Balboa Park Archiving Content With Front Porch Digital

The project will not only preserve the media, but also enable the museums to open their unique and irreplaceable archives to virtual visitors via the Web.
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The 17 cultural institutions that make up San Diego's Balboa Park have a wealth of video content, and the have together deployed a single Front Porch Digital SAMMA Solo to migrate their media collections from analog videotape to secure digital storage.

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A Christmas celebration in San Diego's Balboa Park Ultimately, the project will not only preserve the media, but also enable the museums to open their unique and irreplaceable archives to virtual visitors via the Web.

So far, some 700 of about 4,000 videotapes have been processed, with subject matter ranging from test flights filmed in the 1950s, to performances of African drumming, to Tony Hawk's skateboarding.?

?Packaged in a compact, turnkey, single-stream solution, the SAMMA Solo automatically migrates content from videotape into secure, readily accessible digital files, monitoring the process and implementing quality standards frame by frame. Balboa Park's SAMMA Solo simultaneously digitizes content at real-time speeds into five formats: MXF-wrapped JPEG2000, high- and low-resolution AVC, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime.

The SAMMA Solo system is run as many as 16 hours a day by two interns and three members of the facilities' staff, none of them with technical backgrounds. ?

?"We're pretty amazed at the speed and at how smoothly the process has gone," said Rich Cherry, director of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative. "These are smaller institutions that are very cost-conscious, so we did a careful analysis of the ROI before we invested. What we found was that sharing the SAMMA Solo makes the price per tape extremely low in comparison to any other method we might have tried."?

?Overseen by the eight-month-old Online Collaborative, the project has resulted in some unanticipated benefits. For example, the museums' current archivists did not know exactly what was on every shelved tape because in some cases they lacked the appropriate playback device for viewing it. Thus, the digitization project has not only made content available, but also made it identifiable.?

?"It's not only large, well-heeled organizations such as broadcasters and name-brand museums that have media worth saving," said Mike Knaisch, Front Porch Digital president and CEO. "All over the world, there are smaller cultural organizations with unique and valuable collections equally subject to the ravages of time. As the Balboa Park institutions have discovered, the SAMMA Solo is the most cost-effective means of preserving and making accessible this priceless cultural record."?

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