Digitization Update

We're excited to announce that we're nearing the end of our initial round of digitizing for the Boston TV News Project. While there's still a lot more work to be done before we can begin posting video to the website, being able to view the footage has allowed up to enhance the records with a lot more metadata. Each collection is being processed separately, and so is at a slightly different stage, but we hope to have them all finalized soon, so we can start sharing this historic footage with the public.

[caption id="attachment1791" align="alignright" width="300"]<a href="http://bostonlocaltv.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/263900821thumbnail.jpeg">Still from this story on the 1989
Boston Marathon. Courtesy of Northeast Historic Film, The WCVB Collection Still from this story on the 1989 Boston Marathon. Courtesy of Northeast Historic Film, The WCVB Collection[/caption]

Here’s a quick update on the steps we’ve been taking with each collection to get it ready for this final stage.

The WCVB Collection: NHF has worked very hard to digitize selection from their 16mm film collection: 126 stories so far. Since the only information we originally captured about the film was the footage length, date, and a short title based on the slug, digitizing has shed a lot of light on what the collection actually contains. Not only can see get a better sense of the content of the stories, but it’s also easier for us to see what percentage are B&W vs. Color and Sound vs. Silent, as well as if content is original footage, edited stories, or both. The video files are being prepared to go online.

The CCTV Collection: CCTV has, as previously posted on this blog, digitized their entire VHS archives. These were all captured as .mpg files, and some of the selections have been made from those files. The other main part of the CCTV archives is on 3/4 inch video tape, from which they had selections transferred to Digibetas. WGBH digitized those Digibetas and is preparing them to go online.

The Ten O’Clock News Collection: WGBH made selections of stories that were both on ¾ inch and Digitbeta tapes. We digitized anything that was already on Digibeta, and sent the ¾ inch tapes to be transferred to Digibetas. The ¾ inch tapes ended up need to be baked before they could be transferred. Once we go these Digibetas back, they were also digitized and are now being prepared to go online.

The WHDH Collection: The WHDH Collection, housed by the BPL, was probably the hardest collection to get to the final stage. While we have over 25,000 records from original catalog card, which do provide some useful information, the actual inventory of the cans of film themselves, stored offsite, is not complete. We made selections based on the catalog records, but the BPL team had to work very hard to find some of those stories based on sometimes incomplete can numbers. Once the cans were identified, they handed them over to NHF, who is digitizing the film. Digitization is in process, and those files will then be prepared to go online.

While we can’t add video to the website just yet, we can share stills from some of the stories we’ve digitized. Here are some highlights from the 3 collections that have started their digitization so far.


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