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Film Scanning QC Experiences

Indiana University and JOANNEUM RESEARCH share quality control insights from the first year of Indiana’s large-scale film digitization initiative at AMIA 2018.

At this year’s Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference, Darrel Myers from Indiana University and Peter Schallauer from JOANNEUM RESEARCH gave a talk on “Quality Control Experiences from a Large-Scale Film Digitization Project” in The Reel Thing workshop.

In 2017, Indiana University launched the film phase of the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative (MDPI), which will result in over 25.000 large and small gauge film reels digitally preserved by the university’s 2020 bi-centennial. While partnering with a service provider has resulted in a high throughput digitization workflow, to meet its ambitious timeline, IU has additionally implemented a thorough automatic and manual quality control workflow to guarantee that specifications for aural and visual quality as well as structural standards are met.

In the presentation, Indiana University reviews the MDPI film phase. She focuses on quality control and her hands-on experience with VidiCert's film scanning quality control software to efficiently and inexpensively validate thousands of files. JOANNEUM RESEARCH discusses the innovative automated approach to quality control when scanning film, which allows the QC operator to quickly assess files and make decisions that ensure the best possible image and sound quality for preservation and restoration.

Examples and, for the first time, human-verified long-term statistics on the type and frequency of critical scanning problems, such as over/under exposure, dust/dirt, framing errors, unsteadiness, superimposed sound and more, are shared.

In addition, an analysis is presented on what share of scanning problems can be avoided, by re-scanning films with unacceptable quality in the first scan. As a result, an average of 80% of the problems discovered with VidiCert during the first scan can be avoided by re-scanning. This demonstrates clearly the effectiveness of the QC and re-scan workflow established in India's large film digitization project.

The presentation with more details is available here.