The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum migrates 5000 analog video tapes

Category New studio technology – non-broadcast Submitted by SAMMA Systems Design Team Steve Davis, proj. mgr.; David Warner, integration design; David Warner, David Wolaver, integration build; David Warner, Steve Davis, ...
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New studio technology – non-broadcast

Submitted by
SAMMA Systems Design Team
Steve Davis, proj. mgr.;
David Warner, integration design;
David Warner, David Wolaver, integration build;
David Warner, Steve Davis, installation and commissioning;
David Wolaver, David Warner, Scott Saturday, Steve Davis, technical support;
Albert Utterback, lead migratory; Marcia Annis, Michael Friedman, migrators;
Scott Saturday, Albert Utterback, Steve Davis, proj. removal
Technology at work
Composite video
switcher stations
Digital audio converter
Master monitor
PC audio monitor
Prep cart system
Quality control station SAMMA Solo migration
SDI video/audio switcher
Videotape cleaner
Videotape recorders
Wohler 4-channel
meter

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum migrates 5000 analog video tapes

This was a facility set up in a museum for the purpose of migrating 5000 analog video tapes of various types and formats to permanent digital files for archiving and viewing. Its design expedited the migration of the files from years to months.

The workflow was designed to accomplish several key steps. First, a system was established to identify and describe each of the 5000 video tapes so that the digital output could be entered into a user-friendly asset management system. The tapes were cleaned to make sure they could all be played on the VTR machines. They were then inspected to make sure they were free of dirt and other foreign matter and to ensure that 97 percent of the content was viewed. Then, temporary but sturdy racks were built to hold the VTR machines, four SAMMA Solo migration stations, switchers, meters, monitors, speakers and cables. The system networked the SAMMA machines so they could migrate four tapes into multiple formats simultaneously. All the equipment was arranged so the process could be monitored by a project manager from a single station.

Stringent verification procedures were put in place to make sure the automatic equipment produced faithful copies of the original tapes. The verification process allowed for regular quality checks by the operators to assure consistent output. Human judgment was applied to migrations whose video metrics fell outside an approved set of parameters chosen by the client.

The migration had to take place in a limited period of time. Otherwise, 5000 tapes would take more than a year to migrate. Also, the system had to be designed to fit in a small space. There could be only minimal impact on the operation of the tape library, no disruption to the operation of the museum and no inconvenience to patrons. Furthermore, the system had to be portable, easily dismantled and removed from the museum when the project was complete. Finally, the system had to be designed to be operated by locally hired, easily trained labor with no prior expertise in video or migration. The team consisted of a team leader with some IT experience, one tape handler with a literature background and one weekend relief tape handler. From one seat, the team ran four simultaneous channels of digitization, two shifts a day.