Over the last several months I have been looking for and comparing digitization services for audio, film, and for images (slides and more). I have been doing this as part of the ongoing work at the Language and Culture Archive to preserve the linguistic and cultural heritage of the people groups SIL International has encountered and served. I have not come to any hard and fast conclusions on “what is the best service provider”. This is partially because we are still looking at various out sourcing options and looking at multiple mediums is time consuming. Then there is also the issue of looking for archival standards and the creation of corporate policy for the digitization of these materials. I am presenting several names here as the results of several searches for digitization services providers.
Last month I was passed a short film on the BBC highlighting one of these providers. The short is well worth the watch because it highlights the reason and madness behind some of the work of digitization.
Several of the companies which have come to the top of the list.
- http://dijifi.com/ – Does the UN’s Collections
- http://www.digmypics.com/ – does work for National Geographic
- http://www.scancafe.com/ – Great consumer grade service
Doing it on our own
Another option the Archive has been looking at is to determine if the the quantity of the work is cost prohibitive to have professional done. Meaning that, we would be better served by buying the equipment and doing the work in house. So in the process I have also been looking at people’s experience with various kinds of equipment and technology used in scanning.
This past weekend I walked across the street from our house with Becky and went to an estate sale. In one of the rooms there was a stack of electronics. There on a dresser was a Reel-to-Reel machine in almost perfect condition.
Track system: 4 track, 2 channel stereo/monaural system
Maximum reel capacity: 7″ reel
Wow and flutter: 0.08% at 7.5 ips
Frequency response: 30Hz to 24kHz at 7.5ips
Distortion: less than 1.5%
Signal to noise ratio: >50dB
Heads: 3 heads
Motors: 3 motors
Dimensions: 430 x 425 x 230mm
One of my concerns is with the 30Hz playback.
Was this standard for reel-to-reels or was there better recordings done but I will never know because of the model of playback machine I have?
Another concern I have is about the heads:
If they are magnetized will they erase my tape? How do I tell if they are magnetized?
Here is a listing of Reel-to-Reel machines by AKAI.
Here is a youtube video of the same model I have.