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This article discusses the preparation of workflows and output specifications for a transfer project of a collection of DV-based video cassettes (DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO), by VIAA, the Flemish Institute for Archiving. Two hard to predict characteristics of the collection determined the implementation of this project: the quality of the signal (the extent to which signal loss had occurred on the cassettes) and the precise technical characteristics of the recordings. Given these unknown factors, three major decisions had to be made for these cassettes, all of which together determined the work of an external transfer service provider: 1) the necessary steps in the workflow, 2) the output used of the player(s) and 3) the desired output format(s). In making these decisions, the confrontation between two good practices from the audiovisual archive world was crucial: on the one hand, keeping the technical characteristics of the source signal unaffected and, on the other hand, limiting the number of file formats of master files in the archive, in order to increase file format manageability. This article first outlines the project and its mission and further on discusses and arguments the technical choices made, thus culminating in a proposal for a workflow for the transfer of the cassettes.
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