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Recovery of video archives by Italian commercial TVs and Radios.

Adolfo Guzzetti from Video AG Cassano (mid way from Milan and Varese production and post company) tells us: "Just think that we are capable of reading a papyrus of 4 thousand years ago and instead we risk not being able to read ever more the information contained on magnetic tapes of thirty or forty years ago. Is that acceptable?"

 

Around the last decade of November, at the Film School in Milan, the new Law on Cinema was presented by Minister Franceschini, Senator Di Giorgi and Dr. Borrelli.


On this occasion it was also presented a petition which tends to the preservation and restoration of private and public audiovisual archives and the television programs of the past. As anyone might guess, sports contents to be preserved and restored are countless.
Adolfo says: "The topic is hot because the general perception of the conservation of moving images archives is generally isolated to the films. In fact the films when stored in their own metal cans tends to turn yellow and lose the original colors over quite large a period of time. In the video field, the problem is more acute because in just a few decades the magnetic information recorded on a tape become completely unreadable."
"Moreover, the matter is further complicated because where the film to be restored typically has only two sizes, 16 and 35 mm, in the video there are several formats and standards with very dissimilar tapes measures, 2", 1", ¾", ½" and various standards, each readable only by the type of machine that recorded it in the past."
These machines, are increasingly difficult to find and in any case they are very difficult to maintain, precisely because of the inherent complexity, for the need of spare parts and for the fact that the old magnetic tape leaves such large pasty residues to require the continuous cleaning of video heads every few minutes away."
Even worse, all these machines are analog and not digital, so they belong to the past as well as the technicians who know how to fix them.
The wealth of images involved is huge and sport is 100% on top of the list, it is the king content. Images derive from local and regional television, large state-owned and commercial broadcasters, but involved are government agencies, foundations, private archives, sports clubs and so on. In practice, the amount of video that are the heritage of public and private images recorded on video is endless and often hidden.
Adolfo Guzzetti, as "official" patron of this petition on the restoration and video conservation project, adds:
"Surely there is only a concept, namely that losing a harvest so large video files and TV programs is a mess completely unacceptable."
"Historical images appear in ever wider and more frequent measure in TV broadcasts for the need to show times and passages of sports, history, science, the world of work, habits and social coexistence. They are the most immediate, effective tools and indispensable to tell the past to young people of today and tomorrow."
"After ten, twenty at the most, the risk that the images to degrade or disappear completely is very frequent."
The next step, after knocking on many, many closed doors, is the launch of a petition anyone can sign here. [https://www.change.org/p/ministero-di-beni-culturali-recupero-degli-archivi-videomagnetici-delle-tv-e-radio-private-italiane
] It is initially targeted at industry professionals."
"It is also an opportunity to create jobs for young people who will be trained in order to preserve our historical heritage, social and cultural development which covers a very long period."
The idea is to be able to attract the interest of the political world so that economic resources are invested. To produce a public facility which can capture all known content and even those not yet known, so that they could be maintained or brought back to life. The next step is the obvious digitization of all what so as to be able to index and to make available such materials for a typical re-use of the library as needed. A huge database of video may be reused by all radio stations, televisions, government agencies, individuals, foundations, content producers, but also the private citizen who wants to see historical passages.
A reference example is the MEMORIAV Foundation, which deals with the recovery, enhancement and use of the Swiss cultural heritage: https://youtu.be/JoHdPVv0HDE
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