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18/12/2009

San Diego Museums Deploy SAMMA Solo

The 17 cultural institutions in San Diego's Balboa Park together have deployed a single Front Porch Digital SAMMA Solo to migrate the content of their media collections from analog videotape to secure digital storage.
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 Hawks' feats of skateboard derring-do.
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 digitises 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.
Rich Cherry, Director of the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, said: "We're pretty amazed at the speed and at how smoothly the process has gone. 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 digitisation project has not only made content available, but also made it identifiable.
Mike Knaisch, Front Porch Digital President, said: "It's not only large, well-heeled organisations such as broadcasters and name-brand museums that have media worth saving.
"All over the world, there are smaller cultural organisations 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."
(KMcA/BMcC)
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