Advanced Television

ITV Content Delivery preserves history

September 17, 2020

ITV Content Delivery has announced its continued success in offering a bespoke and diverse range of film and tape digitisation and restoration services open to any customer and capable of supporting any requirement. From single titles to entire archives of footage, ITV Content Delivery’s restoration services use the latest technology to restore film or video content to its former glory and cement its place in time.

Significant advances in technology have seen a shift in the use of traditional film and tape formats to high-resolution, high-definition digital media, and the result is a vast amount of important film and tape content on heritage formats, which is often inaccessible, and rapidly deteriorating. With a rich history of over 60 years of broadcasting expertise and born out of the legacy of an established broadcasting institution, ITV Content Delivery is contributing to preserving history with exciting film and tape digitisation and restoration services, bringing archive film and tape content into the modern digital domain.

ITV Content Delivery’s strengths lie in its flexibility to handle different formats, from film to tape to file and create an output in the desired format for distribution to the audience required. Embracing this flexibility ensures customers receive a reliable service, with a welcoming team of experts. In-house capabilities allows for work to be completed across any format to ensure that the end result is delivered fit for purpose every time.

ITV Content Delivery is resourced by a dedicated and diverse team of in-house industry experts and one of the largest ranges of digitisation equipment in the UK. When restoring content, ITV Content Delivery is careful not to change the material beyond the intentions and/or limitations of the original creators, and goes the extra mile to retain authenticity, and remain historically accurate, ensuring prized collections of footage on film and tape are presented in the best quality, without the limitations of aging content.

“We want to help our customers preserve the historical value of their content that unless acted upon now could be lost forever and help them to unlock any commercial value at the same time,” said James Macmillan, Business Development Manager at ITV Content Delivery. “Whether we are dealing with a home video collection or a feature film from 100 years ago, our team always treat our client’s content with the utmost respect and care and ensure that we preserve their footage safely in the manner for which it was originally intended to be enjoyed.”

ITV Content Delivery restores content with the respect it deserves, whilst staying true to its history. The technical capabilities cover a vast range of expertise, including digitising from 35mm and 16mm film direct to 4K, utilising two Vintage Cloud Steenbeck Digitisers – the only machines of their kind in the entire country – to transfer content to the digital domain in the highest quality. ITV Content Delivery also has a dedicated machine room with 1″ D-2, and U-Matic ingest capabilities, as well as the ability to ingest in bulk from a variety of formats, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most notably, ITV Content Delivery can handle all types of tape formats including DB, SP, HDCam and SR.

It is important to remember that holding onto tapes doesn’t guarantee our content will be there for future audiences to enjoy forever, and this is a critical issue that is faced by broadcasters and home movie makers alike. ITV Content Delivery offers assistance in keeping client content available into the future with one-of-a-kind tape transfer, preserving content in the FFV1 codec. Before now, there was no product to digitize this format of tape, so working with partners, ITV Content Delivery uniquely provides this as a service offering.

“We’ve seen a lot of things come and go in our time, and film and tape formats are no exception,” says Macmillan. “We’re working closely with the pillars of the production community, including global broadcasters, post-production companies, archive institutes, and are now seeing an interest from public sector organisations, and even private collectors, to create a lasting legacy of both cultural and historic footage.”

BritBox, an ambitious challenge for Content Delivery

When BritBox launched to the UK market in November 2019, it would come with instant access to the most comprehensive collection of British TV and film on any streaming service. The ITV Content Delivery team stepped up to the mammoth undertaking of re-versioning, processing and delivering all of the content for the platform.

Hundreds of files coming in from multiple broadcasters via a range of delivery methods, required a pragmatic approach and methodical coordination. At the peak, the team were downloading, re-clocking and processing over 250 episodes per day. Working closely with the scheduling team responsible for sourcing the correct version of each piece of content, episodes which only existed as a hard-parted version were identified to be edited into the files that play on BritBox.

“ITV Content Delivery is honoured to have played a part in bringing such a large-scale, headline project to the public and is looking forward to continuing its work, delivering the best of British content to BritBox,” said Macmillan. It was a hugely rewarding process working with BritBox to perform 4K restorations of some of the most iconic British film ever, including content from the ‘Carry On…’ catalogue, as well as classics from Alfred Hitchcock. Footage that was once forgotten and had ‘expired’ can be enjoyed by audiences for years to come in a clarity that has previously been unachievable.”

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