Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Video and Archive Retrieval Models # 3

Today I met with the program manager of a local arts organization that has a SAMMA video digitization system. SAMMA is now part of Front Porch Digital, and they now have a host of products and services. Prominently featured on their website is a cloud solution for storing all the digital video... looks progressive, but expensive!

Probably the most frightening and sobering thing I learned about digitizing with a SAMMA system today is that you can generate terabytes of data in a matter of days. Thus, not only is content management of digital video a critical concern--assuring he content is readily accessible withing and across tapes. There is a formidable challenge of how to deal with the uncompressed media once your work starts flowing. Do the costs of storage and raw data management ultimately dwarf the cost of digitization when you work with such a high end system?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Video and Archive Retrieval Models # 2

Today, Mike, Melanie and I ventured over to the Center for Documentary Media at the University at Buffalo. We wanted to learn more about Final Cut Pro and Avid, and think about ways in which their expanding metadata capacities might approach the database capabilities of Interclipper. In the process, we talked a lot about two types of Adobe Software: Bridge and Lightroom.

Both software come bundled with various Adobe Suites and both are heavily oriented toward photo management. As a follow up I checked out some random Youtube videos and eventually came to some put out by Adobe themselves--by their Evangelists & Experts. Short of going to, this is a good place to look for quick tutorials on Adobe products (and some are produced by lynda).

One video stated that Lightroom uses a database whereas Bridge does not... I'll need to look into that. The most important thing I gathered from Lightroom is that you can make groupings without actually moving stuff around. This is really the key concept we're looking for in multi-media software. We have to be able to be able to "put" stuff in categories, without really putting them anywhere.

Bridge and Lightroom really caught my attention for photo management. But the search remains for management software that helps get video under control...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Decision Making as the Essence of Preservation, Curation, and Dissemination of Oral History

Escaping "The Digital Mortgage"

In discussions about storage, preservation, and archiving of digital video of oral histories, Doug Boyd frequently refers to the “Digital Mortgage”.  The digital mortgage is a catch-all concept meant to emphasize long-term the commitment associated with oral histories recorded on digital media. One major challenge with digital video is that equipment is used, marketed, and continues to be developed not for archival purposes but rather for production purposes. Thus oral historians and others using these media for full-length audio/video documentation must become defacto archivists, with no feasible workflow models available in academia, commercial practice, nor in film and television production.  Whereas archiving digital audio is a little easier to get a handle on, we still see professional contexts where unused raw media has transitioned only from the literal cutting room floor to a virtual cutting room floor.  Although “best practice” strategies may be recommended for video, can even well-funded collection stewards sustain these methods uniformly across holdings? Although consistency in archival quality is nice, as Boyd points out that "perfect" may be "the enemy of good enough."  Reality begs that different material within a collection be treated differently and the risk of loss should be considered on the collection and even the tape level, rather than a model that calls for a blank check into the vastly unknown and uncharted digital video future. Before signing anything, get a grip on what you have first so you can then make good choices about their value.

This is an adaptation of an abstract I drafted but never submitted anywhere, although some of the ideas emerge in our forthcoming essay in the Oral History Review, "Digital Curation through Information Cartography: A commentary on oral history in the digital age from a content management vantage point" (Lambert and Frisch, 2013)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Video and Archive Retrieval Models # 1

Melanie and I wanted to have an understanding of what the pros to do retrieve archival and recent footage for news broadcasts. We went to WIVB TV Channel 4 here in Buffalo and talked to chief photographer Mike Mombrea and learned a few things..

  • They use special software add-ons that are part of the AVID editing program (iNews, Interplay). 
  • In the software, they can search the titles of clips (or slugs) from past programs but also by the scripts associated with those clips.
  • The reporters develop the scripts in tandem with the editors, artfully sequencing video and audio as well as the newscasters' scripts.
  • Full, uncompressed video does not go back far for retrieval--on the order of days. A lot is archived on Beta tape and more recently on DVD (BlueRay) disk. They can retrieve footage from the network (CBS) as well, which downloads in real time to their local drives.
Some overall impressions include the fact that chronology rules the day as the major organizational for a 24-hour news cycle operation as this... makes sense! If you know when something specifically was broadcast , it's easy to find. The set up is not for the average citizen (or even the newspeople) just to browse around in to find something interesting. Bringing the exploration concept to news footage will be one of our challenges in our new project with the Buffalo Broadcasters Association.
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