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Requirements Specification for Digitisation of Video Tapes: U-matic and 1 inch

Published 22 August 2016

See questions and answers at the end of the text

Background Information

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

Definitions

Contract

The legal agreement between SB and the Service Provider to supply services in this requirements specification, including modifications and attachments

Collection of Items

The event, where all of the original information carriers (tape, disc, etc.) supplied by SB, are picked up at SB by the Service Provider

Deliverables

The digital files (including metadata files and md5 checksum files) produced from original media in accordance with and conforming to specifications agreed upon in the Contract

Deliverables’ File Formats

The required file formats of the Deliverables

Delivery of Files

The event where all Deliverables are received by SB

Item

The original information carrier (tape, disc, etc.) supplied by SB from which a digital copy is produced by the Service Provider

Partial Delivery

The event where a subset of the Deliverables are received by SB

Requirements Specification

The description, prepared by SB, of the required services to be supplied by the Service Provider

Return of Items

The event where all original information carriers (tape, disc, etc.) supplied by SB, are returned to SB by the Service Provider

Service Provider

The company awarded the Contract to supply services as specified in this requirements specification

Workday

Monday to Friday except for Danish state holidays, the Danish Constitution Day, Christmas day, New Year’s day and the following weeks: week 39, week 40 and week 52

The Video Tapes

SB has selected the following Items for digitisation:

Media type

Estimated number of Items

Estimated hours in total

U-matic video

986

904

U-matic S video

82

75

1 inch open reel video, type A

75

31

The number of Items to be digitised is an estimate. SB reserves the right to reduce or increase the number of Items by maximum 20 % while retaining the unit price.

The covers of the Items are all labelled with a bar code.

The condition of each Item is unknown, since they have not been handled (except for labelling) since acquisition. The Items are currently stored under dry and cool conditions (around 38%RH and 17°C), but some of the Items might show signs of deterioration.
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 Items.

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 this requirements specification.

The Service Provider must be responsible for the entire logistics process from Collection of Items to Return of Items and Delivery of Files.

The cost of the assignment must specify a unit price per Item. The offer must also include the unit price of any additional services (i.e. repair of broken Items, reconditioning etc.).
The first 20 Deliverables of each media type will serve as a test sample and SB reserves the right to withdraw from the Contract upon our evaluation of these first 20 Deliverables. If SB chooses to withdraw from the contract, only the 20 Deliverables and logistics will be paid for. Within five work days of receiving the test sample SB will decide whether to continue the assignment.

Technical Requirements

Quality Analysis Report
An automated quality report must be made for each digitisation, including relevant digitisation metadata. The quality 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 an Item is too defective to be digitised, this must be documented in a list of not digitised Items together with a possible reason for this. An Item that is not digitised cannot be included on the invoice.

The offer must include a detailed description of the quality control and quality analysis report.

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). The Service Provider must make the effort to remove as much of the black at the end of the Item as possible.

After the operator has inserted an Item in the VTR the Item must be played for a few minutes to check the following parameters:

  • RF level and general condition
  • The audio and video levels
  • Presence of « drop outs »
  • Number of audio tracks
  • Vertical and horizontal sync
  • Servo lock

The Service Provider must supply a technical report of machines, converters, software, including version, models and settings used for each media type. The workflow from analogue Items to Deliverables 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 detail to show that no lossy compression has happened during the process.

The entire content of each Item 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 Item’s cover, e.g.400027907685.ts and the quality 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.

Technical Metadata Requirements
The offer must include a list of possible technical metadata for the digitisation. As a minimum the following manual actions must be logged:

  • Visual inspection, including comments (date, time, user etc.)
  • Cleaning, including comments (date, time, user, outcome of machine etc.)
  • Repair, including comments (date, time, user, outcome etc.)
  • Transfer, including comments (date, time, user, SN of VTR, outcome etc.)
  • Manual QC of MPEG2 file, inspection, including (date, time, user, outcome etc.)

Observations that must be reported during the digitisation process:

  • Saturated audio
  • Low RF
  • Noisy picture
  • Drop outs
  • Head clogging
  • Tracking issue
  • Low audio level, poor quality
  • Item has been baked
  • Item was repaired

The Service Provider must supply technical metadata in the XML digitisation report associated to each Deliverable.

Deliverables’ File Formats
The file format of the digitised Items must be in MPEG2 422@ML, I-Frame, 50Mbps, with mpg2 audio stream, 48000 Hz, stereo, s16p, 384 kb/s, delivered as transport stream with the filename extension “.ts”.

The associated quality reports must be in XML.

Logistics, Safety, Handling, and Storage

As mentioned earlier, the Service Provider must be responsible for the entire logistics process from Collection of Items to Return of Items and Delivery of Files. An offer must include specifications of routines in connection with transportation and handling of the tapes to minimise any possible risks. 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:

  • Items are not lost in the process
  • Items are not damaged in tape machines
  • Items are not damaged by improper handling or storage (climate requirements: <+22oC and <55%RF)
  • Items are not exposed to inappropriate changes in climate conditions, shock, etc.
  • Items are secured against theft, weather and other threats
  • Transport vehicles are never left unattended and refuelling happens before transportation
  • Each Item must be insured at a value of at least €250 from Collection of Items to Return of Items, as the content is unique cultural heritage
  • Data exchange between SB and the Service Provider is secure
  • A backup of data is kept for at least 60 days after the Delivery of Files, so that a full re-delivery is possible. After approval of Deliverables SB will ask for the deletion of all Deliverables and all digital copies in the Service Provider’s possession, which must then be done as soon as possible.

The driver sent by the Service Provider must sign for the reception of intact Items (a list specifying the barcodes of the Items will be provided by SB). Once the Service Provider has transported the Items to the facility of the Service Provider, all the Items must be scanned, and a list of scanned Items must be sent by email to SB.

For the duration of the project the Items must be stored in a climate-controlled and highly secured depot (fire-proof and locked) that meets the standards for archival storage.

After the digitisation - and before the return shipment - the Service Provider must check the order, number and condition of the Items and match these against the numbers that were registered at the reception of the Items.

Delivery

A fixity check must be conducted before the Delivery of Files and the checksum files must then be delivered together with the digitised files. The checksum files must be named according to the labelled barcode on the associated Item’s cover, e.g. 400027907685.md5.

The Deliverables are to be delivered to SB either on hard disks or via FTP. SB must notify the Service Provider on approval/rejection of the Delivery of Files within 10 Workdays after the Delivery of Files. An invoice cannot be issued until SB has approved the Delivery of Files.

A Partial Delivery that constitutes at least 50% of the Delivery of Files must be carried out before 11 November 2016.

The Delivery of Files must be carried out before 1 December 2016 and all costs be invoiced before 15 December 2016. If SB does not receive the Deliverables related to the digitisation of one or more media types before 1 December 2016 the remuneration of the Service Provider, in relation to these media types, will be reduced by 10%.

If SB does not receive the Deliverables 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.

Deadline

Time limit for receipt of offers: 12 September 2016, at 12:00 CET
Partial Delivery: 11 November 2016
Delivery of Files: 1 December 2016
Return of Items: 15 December 2016

Contact Information

Stefani Recht
sre@statsbiblioteket.dk
+45 8946 2314

Statsbiblioteket
Victor Albecks Vej 1
8000 Aarhus C
Denmark

Questions and Answers

Q: Can you give any details about the brands and ages of the U-matic tapes?

A: We do not know exactly which brands are in our collection. We have been able to identify the following brands:

  • Sony KCA-30. KCA-60.
  • Scotch 3M UCA-40.
  • Ampex 297 SPS-20.
  • Ampex 197 BCS-20, BCS-30.
  • Scotch 3M MBR-30. MBR-60.
  • Fuji H521, KCS-20 (Beridox).
  • Fuji H520, KCS-20 (Beridox)
  • BASF

However, there may be more since about 33% of the 1.068 U-matic tapes are unidentifiable. One of these tapes, where the brand couldn’t be determined, is shown in the images below.


A rough estimate would be that our collection of U-matic tapes consists mostly of the brands SONY and FUJI, and at least 6% AMPEX.

Furthermore, we know that about 80% of the U-matic tapes are from the period 1974-1988, and about 6% are from the period 1989-1999. The age of the remaining tapes is unknown.


Q: Does SB provide transportation packages (containers)?

A: SB will provide cardboard boxes as containers for transportation. Should the Service Provider, who is responsible for the tranportation, decide that cardboard boxes are not adequate, the Service Provider will have to provide suitable containers.

 

Q: Who from SB or the Service Provider is responsible for placing the carriers in containers at pick-up?

A: If the service provider supplies the containers, the carriers will be placed in these by SB, during the pickup.


Q: SB mentions that the entire content of each Item must be converted into a single file. Could you please confirm that by “item” you mean “carrier” i.e. 1 carrier = 1 file?

A: Yes, by Item we mean the original information carrier. Each carrier must be digitised into 1 digital file that has associated metadata and checksum files.

 

Q: What is the content of the carriers?

A: The majority of the carriers consists of TV programmes, and we also have a few conference recordings. However, other types of content may occur in the collection.


Q: Do you have any preference in terms of file naming?

A: As mentioned in the requirements specification, the files must be named according to the labelled barcode of the Item’s cover, e.g. 400027907685.ts, 400027907685_report.xml and 400027907685.md5. We would like the digital file, accompanied by the metadata file and md5 checksum file, to be placed together in a folder also given the name of the Item’s barcode.


Q: The files are to be delivered to SB either on hard disks or via FTP. If Hard disk, do you wish to have a 2nd HD as back-up copy?

A: Provided the Service Provider keeps a backup of data for at least 60 days after the last files are delivered (as specified in the requirements specification), we will not require a delivery of a second hard disk as a back-up copy.


Q: Could you please confirm that the SB wishes to receive a price per item, not a price per hour?

A: Yes, the offer must include a price per Item.


Q: Is SB providing a standardized pricing grid to be filled in by all bidders?

A: No, it is up to the bidders themselves to prepare a pricing grid.