Digitization of audio visual content is a sign of the times, and also an indication that people long to hold on to the good things of the past. An example – TV shows.
Who does not have their favorite TV series? Be it The Simpsons, Friends, X-Files or older series such as Crime Story or Remington Steele, people just huddle up to YouTube to catch their favorite episodes. It’s no wonder then that TV channels employ advanced audio-video data conversion techniques to preserve popular episodes and series.
Digitized Audio-Visual Material
Television channels digitize archival recordings to save them for future reference. These are precious recordings which audiences cherished at the time when they were released as TV shows. Digitizing these recordings allows these landmark shows to be saved for posterity. So when you suddenly remember a great dialog or a captivating opening track, you can head to YouTube and watch it.
The US Federal Agencies Digitization Guidelines Initiative has set up the Audio Visual Working Group for digitizing or digitally reformatting culturally and historically significant audio-visual materials created by federal agencies. Sound and video recordings and motion picture films as well as born-digital content are among the materials to be digitized.
TV and Radio Content
In India, the national TV channel Doordarshan embarked on archival recordings since 2003, with the government earmarking funds each financial year for the purpose. The broadcaster has managed to digitize recordings amounting to 20,139 hours. These include some rare records of national leaders classified into 38 categories.
The country’s national radio station AIR has also digitized archival records depicting the nation’s freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, which does make for some emotional content for Indians, though it is reported that the digitized material has not been made available through apps. The government is now seeking to outsource the rest of the digitization process, for the sake of greater efficiency, speed and cost-effectiveness.
Massive University Project
Back home, the Indiana University (IU) in 2013 embarked upon a move to digitize its audio and media content, and secured $15 million for that. Much of its content has been recorded on video cassettes, things which people wouldn’t be able to enjoy for much longer. There was 27 years’ worth of audio-visual content involved. The goal is to complete the digitization process of its time-based media by 2020 when the IU would be celebrating its bicentennial. The time-based media includes newsreels and podcasts.
The digitization services are provided by the Indiana Media Preservation Access Center (IMPAC). With such exhaustive content involved, the IU needs all the help it can get. The physical copies including the video cassettes were deteriorating, so the need to digitize was urgent. Once the project is complete, anyone would be able to access any video.