Digitising the Netherlands’ Film Heritage
London: February 10, 2011… Pandora PSI, together with YoYotta’s YoYo software, is playing a key role in a new four-year archiving project at London’s Deluxe142 for the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision – creating a comprehensive digital record of the Netherlands’ film heritage. Psi is a hardware interface add-on for Spirit Classic DataCine that allows for faster-than-real-time 2K scanning, more than tripling the Spirit Classic’s speed. The YoYo software suite manages the data workflow, including file format conversions. The result is that Deluxe142 will be able to digitize 8,000 hours of high-quality HD content efficiently and cost effectively.
We spoke with Matthew Amos, chief engineer at Deluxe142, from his offices in London about the job.
Q: It sounds like a very large project! Tell us about it.
Matthew Amos: The project is an HD archive project for the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision. We are scanning their library of 16mm film to HD data as part of their ”Images for the Future” project. This means preserving, digitising and archiving what is, in essence, the audiovisual heritage of the Netherlands. Their ultimate goal, of course, is to make this material available to the public and for future generations.
Q: You have 8,000 hours of footage and a four-year schedule. How did you design a system that could handle this workload?
Amos: We had a dedicated team of about 10 people working on the design and testing phases of the scanning and data capture process for about six months. We have also had a team of film preparation specialists at our Deluxe Soho Lab examining samples of the content to work out how best to treat and prepare the film prior to scanning.
Q: What made you decide to use YoYo and PSI on this project?
Amos: When first saw what the YoYo-PSI tandem could do, we were attracted to the possibility of speeding up some of our existing postproduction film workflows. When Sound and Vision approached us, we realised that PSI and YoYo would be a perfect fit with what they needed done.
At that time, we were also looking at some more traditional scanning technologies and trying to find ways of speeding them up or scaling them to do more, but it soon became clear that we could get the speed we needed with one PSI/YoYo combination.
Q. Describe your workflow.
Amos: To start, the film is received, inspected, repaired and cleaned for scanning at our Deluxe Soho Lab. We create lots of XML metadata about each asset throughout the prep stage. Then the film is moved to Deluxe142 in Wardour street and scanned by our scanning team based on the XML created at the film lab. The pictures, comopt, commag or sepmag sound are scanned in sync.
Q. What formats are you scanning to?
Amos: We create 1440×1080 HD data as uncompressed DPX files in real time together with 2- or 4-track, 24bit BWavs. Monochrome film is recorded as single channel DPX files to save archive storage space. We record numerous data fields in both the DPX and BWav files as well as XML data for the Workflow Manager. The scans then go through an audiovisual QC step on a separate workstation also on the SAN.
For each picture element, we return a DPX sequence, in-sync sound and XML data to Sound and Vision on LTO4 tapes. Our Workflow Management software performs QC processes on the data, and then packages the files to LTO4 tape automatically.
Q. Do you always use PSI and YoYo in tandem, or do you use the YoYo software on its own in any parts of your workflow?
Amos: We have two YoYos. One is attached to the PSI to manage the scanning data, and the other one is used for quality control of the scans. Both are attached to the SAN.
Q: It sounds like a massive undertaking. What have the biggest challenges been?
Amos: We create a vast amount of XML data for each of the Sound and Visions assets from our film preparation stage right through scanning, QC, to the writing of the LTO4 tape. We soon realised we needed to design and build a software-based workflow management tool to enable us to maintain a 100% consistent process over the four years of the project.
Q. How have PSI and YoYo helped you with this?
Amos: The PSI has enabled us to combine the picture quality of a DFT Spirit telecine machine with real-time uncompressed DPX data capture. And with the YoYo we can record pictures and sound simultaneously. It can record 1440×1080 DPX RGB and single channel files. It’s tremendously efficient!
This is a demanding project and we’ve had to make feature requests. YoYotta was incredibly fast with updates, which made implementing the system very easy for us.
I’m not sure how we would be getting on now if we hadn’t opted for a YoYo-PSI combination for this project. It is an amazing device; we have already placed an order for a second system.
Q. Thank you, Matthew. Good luck with the project!
Deluxe142 (formerly Ascent142) is a based in London’s Soho district and provides postproduction services for film and broadcast clients.
PSI is a hardware Interface from Pandora that plugs directly into the data path of a Spirit Classic to capture the full-frame 2k (2048 x 1556) DPX data in real time. PSI is available from Pandora or through Pandora’s world-wide reseller network.
YoYo is a software suite runs on Mac OS X and provides comprehensive data workflow management. YoYo is available from YoYotta at www.yoyotta.com, or as part of the Pandora Revolution Express colour grading system.
Visitors to BVE Expo in London, Feb. 15-17, 2011, can see YoYo in action at the stand L.52 (Big Pic Media).
YoYo will also be at NAB, at booth# SL1716 (Cintel) at the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 11-14. For more information, please contact Adam Welsh at +44 1279 758285 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pandora International Limited is a pioneer in the design and manufacture of creative colour correctors for the worldwide postproduction industry. The Revolution is Pandora’s non-linear, resolution-independent, software colour corrector – the fastest on the market always working in real time regardless of resolution, number of layers or complexity of grade. Pandora has been established for over 20 years and is dedicated to creating technologies crafted from the wish list of the artist. Pandora is a privately held company based in London. For more information, visit http://www.pandora-int.com/
Founded by Martin Greenwood in 2006, YoYotta has created a cost-effective workflow management system for postproduction. YoYo gives post houses the ability to manage their data and video workflows, freeing up talent and expensive infrastructure for creative work. YoYotta is a privately held company based in London. For more information, visit http://www.yoyotta.com