Post & network production facilities
Communications Engineering Inc.
CEI: Herman Reynolds, proj. mgr.
Library of Congress, NAVCC, Packard Campus — Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division:Steve Nease, CTO; Allan McConnell, supervisor, audio and video preservation lab
Technology at work
ATC active monitors
AutoPatch Modula series
Barco RLM H5 projectors
Broadcast Pix Slate
Crestron MC2W control
Dolby DA-20 processor
Evertz distribution amp, converters, master sync and time generators
Kinoton film projectors
Leader LV5700A monitors
Maselec MTC-2 mixers
Simon Yorke turntables
Sony Betamax recorders
Studer A807 recorders
Tektronix 1750A test monitors
Library of Congress’ National AudioVisual Conservation Center
In Culpeper, VA, the Library of Congress’ new Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center (NAVCC) houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, TV programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings. It contains underground storage for this entire collection — 5.7 million items — on 90mi of shelving, along with extensive modern facilities for the acquisition, digitization, cataloging and preservation of all audiovisual formats.
The Library of Congress began planning for the NAVCC about 10 years ago. One of the primary goals was the digital duplication and storage of all the items that would be kept at the campus. The Library of Congress hired Communications Engineering Inc. (CEI) to handle the installation and integration of all the equipment. CEI began working on the project in August 2006.
CEI was challenged with handling the wide range of formats that the original materials used, many dating back to the 1800s. This meant acquiring many types of equipment for playback — often very old machines that needed refurbishing — as well as all other conversion equipment, and building several screening and playback rooms.
Special consideration of the playback equipment had to be given in the construction of the playback rooms, such as creating extremely stable environments for audio turntables. Compressed air had to be supplied for the numerous quad videotape machines throughout the building. In addition, the reference levels for the variety of playback and recording equipment had to be closely checked and maintained.
The long distances within the facility’s space and limited conduits for cable required extensive use of fiber and multiconductor cabling. The large amounts of electricity required for all the equipment and the heat created meant that power and HVAC upgrades were needed.
CEI constructed seven audio conversion rooms and three video conversion rooms, featuring a variety of playback equipment that will be maintained, repaired and calibrated by CEI technicians. Sophisticated acoustic materials were installed in the rooms to allow engineers to carefully monitor and control the recordings as they are replicated. The facility became operational in September 2007.
The campus now has extensive capabilities and capacities for the preservation reformatting of all audiovisual media formats and their long-term safekeeping in a petabyte-level digital storage archive. The NAVCC includes 415,000sq-ft, 35 climate-controlled vaults for sound recording, safety film and videotape, and 124 individual vaults for more flammable nitrate film.