Friday, 10th July 2020

Preserving UK film history

The British Film Institute (BFI), the lead organisation for film in the UK, has commissioned OvationData to deploy two Spectra® T950 Tape Libraries and two Spectra® BlackPearl® Converged Storage Systems for long-term digital preservation of the UK's film history, as part of its Unlocking Film Heritage digitisation project. The solution will enable the BFI to protect and preserve its valuable digital assets for decades to come, and make its archives easily accessible to filmmakers, researchers and the general public.

"The Spectra Logic T950 tape libraries and BlackPearl systems have enabled us to create a content strategy to preserve digital assets for the long-term," said BFI Head of Data and Digital Preservation Stephen McConnachie. "The Spectra BlackPearl integrates seamlessly into our workflow applications and allows us to easily store and quickly access our assets on Spectra tape libraries. The non-proprietary format of the system and its implementation of diverse storage media gives us confidence in our future roadmap."

 

The BFI is a registered charity governed by a Royal Charter, and it combines cultural, creative and industrial roles, bringing together the BFI National Archive and BFI Reuben Library; film distribution, exhibition and education at the BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX; publishing and festivals. This UK-wide organisation works with partners to develop and support original UK filmmakers and films, advancing the position of film in the UK.

 

In 2012, the BFI launched Unlocking Film Heritage, one of the largest and most complex archive preservation programmes ever undertaken in the UK, aiming to capture, store and preserve the UK's film history. As part of the programme, over 10,000 films from the BFI and UK regional and national film archives have been digitised and made available to the public, connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and world cinema.

 

The project required a new storage solution that would integrate with existing and future workflow applications, accommodate predicted data growth, and reliably protect and preserve the organisation's valuable assets. The BFI team was also concerned about being locked into a single vendor's media roadmap.

 

Having considered a variety of tape-based options, specialist service provider OvationData guided the BFI in implementing a Spectra Logic modern storage architecture. The Spectra Logic deployment integrated effortlessly with the BFI's media asset management application Imagen. The BFI's four-frame T950 tape library is configured with LTO-6 drives and media, and its dual-frame T950 tape library with IBM® TS1150 tape technology, providing media diversity thanks to multiple tape formats, and eliminating future roadmap worries associated with implementing a single technology.

 

Since its implementation, the Spectra Logic tape library has operated flawlessly, enabling quick and easy public access, while simplifying data management and providing the necessary flexibility, scalability and longevity. The combination of Spectra Logic BlackPearl solution and tape libraries has proven to be a best-in-class, long-term digital preservation solution for the nation's cinematic cultural assets.

 

Serving content creators worldwide for decades, Spectra invests more than 18 percent of its revenue in R & D to deliver the most modern storage solutions to its largest business segment, media and entertainment.

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