined for multiple versions and completeness to ensure that repetitive and unusable content is not digitized. It is a possibility that a tape contains unedited, duplicate or damaged versions of content that was not to be digitized.
- Not Maintaining a Uniform File Format and Size
Before beginning the archiving process, one must follow a set of guidelines to ensure all the archived content adhere to a pre-decided, uniform file format and size of file. Inability to do so can result in additional cost and time as broadcasters will have to use different transcoding systems for optimizing content for various distribution network like OTT, DTH, etc. Further, inconsistent file sizes and duration also affect the speed of digitization and make it difficult for archivists to ascertain the storage requirements for a deep archive.
- Poor Maintenance of Equipment
Often, curators and broadcasters do not maintain old tapes, films and equipment regularly. Old equipment needs to be protected against dust, extreme temperatures, and regular wear and tear. As some of the equipment (players, scanners etc.) are out of production, a breakdown of equipment might cause project delays.
Moreover, a lot of legacy content is still available on a variety of tapes and films. If not maintained and restored correctly, the curators run the risk of losing this valuable content. Therefore, archivists need to ensure proper maintenance of legacy content and equipment to enable smooth archiving.
- Ignoring Safety and Security Threats
Digitization of content has also led to the rise of security threats – both physical and cyber. Physical threats like dust, heat, moisture, natural calamities, and theft can destroy content and its carriers. The archiving facility at times houses some of the rarest and high value content, infrastructure should be therefore be designed keeping in mind threat from these external factors.
Content is also at risk due to cyber threats, which can corrupt files beyond repair. Archiving facility should have a well-secured network infrastructure like firewall protection, anti-virus, and malware protection in place to address this issue.
- Not Scheduling Deep Archive
With new content generated and legacy content refurbished for use, a lot of content need to be regularly archived. One of the common mistakes that media organizations commit is not scheduling deep archival of old content at regular intervals. While it apparently does not seem to impact the archival process, old content consumes a lot of space and bandwidth, thereby affecting the performance of the system.
Moreover, if deep archive of content is not scheduled at regular intervals, a lot of content gets piled up in the production storage, affecting the speed and searchability. Archivists need to schedule auto archiving of content at regular intervals to ensure old content does not get lost in the maze of content.
So the next time you plan to archive or digitize content, try avoiding these common mistakes to save cost, time, and resources.
The Tube Goes Personal
It was just another lazy Saturday noon at 41, Manchester lane for the Smiths. Everyone in the family was busy with their routine weekend affairs. Jenny was busy with her preparations for the dinner they were hosting for their family friends and was hoping to get a helping hand from her teenage kids Amber and Alex. She exclaimed looking at her teenage son, Alex “God knows what these kids to up to! They are always hooked to their mobile phones and iPads.” It was half past seven and Alex was still completely engrossed in his tablet, watching something with rapt attention. Out of sheer curiosity and a bit of anger, Jenny took a peak into Alex’s screen trying to figure what he was glued to.
What Alex shared was a revelation for his mother. He explained how he can catch up on his favorite TV series on his smart phone or a tablet as and when he gets time. The very thought of watching her favorite shows without having to fight for the remote made Jenny smile, and she was super excited to learn that she can enjoy all of her sops simply by downloading an app on her mobile.
A global research suggests that an adult-internet user spends almost 20 hours per week online – consuming media. Interestingly, for the first time ever, Britons will spend around GBP 1.31 billion on video streaming subscriptions and film/TV downloads in 2016, more than on buying and renting DVDs.
My Television, My Way: Happy Viewers
Television has been constantly reinventing itself and today, it has transformed itself from an idiot box to a smart device offering a personalized experience. There were times when watching television was a family affair but with growing options, reach and changing preferences, there is a major change in content consumption patterns. While the previous generations fret over missing an episode, the modern viewer is consuming content in a whole new way.
OTT services providers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon , beIN Connect etc. are now offering subscription based services to consumers on one end and are investing on sourcing content. Netflix has even taken a step forward by entering into production of content.
Cord cutting (the term used for viewers cancelling their television subscription services for alternate content sources) is now catching up with millennials around the world. As a viewer, on-demand TV gives them a choice to watch the content they like anytime, anywhere and on any device.
Getting Heard: A Marketer’s Delight
OTT, SVOD, Mobile TV are a fantastic medium for marketers to reach out their audience. Not only does it offer targeted advertising options but it offers meaningful insights for marketers to analyze and optimize their campaigns. The result is impactful campaigns, reduced media spill and improved ROI.
Feed the Appetite: Content for the Consumers
With this trend shift, the industry is more focused on creating content to cater to the diverse set of viewers. While creating new content is important, re-purposing old content to make it accessible is also equally important. Digitization and management of old content in various formats is necessary for the survival of the heritage. Because, the new generation may not have read the works of Jane Austen, but chances are they would not have missed ‘Emma Approved’, the web-series based on her popular novel Emma.
As sunshine peeped through the window today morning, Larry smiled. A long lost smile for the 70-year old gentleman, whose children have moved to greener pastures to pursue their dreams. What remains now is eternal wait – wait for Christmas and Easter holidays, when his big mansion turns to a home.
However, today’s sunshine has a different story to share. Story of a different comeback is waiting for Larry. No, not of his children. But of his passion. Today is Saturday. And Larry is excited to watch Vinyl, which will be aired on television in sometime.
A series that made Larry nostalgic and excited like a child simultaneously. That made him travel back 40 years. And he suddenly started living it all in flashback.
A banker in the prime of youth, Larry was passionate about music. Every day, before numbers and finances took control of his day, he had 30 minutes for himself. 30-minutes of absolute bliss, when, as sunshine peeped through the window, he would close his eyes enjoying Earl Grey tea as Beethoven played in his record player. Those 30-minutes of uninterrupted solitude.
Then one day, the record player broke. Leaving him with “can’t be repaired” from technicians and thousands of favorite vinyl records. And a void that his family failed to understand. Except his grandson Alan.
Alan was browsing through Larry’s collection of records one afternoon and was intrigued by his rare collection. His excitement was answered by a proud smile from Larry. And the 70-year old found camaraderie in his teenage grandson.
It was Alan who gave him the idea to digitize his collection. “It’s easy Grandpa, they’ll just convert it and give it in a USB for storage. And then you can listen to your collection anytime you want, from anywhere,” Alan said.
Alan’s easy solution seemed like a dream come true. Couple of store visits later, he realized his records can be converted to high-resolution audio files, and he can carry them anywhere. The age of technology, he smiled to himself. Who knew he can enjoy the authentic sound of vinyl, with all its warmth and smoothness, anytime and anywhere with digital convenience.
As Larry savored his morning tea, the sunshine made him happy. His plan for the day is already made. His favorite show on television, a date with the past, and then he would head to the store to get the means to digitize his prized collection.
And then, his 40-year old morning routine would resume. Thanks to digital archiving!
It is indeed a bright sunny Saturday morning!
We are pleased to share that we have won the bronze Stevie® award for Innovative Services In Audiovisual Digitization in the category “Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries.”
The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards are the only business awards program to recognize achievement in innovation in 22 nations of the Asia-Pacific region. More than 600 nominations from organizations across the Asia-Pacific region were considered this year in various categories. Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 50 executives around the world acting as jury.
With over a decade of experience in delivering media services globally, MediaGuru has gained specialization in providing content digitization, media asset management and technology solutions to broadcasters and media organizations.
Details about the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards and the list of other Stevie Award winners are available at http://Asia.Stevieawards.com.
Vegas lights up to host the NAB Show 2016. As the industry gears up to catch the latest in the show, we bring you the top four driving forces for broadcasters in 2016.
Your Favorite Content Anytime, Anywhere
How many times have you watched all the seasons of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. till date? Or played those quizzes circulating on Facebook that determines which F.R.I.E.N.D.S. character do you resemble?
In the age of digitization, the eternal wait for when your favorite season would be telecasted on TV is over. Now, content can be accessed at the drop of a hat. Today, digital asset management has made it possible to archive, access, share and distribute content to the viewers on the platform of their choice, anytime and anywhere.
As DAM/ MAM (Digital Asset Management/Media Asset Management) vendors bring the yesteryears closer to you, watch out how they innovate to make content inter-operable between systems and broadcast workflows.
Headphones plugged in, eyes glued to phone screen – a common sight at any public transport, right? While our older generation complains that we are becoming unsocial, watching videos in free time has become a routine. No time to go for a movie – watch a short film instead!
With digital archiving around the corner, we don’t miss any episode of our favorite programs? Over the top (OTT) technology ensures our favorite program gets recorded while we are busy. Video-on-demand brings entertainment to our living room at our will.
As content producers move from making two hour movies to 20-minutes short films, the industry gears up for the next big change. New innovations around interactive TV technology, cloud based media resource planning and video digitization is something to look out for at the NAB Show 2016.
World of Mobile Apps
From networking on social media to playing games, from ordering grocery to keeping a tab of finances, our daily life is ruled by various apps. Be it making travel plans, getting news across as and when it happens, sharing photos, messaging, playing games, or even measuring our steps and daily calories – apps influence almost all our daily activities.
With drones capturing videos, monitoring crops, and flying quadcopters, mobile app developers are setting new standards every day. The NAB Show 2016 promises to introduce a host of new apps to drive engagement with functionality-rich experiences for the broadcast industry.
Merger of Real and Reel Life
You don’t miss a single movie of your favorite star, read all his interviews, listened to all his shows, and follow him on social media. Wouldn’t it be great if you could meet and click a selfie with him? Or attend one of his live shows?
As reel life spills over real life, consumers are looking at extending their digital experience to real life experience. With 3D, 4D and 7D technology already popular, industry is moving from watching a movie to living it with 4DX technology, where viewers live the experience with environmental effects.
How the industry players continue to innovate to provide immersive cinematic experience to consumers is something to watch out for this year.
If you are headed to the NAB show in Las Vegas and would like to meet our experts, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch your yesteryears come to life!
How would you feel if on a lazy Sunday afternoon, the great white shark from the Jaws (1975) suddenly comes to life in your living room? Or, if you could trade a session of Star Wars on PS4 with your child for the movie?
The movies we grew up on, which made us believe in another world from another time and space are threatened. Yes, just like the genetically engineered dinosaurs that we flock to watch in theaters, our next generation would perhaps never know the excitement of watching Star Wars on screen. To them, perhaps Star Wars would be synonymous to a game you play on the play station.
How would you feel if you can gift your childhood to your child?
With the age of digitization, it is possible. As film historians struggle to save a century of history, they believe that the current state of film restoration in high quality and clarity of 4K resolution is setting a new aesthetic standard.
The rise of digital restoration has been recent. Lee Kline, technical director for The Criterion Collection , says, “We can finally call these restorations. That’s because 4K digital scanning of source material, preferably but not always old film negatives, comes close to the same image quality as traditional 35-millimeter film prints. And it is twice that of the previous (and still prevalent) high standard for digital restorations, 2K.”
Interestingly, digital archiving comes at a time when people are willing to consume good content – be it old films or videos across devices, and are ready to pay for the experience.
4K Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) television gives the viewers that experience. With a resolution of around 8,294,400 pixels or 4K progressive, 4K OLED TVs accurately render colors and provides super sharp images that almost border on life like.
So while film historians restore and preserve the digital assets from various factors like moisture, heat, and natural calamities, go ahead, grab a tub of popcorn and watch your childhood come alive in a 4K OLED television.
You can thank the digital asset managers later!