CJP Broadcast Service Solutions is progressing a large-scale video transcription project for Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation, Gibraltar’s national television and radio service.
Over 15,000 tapes in various format are in the process of being checked, repaired when necessary and transferred to digital media for long-term archiving.
“We are honoured to have been selected by GBC to digitise its entire tape library which spans nearly half a century, from the 1970s through 2014,” says CJP Broadcast MD Chris Phillips. “This very exciting project is now well into the second phase of a three-phase contract. We have completed phase one which included 4,000 U-Matic video tapes originally recorded during the 1970s and 1980s. Phase two is now in progress with half of GBC’s 8,000 Betacam tapes processed. We will then advance to phase three with the ingest of 3,000 DVCAM and DVCPRO video cassettes.
“We have to check each cassette carefully for mechanical integrity before loading it into a player. Each housing and cassette is photographed for ID information. We then check for signs of mould or water ingress, bake where necessary, repair if snapped, and then digitise the content onto a RAID array. During this process we carefully log metadata, including genre, type of recording, tape length, timecode, programme name, presenter name and relevant details which allow content to be found via a MAM search engine. With news content, we log information about each individual story. This is a very important task as often clients generally do not have the metadata detail of the content on legacy tapes.
“Each tape is digitised to an uncompressed 10-bit format before being transcoded to IMX-50 for data-efficient archiving and stored on two external drives. One drive goes to the client for ingest and the other stays with us. Once the material has been ingested at GBC we delete it from our RAID and then have the tape and box recycled. The final part is to issue certificates of WEEE destruction to the client.”
“Transcribing rotary-head video tape is a real-time process so ingesting a 60 minute programme takes exactly that. We have been able to recover more than 95 per cent of the GBC material so far which is a very good result.”
“We have accumulated a huge amount of content since we first began television broadcasting in 1962,” says GBC CEO Gerard Teuma. “Our reporters have been documenting the twists and turns of Gibraltar’s history over the years, from industrial upheavals, political achievements and VIP visits to everyday life and community development. We have a duty to preserve this insight into who we are and why. Magnetic tape is subject to structural decomposition unless stored under very tightly controlled conditions. Transcribing as much as possible to a digital archive with dynamic backup will give us a useful production resource, hopefully into the far future. The project has already uncovered gems which bring back many memories.”
GBC recently repurposed several of the newly digitised historic clips, to great effect, including its coverage of the 2019 Island Games.
Deploying a mixture of in-house transfer facilities and working with specialist film and audio format partners, CJP Broadcast can restore and digitise almost all professional and broadcast tape and film types and transcode these into current file formats. Examples can be seen at https://cjp-bss.co.uk/content-digitisation, including a 4 minute video relating to the GBC archiving project.