As audio and video technologies have changed, and as old formats age and disintegrate, we are at risk of losing significant media that documents the art, culture and history of our diverse communities. BAVC works to preserve and digitize these cultural artifacts and other precious works of media art. Since 1994, BAVC has preserved over 7,000 hours of audio and videotape.
Analog media preservation is necessary because of two central factors: technical obsolescence and deterioration. Experts say that magnetic media has an estimated lifespan for playback of 10-15 years, and companies have already ceased manufacture of analog playback decks, the devices required to digitize and preserve analog media.
BAVC provides assessment services for video and audio collections, providing content and condition appraisal and recommendations for immediate and long-term preservation planning.
BAVC rigorously maintains endangered analog equipment in order to provide high quality transfers to preservation-standard formats. BAVC’s tape storage and transfer facility follows the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) guidelines for magnetic tape storage and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) care and handling practices for extended usage.
Thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) BAVC is able to provide a suite of services—including preservation planning, collection assessment tools and training, and analog-to-digital preservation transfers — to artists and arts organizations at a discounted rate based on budget size.
From technical terminology to the ins-and-outs of transfer processes, get your questions about BAVC’s preservation services answered here.