Report of the AAPB Rights Meeting

Last month, staff from the Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division (MBRS) and Office of the General Counsel (OGC) met in Boston with WGBH Media Library and Archives staff and counsel from WGBH Business and Legal Affairs, as well as Representatives from the Cyberlaw Clinic and Fellows community at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society for a two-day brainstorming session to strategize regarding rights clearance for the American Archive for Public Broadcasting (AAPB). The AAPB Project Team anticipates that the outcomes of the meeting can serve as a model of how digital audiovisual archival rights can be managed.
A summary of the meeting outcomes can be read on our blog:

Metadata, DAM, and MAM, oh my!

Recently a client asked about implementing a Digital Asset Management system. And a part of the system included capturing metadata from his film library. Of course we always capture any available data when we transfer films. A typical job could involve a few reels to thousands of reels. Many film cans and sleeves contain information about the film, notes that were made, loose slips of paper within the cans, and notes taped to the film reel or core. this is important information that needs to be captured and delivered along with the film transfer itself. For smaller batches we usually compile this info into a spreadsheet for the client. For larger batches a database needs to be considered. Most larger clients may already have a DAM system in place, or will be implementing a system internally. In this case, we were asked to help with that process.

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It's Video! What can go wrong?

Video or digital files can have any number of problems, created from many different parts of the production and duplication chain. I just ran across a particularly useful website that hightlights many of the problems that can happen...

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Interviews with archivists, librarians, preservationists, technologists, and information professionals

MPLPLogo_V2This series of Podcasts is being released by the Metropolitan New York Library Council and AudioVisual Preservation Solutions under the creative Commons license.

More Podcast, Less Process is a podcast featuring interviews with archivists, librarians, preservationists, technologists, and information professionals about interesting work and projects within and involving archives, special collections, and cultural heritage. Topics include appraisal and acquisition, arrangement and description, reference, outreach and education, collection management, physical and digital preservation, and infrastructure and technology.

Hosts: Jefferson Bailey, Metropolitan New York Library Council & Joshua Ranger, AudioVisual Preservation Solutions. An episode list follows the readmore.

Episodes are available through Internet Archive, SoundCloud, iTunes, and direct download. You can also follow via the RSS feed. All episodes are released CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US. For more information, email Jefferson at jbailey at metro dot org.

An episode list follows the readmore...

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What is Super8?

Super 8 mm film, commonly known as Super 8 film and often simply "Super 8", is a motion picture film format released in 1965 by Eastman Kodak as an improvement of the older "Double" or "Regular" 8 mm home movie format.

The film is nominally 8 mm wide, exactly the same as the older standard 8mm film, and also has perforations on only one side.

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Did you know that you can identify the date a film was manufactured? Kodak has been date coding their film production for almost 100 years. here is a link to the Kodak Date Code chart as posted on the AMIA website


It's Film! What can go wrong?

Most of the film we deal with is older, ranging from 10 years old back to the twenties, 80-85 years old. Things can go wrong over this much time.Archival film has a number of potential problems that can occur upon orignation or through use and wear, or through aging based on starate conditions and other deterioration.

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Pay TV market grows worldwide

If you are in media production or distribution, you are probably paying attention to the Pay TV market. Here is an article from Broadcast Enginneering that has the latest.

While the global pay TV market continued to grow

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Restoration Software

we are currently in the market for a software package that will enable full restoration of film frames. Here is the rundown of all of the available Restoration Software currently on the market:

-Davinci Revival  $1500 or $10K for auto functions--Linux only right now

-HS-Art Diamant-Mac or PC  $19K?  Austrian company not used widely in LA, but good I think. If it were 10K and more widely known it might be a good choice

-Digital Vision Phoenix MAC or PC  xxK? pricy I think.. they also make scanners  they will be in booth SL6026

-MTI Correct-- I think this is still available but has not been updated for a while. The company is focused on a new product

-PFClean--$10K +$1500 per year update contract.  probably the most widely used product

Basic functions that are needed--scene detection, stabilization, dirt, scratch removal, blotch/stain detect/remove, flicker correction,grain removal/management, plus a bunch more for special cases...


OTT Video Gaining Foothold


A fascinating study of the OTT Over-The-Top video market has been publishing on

Here is an infographic that details key results. See the bottom of the page for the link to the report.

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Why We Love Teranex Image Restore

A month or so ago, we had a potential client ask for a test of our Teranex Image Restore system. They had a file of unknown (to us) quality and they asked if we could do anything with it. As you will see when you watch it, the original film the file was sourced from The Prelinger Library. We suspect that it was created from the downloadable version that is posted at The Internet Archive. From this we concluded that the film transfer was older, it was standard definition, and that the original film had a few quality issues. The files that can be downloaded from the Internet Archive are pretty compressed, so the quality is not the best to begin with. This is how we processed the file.

  • It was loaded onto a standard def timeline from one of our capture systems and played out from there
  • The SDI signal passed through the Image Restore system in Standard Definition
  • Next in the SDI signal path, we used our newer Teranex 2D from Black Magic Design to up-convert the file to 1080Psf/23.98
  • We captured this SDI stream into another capture computer
  • An HD split-screen timeline was set up to compare the two files, the original and the Image Restore captured file
  • For web display the file was output to an H.264 864x480/23.98 display file. This is what is being streamed from the site.

The results are interesting. I think you can see that the restored file has quite a few less problems than the original. Of course, further clean up is possible using advanced software tools, but for price-sensitive projects, this system is a big winner!

Here is the link to the video

After the READ MORE, there are some images of screen shots, so that you can see the range of improvements that can be made to any film, videotape, or video file.

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Electric Pictures relies on Black Magic Design

For years we have been watching BlackMagic. The products they have released, at the Earth-shattering prices points they set, have keep us very interested in following their progress. As a Telecine-Centric Post Production Company, we use a variety of solutions to get our work done. When the first of the Blackmagic Decklink capture cards became available, we built a system around it. It was different from the other capture solution we used at the time. I would call it bare-bones, because our other solutions had acceleration built in and offered proprietary codecs to further speed up their system. This was all in the era of slower computers, and the cards we were using then needed those features to work well. Blackmagic's approach was different. Decklink was released right at the point when computers got substantially faster and could handle the video processing workload without all the proprietary tech that others used. Good timing, Blackmagic! And so I became a fan.

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Film Sound

While doing a little research for a project I am working on, I came across a great site that gives a lot of background on the technical aspects of sound for films. If you have interest in this subject I urge you to spend some time on this site.

NFSA Film Preservation Handbook

If you have an interest in films and film preservation, I would recommend a visit to the Australian National Film Preservation website to view the Film Preservation Handbook. This amazing resourse gives a in-depth knowledge of a wide range of preservation subjects including film construction, identification, storage and damage.

Below we list the chapter headings, directly from the NFSA site. Please follow the links to see the entire handbook.

DCP Tutorial

UK filmmaker Matt Cameron has posted a very interesting article about creating his first DCP package. It is a very instructive read. I hope you enjoy!


Tragic losses and miraculous recoveries


An excellent article on film preservation challenges has been posted to thedissolve blog site.

by Matthem Dessem

The history of film preservation, like every attempt to save the past for the future, comprises a long string of tragic losses and miraculous recoveries. We know the stories: Studios destroying their silent films wholesale to recover the silver in nitrate prints; Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan Of Arc, presumed lost, moldering in the closet of a Norwegian mental institute; the fires at Fox’s warehouse in 1937 and the MGM vault 30 years later; James Mason discovering Buster Keaton’s archive in a shed at the back of his new house. There have been brief victories measured against slow, grinding defeats, just as in any field ruled by time and entropy. 

As the death of film accelerates, the terms and stakes of the battle are changing rapidly, in ways that aren’t well understood outside the small community of archivists working directly in the field. Digital technology offers a chance for perfect, lossless preservation, but only at significant financial cost, and higher risk of catastrophe. Unless the unique challenges of digital preservation are met, we run the risk of a future in which a film from 1894 printed on card stock has a better chance of surviving than a digital film from 2014.



DCP Resources

We have been looking into what it takes to create DCP packages for filmmakers who want to exhibit in Digital Cinema Theaters. I found a cuple of good references today that will help us on this journey.

  • The OpenDCP forum hosted at Google has a number of experts in both opendcp software, as well as the dcp process itself  OpenDCP
  • Founded by filmmaker Stephen van Vuuren, SV2 DCP is a part of SV2 Studios produces projects in film, digital cinema, video, sound, and animation for clients in Greensboro, the Triad and around the US.

Electric Pictures in POST MAGAZINE

Recently, POST Magazine featured Electric Pictures. Below is the intro to the article. You can read the entire article over at POST

Traditional telecine is big business at Electric Pictures

February 7, 2014

LAKE FOREST, CA — Electric Pictures, which specializes in telecine services that convert film imagery to high-resolution video, is helping film libraries preserve their assets. While Hollywood film and television studios rarely employ telecine today, as most of their content is shot on a digital format, the demand for traditional telecine services is steady from large film libraries, including universities, stock footage houses, government entities and historic archives. 
For these institutions, telecine remains the best and most affordable alternative for preserving media and making assets available for commercial use. Electric Pictures ( has built up a national clientele that includes the University of California, Santa Cruz, the Pacific Film Archive, the Prelinger Archives and the Cotton Bowl. Company founder Grace McKay spotted a business opportunity forming in the wake of so many studios transitioning to digital workflows.

American Library Association Digitization Standards

Excerpted from ALA.ORG

Film is the last area where there are large numbers of people who believe analog duplication, that is film to film, is the proper form of preservation. Preservation on film is expensive, time consuming, creates hazardous waste and is subject to the same challenges of all analog-to-analog duplication.

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Grace McKay at SoCalShowBiz

A while back, I did an interview with Art Kirsch for

Spotlight on Grace McKay: Anyone who knows Grace McKay knows her as one of the hardest working, can-do people in our industry.  If you need something to work, bring it to Grace and she’ll figure it out.  Grace is also extremely generous with her time, serving on many industry association boards to help others get started and succeed.  She has traveled a unique and interesting path and keeps reinventing her business as times change and continues to the lead the ways for others.


Film Transfer Equipment Choices/Comparisons

Motion picture film scanning or digitizing is a complex undertaking that requires skills in multiple areas. But the first complexity has to do with the various ways that film can be converted, and the technology available to do it. Below is a list of the equipment available out in the market that can accomplish a film transfer. This list is not complete, we are missing some of the available types. I hope to correct this over time. If you have additions, please let us know.

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Client Comments

quote1-40The preview disc you sent looks stunning--over the weekend, I put it up on a large screen at UCSC with a Christie projector just to check and Moumen Smihi was thrilled. We showed his Si Moh that you did and it also looked great.
Peter Limbrick, Associate Professor, Film and Digital Media , UC Santa Cruzquote2-40

quote1-40I premiered many scenes from your recent 35mm transfers in the new Lost Landscapes of San Francisco, and they were a HUGE hit. I am very much looking forward to doing more work with you. Thanks so much!
Rick Prelinger, The Prelinger Archivesquote2-40

quote1-40I just had to let you know how happy my client was with the quality of the 8mm film transfer you did for him. At 6000 ft of film (25 years of his families' life) there was a lot to deal with. Your technical expertise was very helpful in choosing the right digital format both for the subsequent edit we went through, and in hitting my clients budget and quality concerns. Feel free to use me as a reference at anytime. The whole experience was professional and very easy. Once again thank you.
John Kelly, Scott Video Productionsquote2-40

quote1-40These look great! Thanks so much for sending! Thanks! More on the way soon!
Steve Stanchfield, Thunderbean Animationquote2-40