This large, three year (2004-2007) EC FP6 Research Project had 35 partners including the five core archive partners Beeld en Geluid, INA, the BBC, ORF and the RAI. The full list of partners is here. The overall scientific and technological objective was to develop an integrated approach to audiovisual preservation and access in order to produce sustainable assets with high cultural value and potential commercial use. To realize this objective, new technology and industrial workflow processes for digitizing audiovisual content were developed. Deliverables were produced in four work areas. Some highlights follow.


In the Preservation Work Area, work on a variety of industrial products resulted in two that came to market: a fast, affordable film scanner (SteadyFrame) and an automated Video Cassette Migration System (the SAMMA system); another product only reached prototype stage, an improved 1/4 Inch audio tape player; two reports were of particular interest, one on tools for dealing with difficult media (reel-to-reel media) ; and one concerning AV tape degradation in U-Matic videotapes. Four demonstration videos were also produced that provide instruction on how to operate obsolete format playback machines (1 and 2 inch videotape players, a film telecine unit and a variety of audio media).

The Restoration Work Area carried out work on audio, video and film restoration. Their key focus was on developing software tools to enable cost-effective restoration. New algorithms in respect to scratch concealment and wow removal were implemented; also improvements were made to existing methods in respect to restoration quality and throughput.

The Storage and Archive Management Work Area looked at digital storage choices for today’s preservation transfers as well as how to make digital storage last indefinitely. One of its primary deliverables was a AV preservation wiki as was a white paper on digital repositories. Other deliverables include a report on Service Level Agreements; Tools for determining a project’s cost, storage needs and project planning; and a variety of tutorials on selecting storage, why digitization is important and digitization planning. Status reports on AV preservation were also written for 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. This work package also brought all the deliverables together into one digital preservation website at the project’s conclusion.

The Metadata, Access, and Delivery Work Area worked on bringing the digital content and description together including the production of a prototype turnkey system capable of delivering a working digitised archive back to an end-user. This group also focused on developing ways to work with legacy metadata and new ways to extract metadata including advanced methods of analysing video and audio. The most important deliverable was a metadata schema for audiovisual ‘editorial objects which provided crucial input to the AV Profile DAVP in MPEG-7. Other deliverables include an analysis of different av documentation models; a report on different conceptual search methodologies; and an overview report (2005) on content analysis tools for video, audio and speech. 

The core partners continue their collaboration in the PrestoPRIME project, this time focusing on the product of digitization: digital file preservation.

Beth Delaney