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Opening Up the Archives: Part 1 of a 6 part film about R&D and Archive Research

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Ant Miller Ant Miller | 16:30 UK time, Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Three years ago now the R&D department founded a dedicated team looking at research to support the archives of the BBC.  Based around core long term projects such as PrestoPrime, the group has expanded its portfolio of active projects to cover every element of archives technology, from high performance storage platforms to advanced metadata techniques.  At the same time the BBC's own archive has been transformed by massive programmes of migration, and the ongoing evolution of the broadcast environment, not to mention an increased appreciation of the value of archives as public resources.

Here in R&D we wanted to give the story of this archive team a full showing, so we have produced a film which is in total some 45 minutes long.  Over the next six weeks we'll be releasing this work in small segments, each focussed on one element of the story, starting this week with a look at the challenges of archives.  So, please join Alex Mansfield as he introduces us to the challenge of "Opening the Archive"


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  • Comment number 1.

    I look forward to future episodes!

    I expect you will cover the age old archive conundrum that old material needs to have a rolling "transcoding" process in order for it to be usable at any particular point in the future. This is not always related to age as for example a D3 videotape copy made in 1998 from a 2" video studio recording of 1965 will probably be unusable in ten years time, whereas a 35mm film from the 1940s will still be accessible in fifty years time. A well stored reel of film will far outlast a server.

    There is an enormous difference between the needs of this historical archive preservation that transfers obsolete formats to new ones at the highest possible quality, and the commercially orientated accessible versions that will be compressed to a suitable level for viewing over the internet.

    Hopefully the future parts will make the policies and solutions clear.

  • Comment number 2.

    I hope you are making full use of your own film and video restoration specialists at BBC Studios and Post, and that their move away from TV Centre will not prevent them from providing their talents to you for many more years.

  • Comment number 3.

    says not available in your area. I'm in New Zealand. Why is this content geoblocked?

  • Comment number 4.

    Sadly geo-blocked ("not available in your area"). Why is R&D video not available to the world?

  • Comment number 5.

    Not available in your area


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