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News

Digital Archiving Preserves Old Film Stock

Atempo : 30 June, 2010  (Application Story)
The National Film Board of Canada is using digital archiving technology from Atempo for preserving its collection of 6000 hours of old films stretching back over a 70 year history
Atempo has announced that the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada, undergoing the complete digitisation of its 70-year film and tape-based collection, has implemented Atempo Digital Archive (ADA) as the cornerstone archival solution for its preservation efforts. The organisation has integrated ADA within its digitisation workflow to archive and manage over 13,000 works that make up 6,000 hours of content.

Founded in 1939, the NFB has produced and distributed bold and distinctive social issue documentaries, auteur animation, alternative drama and innovative digital content from a unique Canadian perspective. In developing their Digitisation Plan, the challenge was preserving this priceless audiovisual legacy for future generations while making these collections available to all on the platform of their choice, including theatrical screenings, online streaming and on mobile devices.

Atempo Digital Archive ensures the reliable long-term retention of the NFB's collection as well as the efficient management of the exponential growth in data volumes from all new productions. With its cataloguing, indexation and search functionalities, ADA's broad capabilities make it optimised to meet the NFB's most critical needs. Furthermore, by seamlessly integrating with the NFB's existing in-house asset management system, ADA helps streamline content workflows.

A special XML-ingest capability in ADA enables the archival of all digital assets along with all their metadata. In the NFB's digitization workflow, three separate digital versions are created and archived for each production: the uncompressed Digital Source Master, the Digital Master with treatment of image and sound elements, and an unassembled, compressed mezzanine file that is used to generate copies of the production for other distribution platforms such as streaming broadband or mobile devices. At the same time, each digital version also requires the recording and archival of the film's metadata, which include the resolution at which it was digitised, the different aspect ratios, the source type, and other content factors. For every 100 titles, the digitization process generates over 10 million metadata entries associated with 30 TB of content and 2.4 million files.

Many of the NFB's films are repurposed or edited into new works, and ADA's automation enables the organisation to efficiently meet their repurposing mandates by providing platform- and format-specific deliverables to their customers. ADA provides an easy-to-use graphical interface that simplifies metadata searches and allows drag-and-drop archive and retrieval, which enables NFB technicians and collection managers to efficiently search and retrieve works from the archive.

"The NFB's Digitisation Plan is a massive exercise in data management, and it is a testament to Atempo Digital Archive's performance, capabilities and reliability that it was selected for this ambitious preservation project," said Marylise Tauzia, Director of Product Management & Marketing at Atempo. "Despite a staggering amount of content produced over 70 years, ADA enables the archival process to be simple and efficient. By seamlessly integrating into NFB's workflow, enabling the archival of all assets including metadata, and managing the simple search and retrieval of archived content, ADA clearly demonstrates the value and importance it can have in any environment with large amounts of creative assets."

For customers in media and entertainment, Atempo Digital Archive goes beyond preservation and hierarchal storage management (HSM), to actively participate in the day-to-day workflow. Today, more organisations require creative data to be retained at different stages in its lifecycle. Raw data, edited files and final projects need to be stored, as any version may need to be used for future projects. ADA's transparency to end-users and critical integration with widely-used creative applications allows those individuals to easily archive at various steps in the content creation process and pull information into and out of the archives as needed. This enables users to transfer fixed-content media assets stored in Final Cut Server and other applications into a wide number of long-term storage devices by simply using the native application interface.
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