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Requirements Specification for Digitisation of Video Tapes

Background Information

Statsbiblioteket (hereafter called SB) has an extensive amount of analogue audio and video recordings. Parts of these will be digitised inhouse whereas some media digitisation must be outsourced. SB has examined its collections and selected a number of media types for video tapes for digitisation in year 2015. To minimize costs only recordings with unique, preservation-worthy Danish cultural heritage have been chosen for digitisation.

The Video Tapes

SB has selected the following media types for digitisation:

Media typeNumber of tapesEstimated hours in total
½ inch open reel video
1 inch open reel video, type B and C 387 155
VCR Cartridge
160 160
214 620

All tape cassettes have been labelled with a bar code.

The condition of each tape is unknown, since they have not been handled (except for labelling) since acquisition. All the recordings are from the 1970s and 1980s and the tapes have since 2008 been stored under dry and cool conditions (around 38%RH and 17°C), but some of the tapes might show signs of deterioration.

The Scope of the Assignment

An assignment can include one or more of the above-mentioned video media types, but the optimum solution will be digitisation of all media types by a single professional partner. An offer for the assignment must include all costs per media type as described in the Requirements Specification.

The service provider will be responsible for the entire logistics process from pickup of tapes to delivery of files and tapes. An offer must include specifications of routines in connection with transportation and handling of the tapes to minimise any possible risks. Each type must be insured at a value of €250 from pickup to return, as the content is unique cultural heritage.

The cost of the assignment must be based on the number of tapes digitised. There are no reliable time codes and run times on the video tapes, so digitisation will have to be done using technical and human observation of the condition of the tapes.

The first 20 digitisations of each media type (except for ½ inch tapes) will serve as a test sample and SB reserves the right to withdraw from the contract upon our evaluation of these first 20 digitisations. If SB chooses to withdraw from the contract, only the 20 delivered digitisations and logistics will be paid for. Within five work days of receiving the test sample SB will decide whether to continue the assignment.

Quality Analysis Report

The offer must include a list of possible technical metadata for the digitisation.
An automated quality report must be made for each digitisation, including relevant digitisation metadata. The report must be delivered in .xml.

If possible, the report must state minor errors, e.g. a minor dropout in a single sequence, including a time stamp, but the digitisation must be completed.

If a tape is too defective to be digitised, this must be documented in a list of not digitised tapes together with a possible reason for this. A tape that is not digitised cannot be included on the invoice.

Digitisation Process

The tape machines used must be in good condition and the tape machine heads must continually be kept clean during the entire digitisation process. Signal handling on the tape machine must be set so that both highlights and shadows are fully rendered (Gamma). Likewise, colour adjustment must be set to match the colour bar of the tape material (Chroma).

A technical report of machines, converters, software, including version, models and settings used for each media type is also required. The workflow from analogue tapes to digitised files must in no way include any lossy compression, except for the final compression to the target file. The Service Provider must describe the full workflow in details to show that no lossy compression has happened during the process.

The entire content of each tape must be converted into a single file. As far as possible a black screen at the start and end of the file must be avoided.

Each file must be named according to the labelled barcode on the associated tape cassette, e.g.400027907685.mpg and the digitisation report for this file must be named according to this, e.g. 400027907685_report.xml.

Digitisation must be done in 'overscan' mode to include the entire image field.

Video Format

The target file format must be MPEG2 422@ML, I-Frame, 50Mbps, with mpg2 audio stream.

Logistics, Safety, Handling, and Storage

The Service Provider must handle the entire logistics process from pickup and digitisation to return of the files and tapes. The Service Provider is expected to propose solutions for completion of the assignment from start to finish. It is important that all procedures are risk assessed and that the routines to the furthest possible extent take into account that the tape material is considered cultural heritage.

The Service Provider must ensure that:

  • Tapes are not lost in the process
  • Tapes are not damaged in tape machines
  • Tapes are not damaged by improper handling or storage (climate requirements: <+22oC and <55%RF)
  • Tapes are not exposed to inappropriate changes in climate conditions, shock, etc.
  • Tapes are secured against theft and weather
  • Data exchange between SB and the Service Provider is secure
  • A backup of data is kept for at least 30 days after delivery, so that a full re-delivery is possible.


A fixity check must be conducted before delivery of the files and the checksum files must then be delivered together with the digitised files.

The digitised files are to be delivered to SB either on hard disks or via ftp on 1 December 2015 at the latest. SB must notify the Service Provider on approval/rejection of the delivery before 7 December 2015. An invoice cannot be issued until SB has approved the delivery.

The digitisation and delivery must be carried out before 1 December 2015 and all costs be invoiced before 15 December 2015. If SB does not receive the data and metadata files related to the digitisation of one or more media types before 1 December 2015 the remuneration of the Service Provider, in relation to these media types, will be reduced by 10%.

If SB does not receive the data and metadata files related to the digitisation of one or more media types before 20 December, the remuneration of the Service Provider, in relation to these media types will be reduced by 20%, and SB reserves the right to withdraw from the contract.


Time limit for receipt of tenders: 6 October 2015, at 12:00 CET
Delivery of files: 1 December 2015
Return of tapes: 15 December 2015

Contact Information

Jette G. Junge
+45 8946 2054
Victor Albecks Vej 1
8000  Aarhus