Archive Achievement Awards 2022
At the FIAT/IFTA World Conference 2022 held in Cape Town, the Archive Achievement Awards were attributed to four interesting projects, and outstanding archival initiatives that have significantly improved how the archives are preserved, managed and used.
The FIAT/IFTA Archive Achievement Awards yearly reward initiatives bring the professional preservation and management of audiovisual archives higher. The Archive Achievement Awards are developed by FIAT/IFTA, the international federation of television archives. Members of FIAT/IFTA can nominate their own organisation, or they can nominate a person or organisation with whom they have collaborated to bring the project to a successful end.
FIAT/IFTA is humbled to award Jacqui Gupta the 2022 Lifetime Honorary Award.
Since 2014 FIAT/IFTA has also given a special Lifetime Honorary Award to a person with special merits for FIAT/IFTA and the field of audiovisual archiving as a whole. This year the jury honoured someone…
Since 2014, FIAT/IFTA has this special tradition. We have the Gala Dinner, the Archive Achievement Awards, and all that. But we also consider this fancy, festive evening as the ideal occasion to put the spotlight on someone special. We want to celebrate them, for what them has meant for this federation or for media archiving as a whole.
This year, we’d like to honour someone with a glittering career in the world of media archives, spanning more than 35 years. After a first experience abroad, this year’s winner worked at several places in her home country, but always for the same public broadcaster, mostly for the archives department. She represented her employer on a range of groundbreaking research projects, in her home country and in the rest of Europe. Soon enough, colleagues internationally started describing her as a role model. During the Presto projects, she was probably having the best time of her professional life, contributing to the development of methods and techniques for mass digitization of broadcasting archives. She acted as the spider in the web: connecting people in the most determined and goal-oriented way, always classy and kind.
At the end of the 1990s, she also became active within FIAT/IFTA, within what was then still called the ‘Documentation Commission’. She stood at the cradle of one of FIAT/IFTA’s most successful initiatives, the Media Management Seminars, and profoundly influenced their content, and thus also on what is considered globally relevant in the field of media management. She knew better than anyone else that technology doesn’t work without people, and that the evolving role of the archivist certainly deserved as much attention as the latest technological advances.
This year’s recipient became a member of the Executive Council at the 2012 General Assembly in her beloved London. Along the way she specialized in liaising with partners and sponsors, a task that she continued after her all too sudden retirement in 2020. Her very widely branched network, her excellent diplomatic skills, her thorough and well-structured working methods and her distinguished wisdom have not only ensured that the FIAT/IFTA events are regarded by the industry as the most relevant in the field of media archiving worldwide. They also assured FIAT/IFTA of an important source of income without which our portfolio of activities could never have been as broad as it is today.
Because her career has been characterized by a very high level of professionalism, honesty and expertise. Because she’s been a civil servant in the most honourable sense of the word, serving through the BBC not just media archiving in the UK, but globally, the FIAT/IFTA Lifetime Achievement Award 2022 goes, without a single moment of doubt, to Jacqui Gupta.
Meet the winners!
AI Metadata for Arabic Archive
by Kathey Battrick, Asharq News
Asharq News, launched on 11.11.2020, is a 24/7, multiplatform Arabic news service reaching across the Arab world and beyond with a unique approach: news and in-depth analysis reported through the prism of the economy to empower people in their everyday lives.
Asharq News are utilizing AI Technology to create rich archive metadata and transcriptions in English and Arabic, detecting and recognizing an increasing number of Arab business leaders and public figures. The thesauri of People and Labels (objects, scenes, actions and emotions) are managed in Arabic and English, including names, descriptions and synonyms. This in turn, enables the production teams to search and locate the shots they need more easily in either language.
THE JURY COMMENTS
“The Asharq News project is an excellent way to connect production teams with the archive and exemplifies the importance of the library’s role in preserving its heritage for new generations. A well-built, very helpful AI workflow designed with the users in mind, its processing of tremendous amounts of data is transformational.
Facilitating quick and seamless searching illustrated the importance, value, and challenges, of archiving live news content for the production team’s immediate use. The Asharq News project will benchmark and enrich other pan-Arab archival multi-platforms.”
Applying AI and Cloud for content analysis at the RTVE Archive
by Fondo Documental RTVE – Estrategia Tecnológica RTVE
The AI and cloud content analysis project has been developed in cooperation with the Digital Strategy Area of RTVE as part of a strategic plan for the company’s digital transformation. RTVE selected in a public tender the proposal of the Spanish companies, VSN and Etiqmedia. RTVE’s technological purpose was to prepare the archive management system to receive automatically generated metadata, measure the quality and quantity of this metadata, and design automatic workflows from content selection to metadata integration in the archive system.
The project’s main goal was to apply metadata management automation using Artificial Intelligence to 11,000 hours of content from RTVE Archive, including material produced by the broadcaster in the 60s and 70s. One of the main requirements of the project was to integrate this solution into a private cloud service provided by a supplier using their technology or integrating third-party technology. Therefore, the project requested a MAM tool available to work with AI engines in a private cloud environment. VSN presented its project based on integrating its cloud-ready MAM System, VSNExplorer MAM, working with Etiqmedia’s AI engine.
The project has two phases: A testing process, developed from May 2021 to October 2021 and the final one-year project implementation starting in October 2021, which is currently in operation. During the first one, RTVE and VSN defined the workflows between teams and completed the equipment installation. In addition, this testing phase successfully processed 160 hours of audio and video.
The workflow process starts with the ingesting of the content from the RTVE Archive on VSNExplorer MAM. During this phase, the system creates an asset with the media and an XML file with information about the content provided by the network. Once the content is ready on the system, the Etiqmedia AI engine starts the analysis and generates the content’s metadata. In terms of audio, this technology can retrieve a complete text transcription in just a few minutes, its capitalization and accentuation, and it also recognizes people, places, events, products, organizations, and dates. Furthermore, it extracts an automated catalog of the content and the main keywords. On the video side, the AI allows facial recognition and identifies and catalog the scene, along with the objects, tags, and signs that appear in the footage.
When the process is over, all the extracted information is displayed in a single centralized interface on VSNExplorer MAM. Here, RTVE’s professionals can review, check and edit the results to adjust them to the correct catalog parameters in a simple and fast way. Once this check is completed, the system automatically calculates the transcription WER (Word Error Rate), comparing the results obtained by the engine with the cataloger’s correction.
After all these steps are completed, VSNExplorer MAM creates several XML Files with all this information that goes back to the RTVE Archive. Therefore, the process of content metadata is fully automated and provides an enormous amount of data within a few minutes. It only needs to be checked and controlled by RTVE’s cataloguers. Thanks to this, the process is much more efficient and accurate.
Trombinos: face recognition tool
Trombinos is a face database management system. It allows the user to navigate, cure and expand efficiently a large-scale dataset of faces, thanks to its integrated face recognition model. The database contains both face images coming from archived french TV shows, as well as face images obtained through image search engines. It already contains 62 million identified faces belonging to 70 thousand individuals, as well as 540 millions faces yet to be identified. Trombinos helps users to efficiently navigate this database, to recognize someone based on a picture, to retrieve their occurrences amongst the archived TV shows based on their name, and to manually enrich or correct the existing annotations. Our system facilitates human-machine interaction: by identifying similar looking faces, Trombinos allows the users to validate them by batch and hence to annotate a large number of faces easily. Furthermore, Trombinos learns from the users feedback to improve its face recognition performances in real time, and in turn to facilitate the future annotations of the user in a virtuous circle. Using Trombinos, a single user can easily assign hundreds of thousands of faces to their correct identities in just a few minutes.
Migrating a physical collection – and how to create metadata from handwritten sources
by Oscar Rishede, DR
DR is having over 200.000 ¼” open reel tapes digitized by Memnon Archiving Services. DR no longer has the possibility of storing the tapes. The ambition is therefore not just to digitize the tapes, but rather to migrate the collection, i.e. the entire content and the accompanying metadata, to a digital form, enabling us to discard the tapes in the end. Part of the challenge is that 75% of the tapes does not have a digital metadata representation, but only handwritten entries. These entries have been transcribed by PHI in India. We have matched this data with ocr from printed broadcast schedules to create a dataset which has enabled us to construct an automatic setup for the ingest.
The project is still running, and every week DR receives around 2.000 files from Memnon via ftp. The metadata setup automatically ingests these, combined with the relevant metadata from the dataset of the handwritten and printed source. The metadata setup is of big value for journalists in DR, who can easily find the digitized files in the MAM-system; programs which earlier were unknown and very inaccessible.
THE JURY COMMENTS
“The initiative is an example of migration permitting access to content otherwise inaccessible. Besides content digitisation, it includes recovering of hand-written references and mapping to entries of old published broadcast schedule. Such large scale migration process will result in a complete transfer to digital for the whole collection, intended to provide a full digital replacement of the original.”
A digital search tool for the VRT film collection
by Marijn Daniëls, VRT
The film collection is fully mapped and searchable to encourage valorization.
The VRT archives have a collection of 36 000 film index cards relating to 16 and 35-mm films with TV programmes from the 1950s to the 1980s.
The aim of the project was to transfer both the technical and content data of the cards to a digital database. Entering this information manually into data frames is possible but terribly time-consuming. Therefore, we preferred a streamlined and efficient process.
Images of the index cards were created, OCR was used to make the cards searchable, and the database was built using field recognition on a selection of fields. The data from the film registration database were used to compare the film numbers of the index cards.
The result of this project is a powerful new search tool that combines a reliable database, quality controlled by the staff, with a full-text search function using the original index card images. Users of the collections can now search and access the film database directly and initiate the request for film digitisation.
After digitisation, the information from the index cards is automatically added to the metadata of the archive.
RTÉ Archives Film News 1960-1969 – Digitisation and Preservation of the first broadcast film news of the Irish State
by RTÉ Archives
The extraordinary age, scale and depth of the records kept by RTÉ Archives reflects some eight decades’ collecting of the documentary and creative output of the national broadcaster. Now in its 60th year of public service media in Ireland from its launch at midnight December 1961, the collection of News 1960-1969 incorporates the first Irish broadcast news gathering on film of approximately 5,000 news film reels created between c. 1961 and 1969 making up roughly 150 hours of unique moving image content documented Irish politics and society in a period of great change. The film recordings were vulnerable to physical decay, largely unknown, inaccessible and at significant risk of loss prior to the funding support grated under the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Archive Funding Scheme.
This collection was mainly shot on film stock made with acetate plastic, both for picture negative and magnetic soundtracks – a material which inherently has a decaying characteristic known as vinegar syndrome.
The project involved the conservation, digitisation, storage and cataloging for access, in a project lasting roughly 24 months using in-house procured scanning technology solution. Digital copies of the items on film were placed on RTÉ IT’s storage infrastructure from where they were made available via RTÉ’s research archive services for discovery and production as well as on RTÉ Archives Daily publications on www.rte.ie/archives to promote and develop broadcast heritage for the fullest public access and dissemination.
by Eliran Peled, IPBC-Kan
The series (12 chapters) focuses on major events and figures in history but is told through the unusual and funny perspective of events forgotten from history. With the combination of witty narration, rare archive footage, and interviews (not the one expected), each episode takes on a forgotten event and brings it back to the history books.
This series’ strength is the unique archives research, deep and creative, that enabled to surface of forgotten events and figures that were significant at that time. Special attention was given to locating archive details that helped the director to illustrate major events through the memories of the “unimportant” people who witnessed the events and telling the story of an era from their point of view. It’s fun to watch, the creators managed to bring the past events upfront with vivid narration and creative editing of the various archived footage.
THE JURY COMMENTS
“Supposed “unimportant people” featured in archive films are revisited to give a fresh perspective on key historical events. A wealth of archive materials has been meticulously researched, unearthed and packaged into an engaging format that goes deep behind the obvious headlines. The fast-paced, creative storytelling is sometimes shocking, funny and emotional but always captivating, leaving us wanting to see even more of this truly compelling and original documentary series from the team at IPBC-Kan.”
Anna May Wong’s Vlog, First-person biographical short video on emerging media
by YU Juan, D.A., researcher of Shanghai Audio-Visual Archives
Anna May Wong (1905-1961) is the first Chinese American Hollywood movie star. The collection of historical images recorded her eight-month trip to China in 1936. With the archive footage, Shanghai Audio-Visual Archives produced a 5-episode series of short videos “Anna May Wong’s Vlog”, trying to simulate Anna May Wong’s first-person perspective and connect the existing precious videos in the form of Vlog, restoring the historical scenes and analyze the cultural meaning behind it. Postmodern production methods such as flashing, quick cutting, collage and cutout animations frequently appear in the works to ensure that the audience receives enough information in a short time, based on carefully research.
by Thomas Arbez, INA
How to reveal who the candidates to French presidential election are? How to highlight their inspirations? Their contradictions? During the first semester of 2022, INA produced, in house, a unique TV show, “l’adn”, a face-to-face between candidates to French presidential election and … archives! This program was accessible to viewers through INA’s own streaming and broadcast platforms.
“Adn” offers French presidential election’s candidates an original and unprecedented immersion in chosen audio-visual archives. Confronted with the archives that they discover at the same time as the viewers, recent or forgotten images, traces of their own history or moments of French collective memory, the candidates are invited to react, engage and defend their positions.
Mémoire(s) de Suisse romande / Memory of french-speaking Switzerland
by Marielle Rezzonico, RTS/SSR
The public screening project “Memory of French-speaking Switzerland” is a strong emotional experience of promoting the archives of the RTS, in direct contact with the public.
Organized in partnership with local authorities, this restitution of heritage in the very places where it was recorded strengthens the proximity of RTS to its public. It allows different generations to reconnect with their collective memory, their regional identity and the history of their region.
By using restored archives and collecting current testimonies on themes from the past, we produce new content which has great potential on the web, social networks and television. During our public screenings, we also create a festive event around the audiovisual archives.
The “Mémoire(s) de Suisse romande” project therefore represents one of the essential vectors for enhancing the value of RTS’s archives and could be an interesting prospect for other television stations.
THE JURY COMMENTS
“The initiative unlocks the potential of using archive content to promote and strengthen cultural discussion in the community between experts, eyewitnesses, and audiences from different generations. The multi-platform approach (screenings, social media) and many collaborations made to bring the project to life (e.g., with local historians) demonstrate how much thought has gone into reaching across generations and making a lasting connection for audiences.
The project resembles an excellent way of preserving and reigniting history of everyday life in small communities and illuminates the importance of preservation of local archive footage to secure cultural coherence.“
BBC Experience Classical
by Mark Macey, BBC
BBC Experience Classical is a new way to discover the rich and deep archive of classical music from the BBC, featuring hundreds of unique audio recordings all performed by the BBC Orchestras, Choirs and New Generation Artists, collated from many different sources into one place! Alongside these tracks there are hundreds of specially curated archive radio programmes and podcasts that give background and insight, to get even more out of the music. The digital archive features works by over 150 composers from 20 nationalities. Music fans can search by categories, including Composers, Instruments, Popular Classics, Cutting Edge, Discovery and moods like Energise, Focus and Wind Down. The offer has been created to showcase and present classical music to both younger and more established audiences.
BBC Experience Classical is a strong example of a creative initiative that served to increase the visibility and use of the BBC’s extensive audio archives. Covid saw an increase in engagement with classical music and the platform was specially designed to target specific user groups and audiences, namely younger audiences and those new to the world of classical music, whilst putting a spin on archive offers for aficionados of this genre of music. Many pieces of work were sourced from the depths of the archive and newly digitised and many had not been heard since their first broadcast and so we wanted to breathe new life into previously little heard material. The brief was also to represent performers and orchestras from across all 4 nations of the UK and showcase their variety. The approach to the look, feel, tone and storytelling of the archive was imperative in order to give
the work life and offer a fresh take.
The project was funded by both BBC Archive and BBC Radio 3 and formed an extensive partnership/collaboration between various internal and external stakeholders including BBC Archive, BBC Radio 3, BBC Orchestras and Choirs, BBC Learning, BBC Proms, Commercial Rights and Business Affairs, Music Copyright, Legal and networks of young and established composers and performers.
BBC Experience Classical has been a positive example of how to make archive content come to life in colourful and educational ways that appeal to both those who know this music, as well as those new to it. It was a complex project that tackled substantial copyright issues associated with the material; surfaced new and previously unheard pieces of content; provided context from the wider sound archive and presented it all in new ways. We are proud of what the initiative has achieved and the positive ways it’s been received and we look forward to exploring opportunities to present this and more classical music to audiences through our key BBC platforms and help them discover new and immersive musical worlds.
- Lead Curator: Mark Macey
- Commissioning Executive: Philip Raperport
- Archivists and Music Librarians:
- Tim Auvache
- Tariq Hussain
- Michael Jones
- Richard Malton
- Greg McKevitt
- Kevin McKeown
- David Russell
- Joseph Schultz
- Clara Smitherman
A Colônia Luxemburguesa
by Dominique Santana, Centre National de l’Audiovisuel
Deep down in the wilderness of Brazil’s tropical forest stands an enormous steel empire, meticulously crafted by the mysterious Colônia Luxemburguesa.
One hundred years ago, the Luxembourg-based steel giant Arbed – today ArcelorMittal – inaugurated its Brazilian subsidiary called Belgo Mineira in the heart of Minas Gerais. At that time, the lack of qualified workforce provoked a massive movement of hundreds of Luxembourgish migrants to Brazil in order to erect a colossal steel plant and its surrounding industrial city, giving birth to the cradle of the Brazilian steel industry.
While searching for her own identity, Luxembourg-Brazilian historian and filmmaker Dominique makes a fateful discovery as she comes across João Monlevade, an incredible and oddly familiar tropical version of the industrial south of Luxembourg she grew up in. This staggering revelation pulls her into a fascinating quest behind the curtains of the mythical stories of the Colônia Luxemburguesa. What is this Colônia like? Was it a success story of integration into the Brazilian society – a success story at all?
This transmedia project drags us into the nucleus of the Colônia Luxemburguesa and invites us to unearth one century of shared industrial, cultural and social heritage together. It is an interactive experience and discovery journey in which, navigating between myth and history, we are confronted with many stories told from various angles and across different platforms. What is behind Belgo Mineira’s corporate storytelling? Are we able to find truth in the midst of all those divergent stories?