The Science Museum of Minnesota started collecting artifacts from the local Hmong community in the 1980’s, which was a time of great cultural change. In addition to collecting physical artifacts, the museum documented oral histories, cultural activities, and demonstrations of Hmong crafts. This aspect of the collection was recorded on both audio and videotape.
According to Rebecca Newberry, SMM Director of Collections Stewardship, many of the culturally rich audio and video recordings were made in the 1990’s on what are now obsolete formats such as standard audio cassettes and VHS video cassettes. SMM partnered with Saving Tape Media Conversion to digitize many hours of audio and video content so that it could be properly archived and made accessible in web-friendly formats such as H.264 video and .WAV audio.
This work was generously funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
When digitizing analog videotape, Saving Tape technicians match each videotape with a master deck that will provide the best quality video and audio playback. The interlaced A/V signal is digitally transcoded into a de-interlaced, progressive frame signal and captured as a high quality H.264 movie file, commonly referred to as Mp4. All Saving Tape video workstations employ Time Base Correction and 3d (visual) noise filtering.
When digitizing analog audiotape, Saving Tape technicians play the source tape from studio quality master decks into analog-to-digital encoders, carefully normalizing the gain so that the signal input provides optimal signal-to-noise ratio. Once digitized, the audio files are trimmed and output as 16-bit WAV files. Finally, the individual files are titled according to the designated naming convention as specified by the client.