Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Olympic AV archive to be honoured at IBC2015

Conservation by the International Olympic Committee of more than a century of audiovisual assets is to be recognised as part of the IBC2015 Awards Ceremony.

The IOC has been conserving and managing videos, films and audio recordings, museum objects, pictures and archives through its Patrimonial Assets Management programme (PAM).

The award recognises the IOC’s positive approach both to conservation and to making the archives available to broadcasters, researchers and other professionals.

Dating back to the first Olympic Games in modern times, in 1896, the archives include 2000 hours of film, 33,000 hours of video, 8500 hours of audio and more than 500,000 photographs, as well as 2000 archive documents and 22,000 pictures of Olympic Museum artefacts.

The PAM project commenced after IOC archivists conducted an in-depth study and found that, within just a few years, 50% of the videos would be unplayable, 20% of the faded photographs would be unusable, and there would be no audio players available for much of the collection. On the films, ‘vinegar syndrome’ chemical deterioration was gaining ground, risking complete destruction.

A programme of conservation was set up, with leading expert bodies from around the world contributing their unique skills to the restoration, conservation and digitisation of the assets. A team of up to 40 specialist staff (loggers, technicians, engineers, a lawyer, a webmaster and project managers) was recruited.

At the same time, a new digital asset management system was implemented, with functionality tailored to the needs of a truly multi-media integrated archive, from the digitisation of physical media to the website and the distribution of digital assets.

The project took seven years to complete, with a total of 100,000 hours of combined work including cataloguing, indexing, technical operations and IP rights clearance. Every day, 40 to 125 photos and 15 to 20 hours of recordings were processed, with each one scanned, digitally cleaned, repaired and colour corrected as necessary.

Michael Lumley, chair of the IBC Awards Panel, said, “This project is very important for two reasons. First, it ensures that more than a century of Olympic history is preserved for the future. Perhaps even more importantly, it draws the industry’s focus on a subject which it is all too easy to ignore.

“Our archives risk becoming inaccessible, not just because of deterioration of assets but also because the hardware to play them is obsolete and virtually impossible to replicate”, Lumley explained. “Broadcasters, production companies and anyone with an audiovisual archive can look to the IOC’s Patrimonial Assets Management project to see a model of conservation and access. IBC is pleased to be able to draw attention to this issue through this award, as well as recognising the excellent work the IOC is undertaking.”

The IOC’s commitment to its patrimony remains very much a work in progress. Each Summer Games, for example, adds about 3500 hours of video and 40,000 photos. Today, the business-to-business website for the IOC archives, The Olympic Multimedia Library, is visited by 1200 professionals each month, as well as by in-house IOC staff

Christophe de Kepper, director general, IOC, commented, “The IOC’s Patrimonial Assets Management programme has helped safeguard the IOC’s rich legacy by preserving the organisation’s historical archives and bringing them into the 21st century. It was down to us to perpetuate the cultural heritage of more than a century of Olympic history that our forebears had handed down to us. The IOC patrimony can now withstand the test of time.”

The award will be presented as part of the IBC2015 Awards Ceremony, which takes place at 18.30 on Sunday 13 September, in the Auditorium in the RAI Centre, Amsterdam.