Archive Achievement Awards 2018

Visual Search: Requirements, Architectures and Use Cases to Visually Search through Broadcast Programmes

by Federico Maria Pandolfi, RAI

Visual Search: Requirements, Architectures and Use Cases to Visually Search through Broadcast Programmes - Federico Maria Pandolfi, RAI

The proposed project aims to solve a significant problem that historically affects the production and the archives departments of broadcasting companies: the lack of metadata and the consequent difficulty to retrieve the needed multimedia contents. To be more specific, this is particularly true for example when it comes to the raw footage that is used by the newsrooms to edit the news to be aired. Usually, this type of footage is either not or only partially annotated and it is generally difficult to access. The result is that the footage often gets discarded or lost, causing a loss of money and resources.

A feasible solution to this issue is presented in this project and involves state-of-the-art technologies in the visual search field. The project is not only conceived to be a mere visual search tool but it is instead designed to be a framework ready to be included in the production workflow. It consist in two parts: a search engine and a workflow manager. It was designed to be as modular as possible, allowing the replacement of the search engine with different or newer solutions if needed.

The idea behind this project is that it is possible to add metadata to the non-annotated raw footage simply by linking it to the corresponding aired material which, on the contrary, is thoroughly annotated. This approach theoretically goes well beyond our specific use-case but we decided to start with a practical and well-confined scenario and extend afterwards the framework’s capabilities (e.g. logo detection, image search over pictures catalog, …).

The engine of the whole framework relies in a software module developed by the British company Visual Atoms, whose employees are world leading experts in image and video analysis and computer visions. Experimental results regarding this search engine module are already available and have been obtained using the opinion of a significant number of skilled professionals who deal daily with the catalogue, annotation and metadata, so as to evaluate the framework in the most objective way possible.

What’s around the search engine is a workflow manager, which manages the source files, folder structure, performs required conversions and tracks the state of each step. This manager is made mostly using the open-source software called “Apache AirFlow”, a new and efficient platform to manage workflows, part of the Apache Software Foundation. The workflow manager on the other hand is still in early development. Therefore there is still not enough evidence of its efficiency and performance under any workload.

The project is being carried out since September 2016 (approx. 20 months to date) and its prototype is still under development by Rai Teche, together with a small scientific newsroom (TG Leonardo) that represents fairly well a typical newsroom but has a much smaller footprint.

Early empirical results demonstrate that the correlation between raw and aired material can be achieved with acceptable precision. This allows metadata sharing between annotated (aired) and non-annotated (raw) material.


For the 2018 Excellence in Media Management Award, the jury has chosen for a project that has facilitated annotation as well as archival retrieval. It avoids a waste of footage, time and finances. The proposed way of working is beneficial for everyone involved in the process of searching and using archival material. Furthermore, it is an ambitious project opened to new evolutions in the future. The jury stresses the impact on the whole company: archives, journalists, and production. It strongly appreciates that the project brings the great potential of an artificial intelligence technology to a practically applicable level.

SBS’s Videotape Archive Preservation Project

by Maddy Kortegast & Adam Hodginkinson, SBS

SBS’s Videotape Archive Preservation Project - Maddy Kortegast & Adam Hodginkinson, SBS

Special Broadcast Services (SBS) is an Australian Public Broadcaster with the principal function of provide providing multilingual and multicultural radio, television and digital media services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia’s multicultural society.

SBS has undertaken the third stage of its videotape broadcast archive digitisation and preservation project. The project commenced in January 2017 and is due for completion in September 2018. SBS chose to outsource the digitisation of the collection and partnered with DAMsmart to complete the project. DAMsmart is an Australian based audio-visual digitisation agency and specialises in large-scale audio-visual migration projects.

At the completion of this stage of the project, the digitisation and preservation program will result in content held on over 24,000 videotapes (including Betacam, DVCPro and MiniDV) being digitised. The project has delivered approximately .8PBs of preservation data as well as .6PBs of broadcast ready files content for use in the broadcast environment.

What the project will and has already achieved is safeguarding the cultural relevance & future importance of the unique SBS collection for the Australian public – the content will be forgotten, undiscoverable, if left on physical tape to deteriorate. SBS has tackled the challenges of content inaccessibility, foisted on us by technology obsolescence and removed the risk of valuable content loss due to failing and degrading physical media. Excellent media preservation process and collaboration has secured this content for future inspiration. This is a great Australian story to be sung.


“The Media Preservation jury duly notes that all the submitted projects featured compromises between the ideals as set by preservation standards and the sometimes heavy constraints as set by the production needs and unadapted funding. Therefore this award should be considered as an encouragement for the endeavor put in the winning project, more than a full and complete endorsement of its technical specifications. In the winning project, the jury especially appreciates the courage to choose for a lossless master format even in a production context, a choice that not many broadcasters dared to make yet.”

Your town, your story

by Louise Broch, DR

Your town, your story - Louise Broch, DR

In 2017, DR Archive (the archive of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation) developed a new and innovative way of communicating archive material directly to the users. “Your Town, Your Story” was a project, in which DR brought radio- and tv-archive clips on tour to five different Danish towns (Holbæk, Nakskov, Esbjerg, Randers, Odense). DR Archive filled a big tent with interactivity, digital and tactile archive installations that appealed to different kinds of users, both young and elderly. Each event was curated with clips from the visited town and staffed with DR’s archive experts, who met new users on their home ground and encouraged everybody to share their own stories. The project collaborated with local museums and schools who presented their own materials and projects in the tent together with DRs installations. In that way dialogue flourished across materials and humans, making connections between curators and users, between neighbors and new friends remembering the same story from different points of view.

The purpose of the project was:

  • To communicate local archive materials to citizens in their own surroundings to give them a feeling of being part of history and to give them a feeling of cohesion and identity.
  • To invite people to interact with the archive clips and to let them use the materials in their personal stories.
  • To bring new life to a part of the DR archive which is seldom used but extremely relevant to local communities.
  • To create partnerships with local museums and institutions.

The focal point of the project was the website All clips from the interactive installations in the tent could also be viewed on the site and shared on social media afterwards, and visitors could make their own digital stories with clips combined with their own text and drawings and later find their story on the website. The project is still alive, and the archive tent is coming to Vejle in August 2018 to a special festival for a whole region called the Triangle Area. This time the tent will have clips from all bigger towns in the area, and the concept has grown bigger with new radio programs produced by DR’s local radio channel “P4 Trekanten” based on the local archive footage.


“By interacting directly with the users, the project is taking the value of the archives outside of the vaults. The project proves that scaling down might be of a great value. Stories that might not be relevant for a whole country, can be extremely relevant for a specific community and therefore are worth safeguarding.”

Awards 2018
Awards 2018


Since 2014 FIAT/IFTA has also given a special Lifetime Achievement Award to a person with special merits for FIAT/IFTA and the field of audiovisual archiving as a whole.

FIAT/IFTA is humbled to award Vittorio Sette the 2018 Lifetime Achievement 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…

“whose career started already in 1966, that is 52 years ago. In 1979 he joined the archives department of the broadcaster that he worked for. He would stay in the archives for 20 years. He has lead the installation of the first automated vault of the archive he worked for, already in 1982. Soon enough he became the representative par excellence of the archives department of RAI here in Italy and abroad, with a special interest also for musical archives. From 1982 until 1999 he was active within FIAT/IFTA. As an Executive Council member, a vice-president, a Secretary-General and from 1990 until 1994 as the third president of this federation.”