Learning the basics of video

Preservation training in Lithuania
 Mick Newnham

The workshop opens at the Lithuanian National Archive in Vilnius. The archive contains collections of film, video and audio records as well as paper records, so it is an ideal location in which to run the workshop. The first sessions on the basics of sound and audio archiving are delivered by Samuel Franco. Samuel is the Director of Casa K’ojom (Research Center and Museum of Maya Music) in Guatemala, an organisation he founded. Samuel’s experience in recording traditional music is a good basis for the students to learn the basics of sound and audio recording. In the final week of the workshop Samuel will also be guiding students through a field recording exercise.
Vintage ARRI printer. Photo by Mick Newnham.

After Samuel’s morning sessions I cover the technical basics of real image-to-video signal conversion and magnetic recording principles. In the evening we are invited to the Theatre, Music and Film Museum by Ms Rima Grasiene, a Sound and Image Collections Conservation participant and a member of the museum’s staff. The museum’s collection includes a ‘vintage’ ARRI printer, very similar to the ones used in the NFSA’s motion picture lab about 20 years ago. While there was something warm and familiar about seeing an old friend, I became a tad concerned about becoming a potential museum exhibit myself.

The second day starts with storage for AV collections. Samuel describes the theory and I use case studies and examples to illustrate the major issues. Later in the day we move to disaster preparedness as a subset of storage. It’s a timely and important topic with so many disasters occurring around the world in 2011.

The afternoon session is largely hands-on with students doing handling and repair exercises on audio and video tapes.