We're helping RTHK go digital.

by Adam Hodgkinson

We’re really excited to announce a new project that we’re starting for Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK). Over the next 18 months we will be digitising 21,000 hours of content from their videotape library. The focus for the project is to make RTHK’s production archive available in an HD digital form to coincide with the introduction of digital terrestrial television services by the broadcaster. The project also aims to increase their production efficiencies, reduce risk, storage and access overheads inherent to physical videotape and, importantly, deliver the preservation outcomes.

As bit of background about RTHK, they are Hong Kong’s public service broadcaster. Established in the 1920s, RTHK is responsible for producing independent public affairs, education and entertainment content, initially for radio and then for television from the 1970s. So, the video archive represents a significant cultural record of Hong Kong’s recent history. 

Up until this year, commercial free-to-air providers have been responsible for broadcasting the television content produced by RTHK. This year, however, marks a new era for the broadcaster with the introduction of its own digital terrestrial television channels. Having its own channels now means RTHK is responsible for both producing content and broadcasting content. This shift has seen RTHK look to leverage its production archive to meet programming needs and that’s where we come in.

It’s a big project that will see 21,000 hours of content across as many as 40,000 individual Betacam cassettes being digitised. Up to 30% of the collection presents signs of deterioration such as mould so there will be plenty of up work to get that part of the collection ready for digitisation. We are going to be using a mix of automated and semi-automated workflows that will include SD to HD up-conversion to create two file types, XDCamHD 50 and MPEG4. There is significant post digitisation processes involved also as the files got through workflow to address program segmentation requirements. 

We’re already underway with the project due for completion in late 2015.