British Board of Film Classification archives with Pebble Beach

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has completed a new facility designed to house its massive archive that will be stored as digital files. The archive, now made up of a library of 200,000 VHS tapes, is being preserved and access to the material automated with a new Neptune automation platform from Pebble Beach Systems.

Since its inception in 1912, the BBFC has been the independent body responsible for the approval of all cinematic releases in the UK. Its present day activities now include the certification of DVDs, videos and computer games. The new facility will bring BBFC’s archived video material into a digital domain, allowing the organization to improve productivity.

The new Neptune automation system gives the BBFC a flexible, efficient and user-friendly system that allows the simultaneous ingest of material from 12 VTRs distributed across three ingest positions. Using a custom interface to Digital Rapids’ API, Neptune can synchronize the serial control of the VHS machines with the Ethernet control of Digital Rapids’ encoders to create MPEG and WM9 versions of each videotape in real time. Quality control of both files is carried out using Pebble Beach’s Browse Markup application, whereby clip metadata is added and graded before the media files and the quality data is on passed to BBFC’s internal traffic system.

The tapeless archive system has being integrated by Sun Microsystems and incorporates ingest and archive management facilities that the BBFC has kept separate in order to allow future integration of new video formats and ingest methods. The scalable nature of the system means additional storage or ingest capacity can be added without significant modification to the existing system.

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