News & events

Digital video ready for the next step


At VIAA we digitise analogue material and sustainably preserve born-digital collections. But what about digital video signals on analogue cassettes? We migrate them to a sustainable file format, of course. On Friday 28 June, we published a tender dossier for exactly this process – a digital transfer – for three DV formats: DV, DVCPRO en DVCAM which together account for 22,000 carriers from 68 of our content partners.

These three types of Digital Video cassettes were launched in the 1990s by a consortium including Sony and Panasonic. But lots of the playback equipment they require isn’t being manufactured anymore, so it will become impossible to play them within the foreseeable future. This is what has led to Digital Video cassettes appearing on our digitisation radar. Though the process they require is transferring or migrating content to a more sustainable digital file format, rather than actually digitising it.

In order to lead this digital transfer in the right direction, we started investigating these particular carriers in early 2018. Intern Gaël researched how many there were and took some initial steps towards finding out which sustainable file formats are suitable for the different cassettes’ technical characteristics. After he left, we continued to search diligently for the best way to perform the transfer. This didn’t just lead to possible solutions but also to a fascinating whitepaper explaining how to get there in great detail.

Following this extensive preparation, we’re now ready for the next step. We published the tender dossier on Friday 28 June and will appoint a digitisation partner in September. In the meantime, our content partners have rolled up their sleeves and are busy registering their carriers and preparing them for shipping, so we can start the digital transfer of these particular formats before the end of the year.