Thursday, July 7, 2011

Local Company Benefits From Converting Media To Hard Drives

Daryl Lovett (left) and Frank Hankins (right) display two hard drives that now contain 20,000 image files and 129 hours of video content.

Nearly 20,000 slides were packed into three large filing cabinets and filled a dozen drawers at the Physician Sales and Service headquarters in Jacksonville.  Piled high against the storeroom wall, ten huge boxes were stuffed with more than 300 videotapes.
There was no database, no inventory control and no filing system.  Finding a specific videotape was a daunting task and trying to locate a particular slide was absolutely impossible.  PSS Facilities Manager Daryl Lovett says, “We had all these boxes sitting in storage and could not use any of the media.”  Lovett knew something needed to be done and turned to Easy Edit Video for the answer. 
 All the media had to be converted into digital data, then transferred to a hard drive.  This would eliminate the need to continue storing all the slides and tapes and it would free up a large area in the storeroom.  PSS also needed a system for organizing all the images and programs. “Easy Edit Video had done a great job for us in the past,” said Lovett “and we knew they would do a great job for us on this project.” 
It was critical to preserve the media for future use.  The slides and tapes contain a comprehensive history of PSS and its subsidiaries.  There were pictures of trade shows, events, activities and people.  The tapes held 129 hours of speeches, conferences, ceremonies, educational training, and corporate communications.  “We needed to re-use this media for advertising and promotion but did not have the technology to do it,” says Lovett.  
Easy Edit Video IT Director Frank Hankins worked for more than two months on the project.  Hankins says, “We decided to capture on a Macintosh computer because it allowed greater control, was quicker and offered more flexibility than a PC.”  Then Hankins chose the .jpg image format for the slides and windows media (.wmv) for the video primarily because they are both high quality archival formats whose data can be read on either a PC or a MAC.  
To make it easy for PSS to find the slides and video they were looking for, Hankins designed and implemented a filing system that allowed for expansion and revision.  This enabled the slides and tapes to be sorted and easily catalogued.  According to Hankins, “Every slide has a unique prefix so it can be re-sorted and recovered back to its original folder.”
 Lovett says “Now that all the slides and tapes are in a digital format, we can pull the data from either the hard drive or a server and insert pieces of PSS history into current and future promotions and presentations.”
            As for the production itself, first all the 35mm slides were loaded into specially designed carousels.  Those carousels were inserted into a high speed transfer system that converted the images to .jpg files.  Those files were organized into folders and ultimately downloaded onto a hard drive.
Next all the Betacam and VHS tapes were captured in a non-linear editing system, then encoded into a digital windows media format (.wmv) for storage on the hard drives. “Since we cleared out all the slides and tapes, we have been reusing all the space. Now that we have everything on a hard drive, we cannot wait to begin using all the media,” says Lovett.

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