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Calibre rescues Oxford history

30 September 2010
Calibre rescues Oxford history

Calibre UK is highlighting the fact that digitisation of video material is not just a broadcast problem with the recent deployment of its tech at the Media Production Unit at The University of Oxford.

The University’s video archive goes back some 25 years and contains over 3000 hours of material. Yet much of this material is on analogue video tape and cannot be retrieved or viewed remotely by staff or students. Enter Calibre UK’s VideoExcel VXL-100HD video processor, as Charles Beesley, Head of Media Production at The University of Oxford, explained.

“Much of the earliest material in the archive is starting to degrade and needs saving,” said Beesley. “With the help of Mark Lusby and the excellent team at Calibre and their VXL-100HD product, we will be able to digitize it and put it online. Using our old video sources, we can feed the archive material through the VXL-100HD and onto either a hard drive or the latest HD recorders.”

Currently, Beesley and his team at the MPU are trying to prove the worth of a fully digital archive to the powers-that-be at The University of Oxford, converting an original VHS recording from a presentation that was given at the University’s School of Pathology in 1990, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of penicillin. Minute by minute, the recording is being converted to 16:9 aspect ratio and HD format, receiving a thorough electronic ‘cleaning’ in the process. If the University likes what it sees, Beesley hopes to be granted sufficient budget to begin digitizing the complete archive.
Designed as a universal format converter and frame synchronizer, the VXL-100HD performs per-pixel, realtime noise reduction and enhancement of incoming images from a wide range of SD and HD input sources. Thanks to its award-winning Realta chip, specially configured and optimised by Calibre, the VXL-100HD offers true broadcast-grade processing at a price that makes it attractive to a wider range of end-customers.

Tim Brooksbank, Chairman, Calibre UK, commented: “The world is chock-full of analogue video content which, at the time it was recorded in the 1980s or 1990s, or even earlier in some cases, seemed state-of-the-art. The sad truth is that much of this material is starting to degrade and must be digitized soon if it is to survive.

“With the VXL-100HD, we offer audio visual facilities on tight budgets the chance to convert and restore their archives at an affordable price, without compromising audio or video signal quality, or processing flexibility. And if it’s good enough to meet the high standards of The University of Oxford, it’s good enough for anybody!”

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