Video-8 archives racing history for ThoroughVision

[press release from Well Above]

Digital media migration specialists Video-8 Media today gave details of the comprehensive archiving project it has completed for the ThoroughVisioN television channel (TVN). TVN is a premium sports and interactive rights management company that specialises in racing. To date it manages the thoroughbred horse racing rights for all racing in Victoria and metropolitan Sydney.

Video-8 Managing Director Robert Scott gave details of the unique project, “TVN approached us with a very specific set of requirements. TVN has extensive archives of thoroughbred racing footage on a variety of formats ranging from film to domestic and professional video. This material documents the sport as far back as the early years of the 20th Century and represents a significant repository of Australian cultural heritage. Many race meetings were recorded on U-matic video cassette, which is particularly susceptible to deterioration from oxide shedding and mechanical faults with the cassette shell, thus this material was determined to be at greatest risk. Our task was to assess, restore, ingest, digitally migrate and archive these valuable assets.”

After considerable consultation with the Video-8 team of Robert Scott, Dave Alderton (Head of Technology and DAM architect), Darren Henricks (DAM Manager and Project Manager) and Shayne Gaynor (Workflow Architect) it was decided that the project would start with all Group 1, 2 and 3 races from the 1980s.

Scott continued, “The 1980’s meets were chosen because races from this decade are popular with the punters who regularly ask for material to be retrieved from the archives and because the majority of meetings recorded in this decade had the highest risk of deterioration.”

Henricks and TVN Librarian Naomie Bernard diligently worked through the library of race meetings identifying which tapes held Group 1, 2 or 3 races. Once accomplished robust material was bulk ingested first and problem tapes with mechanical difficulties or excessive shedding of oxide were then assessed and restored.

TVN Chief Executive Peter Sweeney said, “This was an excellent example of how Video-8’s extensive experience with handling older tape formats proved invaluable in this process, as we were able to retrieve material off faulty and damaged tapes that lesser facilities would have had problems with.”

Bulk ingests were then broken down into individual clips (one race per clip) and then ingested to Video-8’s own digital asset management system, Media Factory which comprises a Front Porch Digital DIVArchive system, Anystream Agility ingestion and transcoding tools and Magna Systems’ Media Pilot web interface. Media Factory uniquely allows clients to view material in their archives, trim and bin clips and edit metadata from anywhere in the world.

Once the individual race clips were ingested into Media Factory, MediaPilot was used to add metadata (including race names and dates) to the database.

Dave Alderton added, “In many cases, the original tapes were identified only with a date, so the metadata Editor had to cross-reference written race records with the date on the tape label, and view at least the end of each race to confirm the winning order and make sure that the race was titled correctly on the database. This is an often overlooked aspect of digital migration but is critical – metadata information must be accurate and spelt correctly, otherwise searches on key words will not work, the asset will not be found and its ingestion into the archive will have been wasted.”

Peter Sweeney added, “This initial project is the tip of the iceberg, as there are many more decades worth of material in our archives. Being a relatively new broadcaster, TVN has very modern workflows and our current productions are done digitally, so they can be added seamlessly to the digital archive being built up by Video-8. Eventually we will have a single electronic archive of the old and the new. It is great seeing things like Kingston Town winning the Cox Plate three years in a row again! Our decision to use Video-8 to digitally migrate, preserve and archive our library has proven to be an excellent one. They did a first class job and quite simply we now wouldn’t trust any other company with our most valuable assets.”

Robert Scott concluded, “We are delighted with the seamless efficiency of the TVN race archiving. This digital media migration project is a very good example of the shape of things to come and we look forward to continuing our successful work in the field.”

TVN is available on commercial pay TV (broadcasting racing into TAB agencies and pubs and clubs throughout Australia), home Pay TV (via Foxtel and Austar), on Telstra mobile phones and on BigPond.