Case Study: An EYE on Dutch Cinema
Thought Equity Motion preserves, stores, and makes available more than 100 years of Dutch cinema.

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EYE Film Institute Netherlands is responsible for managing Dutch cinematographic heritage. The institute oversees an extensive and internationally prominent audiovisual collection that includes more than 37,000 films, some of which are more than 100 years old. The films in the EYE collection reflect some of the most important aspects of film history and cinema. In addition to managing the collection and organising special film programmes and exhibitions, EYE has the mission of releasing classic and contemporary films in Dutch cinemas.

In recent years, the organisation has been focusing on preserving and maximising accessibility to its media assets for use by future generations in the Netherlands and worldwide. As a part of this effort, EYE began evaluating archive management vendors to take on its share of the Images for the Future project, a publicly financed, massive operation to restore, digitise, and make available the audiovisual heritage of the Netherlands. Due to the sheer size of the project, the project is ongoing and is expected to conclude in 2014.

Challenges

Prior to working with Thought Equity Motion, EYE was facing the following challenges managing its archive:

  • • EYE's world-famous film collection was not digitally accessible, and physical deterioration was a major concern. A large portion of the collection was shot between 1895 and 1950 on nitrate film, a highly flammable carrier.
  • • Without the proper digitisation and digital management, the EYE collection could not support the dynamic access required by third parties. 
  • • Once the collection was digitised, the necessity of building a customised IT infrastructure to manage EYE's massive film archive and rights in-house will be time-consuming and costly.
  • • In the initial phases of the digitisation project, legacy storage technology required the creation of numerous copies, which was an inefficient workflow. Compressed proxies had to be stored instead of native DPX files.
  • Goals

In partnering with a vendor for the Images for the Future project, EYE set out to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Preserve and store EYE's film and video library. 
  2. Realise the maximum accessibility of EYE's collection for theatrical screenings and use by educational institutions, the general public, and the creative sector worldwide.

Solutions

Asset Preservation, Storage, and Access

With more than 1 petabyte of film scanned over just 2 years at EYE, Images for the Future is one of the world's most significant film preservation projects. It involves scanning and storing more than 150 million discrete DPX files in the life of the tender. Thought Equity Motion processes EYE's 2,000 scans on-site in Amsterdam by combining reels and syncing audio. Two thousand lossless archival masters (with no cropping) are created along with an HD cropped mezzanine file. Thought Equity Motion also adds advanced metadata descriptions to EYE's assets and manages the rights status of the content.

To optimise EYE's content for virtually any use or screen, EYE's master-quality, long-form content is transcoded to multiple formats, including HD and H.264. One set of files is stored in Thought Equity Motion's enterprise-class, high-availability facilities located in Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyo. The same files are also backed up digitally in Amsterdam using IBM's open source Long Term File system (LTFS), which works in conjunction with LTO Generation 5 (LTO-5) tape and brings a new level of use and portability to open systems tape storage. And with Thought Equity Motion's enterprise-class cloud storage capabilities, EYE can access and control its digital supply chain through a secure, online portal from anywhere in the world. EYE can also give designated third parties password-protected access to its portal as needed.

Thought Equity Motion's flexible platform supports a number of uses and monetisation opportunities for EYE. With the push of a button, EYE's assets can be encoded for the iPad, the iPhone, or the theatre and just about everything in between, such as Blu-ray Discs. Films in their entirety can also be seen in high resolution on Thought Equity Motion's VoD platform. Additionally, films can be searched for and seen on a secure website (powered by Thought Equity Motion) and syndicated to other third parties through Thought Equity Motion's API. Furthermore, where rightsholders have provided permission, select clips from the EYE collection are available for licensing in Thought Equity Motion's footage storefront.

Other Key Benefits

  • • The collaboration between IBM and Thought Equity Motion cuts the long-term data storage costs of EYE's project by 50%, allowing EYE to store master quality 2K DPX files instead of compressed proxies. And this is achieved without increasing EYE's local IT support costs.
  • • Thought Equity Motion's full-scale archive management solutions enable EYE to pursue the Images for the Future project with greater speed, lower costs, and enhanced flexibility. This also allows EYE to focus on the curation and programming of its film, and not technology or infrastructure.