Saving videos on tape creates storage and longevity problems but those issues usually can be fixed. For instance, while the vast majority of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation’s testimonies can be viewed at 48 sites all over the world, some of the 235,005 tapes that make up the Visual History Archive have been rendered unwatchable – a consequence of faulty recording and 20-year-old technology. But thanks to the efforts of a few of USC Shoah Foundation’s Information Technology Services (ITS) staff, that’s about to change.
The nearly 52,000 testimonies were made from interviews with Holocaust survivors. Ryan Fenton-Strauss, video archive and post-production manager at ITS, said, "It seemed terribly unfortunate that after a survivor had lived through the Holocaust and poured his or her heart into a testimony, that parts of it would be lost due to a technical problem during the recording process.”
The Information Technology Services staff completed its Preservation Project in June 2012, in which all 52,000 testimonies, originally recorded on Betacam SP videotapes between 1994 and 1999, were digitized into a variety of commonly-used formats. The ITS staff then embarked on the Restoration Project, which aims to perform additional repairs on the approximately 5 percent of tapes that have audio or visual problems. The project will be complete around July 2014.
You can read more at http://sfi.usc.edu/news/2013/12/technology-staff-develop-new-video-restoration-software.
My thanks to newsletter reader Sam Eneman for telling me about this story.