16 April 2019 | 10:00 - 16:00 London, SE1 9NH | Coin Street Conference Centre

The DPC invites you to join a briefing day to learn about emerging best practice in the digital preservation of sound and moving image. Invited speakers will share their experiences preserving these valuable collections at high risk of degradation and loss. Talks will address on-going work at national institutions tasked with looking after digital heritage as well as small organisations doing sound and moving image preservation on a shoe-string budget. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions during each session and also to put their queries and curiosities to all the speakers through a panel discussion to wrap up the day.



In his 2012 DPC Technology Watch Report, Richard Wright explains that ‘audiovisual recordings are surrogate reality.’ Through this surrogate reality, the spectator experiences an impression of the sights and sounds of a situation.

In actual reality, ‘the technology … only captures the sequence of light patterns or sound pressures acting on the recording instrument (camera, microphone). These … signals are more like data than like artefacts. The preservation requirement is not to keep the original recording media, but to keep the data, the information, recovered from that media.’

In other words, the aim of practitioners is to maintain the experience of a particular surrogate reality through the signals underlying the work. To maintain over time the data (and metadata) underlying the song, the recorded interview, the sound effect, the short film, the news item, the feature-length film or any example of the broad and varied array of moving image and sound material.  

Richard Wright asserts that as a result of this requirement, ‘audio and video need digitization for the very survival of their content.’

Though this report now approaches its 7th birthday – and is in fact being updated and refreshed this year – this explanation still fundamentally describes the challenge to preserving moving image and sound. Most works of moving image and sound do not exist in a very accessible or preserve-able form at the point of creation. Even born digital content often lives on highly vulnerable storage. In a 2008 TAPE Project study of 374 European moving image and sound collections, only 16% of 19 million hours of content was in digital format and most of that was stored on physical carriers (CDs, DVDs, etc.).

That was more than a decade ago – today, with projects like the BFI’s mass digitization initiative as part of the Unlocking Film Heritage work and British Library’s digitization through Unlocking Our Sound Heritage – collecting bodies are moving towards converting moving image and sound to digital for preservation (and, just as critically, for access).

Given this recent progress, how has best practice for preserving moving image and sound evolved over the last 10 years? What new approaches, standards, and tools exist to support practitioners tasked with looking after this vulnerable content? How are leaders in this space responding to new challenges and accommodating new sources of digital content (such as web platforms and new formats)?

This one-day briefing addresses these questions and reflects on the lessons learned over the last decade. The programme will feature speakers with different backgrounds and with experiences working with different forms of moving image and sound. While this briefing day invites talks from leaders in the advancement of moving image and sound preservation, it also draws on practitioners who have learned practical lessons about preserving this difficult content with limited resources.

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from their fellow practitioners undertaking the preservation of moving image and sound – both those on stage and those sitting at their table. Speaker Q&As and a panel session have been built into the programme to allow the needs and interests of attendees to shape discussion and facilitate knowledge exchange.

Who should come?

This workshop will interest:

  • Archivists, librarians, and curators with collections including moving image and sound material or those who anticipate collecting this content in the future
  • Digital preservation specialists and repository managers who look after moving image and sound material
  • Audiovisual engineers and other specialists tasked with the maintenance of moving image and sound material
  • IT professionals with a focus on digital preservation who support repositories with moving image and sound material
  • Postgraduate students or early career professionals with an interest in learning more about the preservation of moving image and sound
  • Creators of moving image and sound with an interest in ensuring the long-term availability of their works



Members, please login to see the recordings.

10.00 Registration, Tea & Coffee

10.30 Welcome

10.45 Setting the Scene: The Importance of Archives in Documentary Film Making by David Wilkinson, documentary film-maker & founder of Guerrilla Films

Best Practice in Archiving Moving Image & Sound

11.00    'Strategies and Tactics for High-volume Digitisation and Digital Preservation' by Stephen McConnachie, Head of Data and Digital Preservation at British Film Institute (BFI)

11.30 Preparing and Planning for the Digital Preservation of Moving Image and Sound at RTÉ by Adrienne Warburton, RTÉ Archives

12.00 Dave Rice, Moving Image Archivist at CUNY Television (please see recorded stream for the presentation)


12.30 Lunch

Case Studies in Getting Started with Preserving Moving Image & Sound

13.30 Case Study from Ruth Cammies, Archivist at Open University

13.50 Case Study from  Jenny Mitcham, DPC and former Digital Archivist at Borthwick

14.10 Case Study on John Laing Oral History Interviews at Historic England Archive by Ciaran Davis

14.30 Tea, Coffee & Biscuits

15.00 Panel Session

15.45 Feedback

16.00 Close

Prerequisites for Attendance

Attendees do not need to be moving image or sound technicians or even experts to attend this briefing day. Attendees will benefit from a basic knowledge of digital content in general, how it behaves, and the over-arching challenges to preserving it.  

Can't make it in person?

Parts of this event will be broadcast live on the day and recordings shared on the DPC website page for Members (login required). 

Follow the event on Twitter using #dpc_movimgsound  

DPC Inclusion & Diversity Policy

The DPC Community is guided by the values set out in our Strategic Plan and aims to be respectful, welcoming, inclusive and transparent. It encourages diversity in all its forms and is committed to being accessible to everyone who wishes to engage with the topic of digital preservation. The DPC asks all those who are part of this community and/or attending a DPC event be positive, accepting, and sensitive to the needs and feelings of others in alignment with our DPC Inclusion & Diversity Policy.


Event header image used with permission of www.digitalbevaring.dk.

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