By Kyle Henke
Most companies have valuable historical media assets – film, tape, and old-school digital media – that should be preserved, properly archived, and made accessible. Very often, however, these assets are stored haphazardly, often in an inaccessible location. And although you might think these assets will keep indefinitely, they won’t. The clock is ticking, and you have limited time to preserve your assets at maximum quality.
The process for preserving your legacy assets should be informed by two considerations: accessibility and usability.
Digitally preserving your assets can bring new life to your collection, but you can only use your assets if you can easily find what you need, when you need it. We recommend you include digital copies of your legacy media and associated information in your digital media asset management system, so your team won't be doing the digital equivalent of rummaging through unlabeled boxes when you need that perfect shot of your founder or a significant company milestone from twenty years ago.
The goal is to get as perfect a copy of the original media as possible. (In some cases, this will be the last copy that may ever be made from old formats.) Generally, it’s recommended that you create at least three copies: a high-quality, “perfect” copy for future use; a smaller, viewable copy or proxy version for accessibility and easy viewing; and a long-term storage copy for deep archive, to be used only if something happens to the original.
Assess and Organize
Determine what media you have and what media you want to keep. Begin by assessing the information you have about your legacy asset library. Break it down into discrete information points, with standardized formats to make it easier for you to sort and determine exactly what you have by format, and begin the process of determining what you want to preserve digitally.
Use the information you gathered to prioritize what you want to preserve digitally. You may not have direct knowledge of all the media, so this process will also allow you to sort out subsets of media that your colleagues can help to assess and determine which items should be preserved while capturing important information that will become your metadata.
Once you’ve determined which assets should be preserved digitally, you are ready to convert the assets into digital files. You will likely need specialized equipment and dedicated expertise to do this, and it’s important to include a quality control checkpoint in this stage of the process.
Bring your digitized assets and associated metadata into your DAM or MAM (digital/media asset management) system. Be sure to save an archival copy of all your assets to ensure their further use in the future.
We Can Help
Digitizing legacy assets can be complicated and taxing when done in-house. Leveraging an external partner with dedicated resources – like Aldis – can make the process more efficient, attainable, and cost-effective. Let’s have a conversation!