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Calibre helps Oxford put video archive online

The University of Oxford is using a Calibre VideoExcel VXL-100HD video processor to convert its analogue video archive to digital.

As the digitisation of video content and workflow spreads beyond the broadcast world, educational facilities across the world are facing the need to convert archive material into a format that is robust, easily accessible, and of a uniform standard. The Media Production Unit (MPU) at the University of Oxford is a case in point. The University’s video archive goes back some 25 years and contains over 3,000 hours of material. However, much of this material is on analogue video tape and cannot be retrieved or viewed remotely by staff or students.

“Much of the earliest material in the archive is starting to degrade and needs saving,” said Charles Beesley, head of media production at the University of Oxford. “With the help of Mark Lusby and the excellent team at Calibre and their VXL-100HD product, we will be able to digitise it and put it online. Using our old video sources, we can feed the archive material through the VXL-100HD and onto either a hard drive or the latest HD recorders.”

Currently, Beesley and his team at the MPU are trying to prove the worth of a fully digital archive to the powers-that-be at the University of Oxford, converting an original VHS recording from a presentation that was given at the University’s School of Pathology in 1990, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of penicillin. Minute by minute, the recording is being converted to 16:9 aspect ratio and HD format, receiving a thorough electronic ‘cleaning’ in the process. If the University likes what it sees, Beesley hopes to be granted sufficient budget to begin digitising the complete archive.

Designed as a universal format converter and frame synchronizer, the VXL-100HD performs per-pixel, real-time noise reduction and enhancement of incoming images from a wide range of SD and HD input sources. According to Calibre, the VXL-100HD offers true broadcast-grade processing at a price that makes it attractive to a wider range of end-customers.