Video encoding and archiving in field linguistics

Trilsbeek, P., Schäfer, R., Schüller, D., Pavuza, F., & Wittenburg, P. (2008). Video encoding and archiving in field linguistics. Talk presented at International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives Annual Conference. Sydney. 2008-09-14 - 2008-09-19.
Technological innovation is continuously creating new encoding formats for video. The introduction of HDTV, the wish to move towards 3D video etc will increase the required bandwidths and capacities by factors. New coding standards such as H.264 and JPEG2000 have been developed to overcome the problem of increasing bit rates and new codecs such as H.265 are in the pipeline. In addition we have seen in the recent decades that the maintenance of old formats is not guaranteed if their markets become too small.
This extreme innovation rate is problematic for all archiving intentions, since archiving means guaranteeing continuous accessibility of the archived digital resources. It is known that a continuous migration will be required to interpret stored video streams. At the bit-stream level migration to new storage technology can be organized by fully automatic procedures. At the encoding level problems are much more severe. When migrating compressed video for example we will be confronted with concatenation effects creating serious artifacts. Ideally we would like to store uncompressed or lossless compressed video so that we have a master copy from which we can generate the various presentation formats. Currently, frequently MPEG2 is used for this purpose although it does not prevent information degradation due to concatenation. We will argue for a move to lossless JPEG-2000 encoding as master format and proper process metadata description. Yet we have to solve the dilemma that field workers will deliver highly compressed formats due to the usage of consumer equipment also in future.
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