Our thanks to John Ryan

RADD couldn’t exist without the generosity of the campus and Madison communities. Another example of this generosity was just added into the technology array.

RADD uses the Device Side Data controller card to be able to read 5.25-inch floppy disks. Device Side Data used to sell an enclosure for the card, but no longer does. We always felt nervous about just leaving RADD’s two cards out on the table; they are fairly sturdy (we admit we have dropped them a few times), but no electronics enjoy rough treatment.

Luckily, John Ryan, a Student Shop Technician at the College of Engineering Student Shop came to RADD’s rescue. He drilled and cut a small plastic equipment box to hold the card safely with the ribbon cable and USB cable plugged into it.

We are very grateful for Mr. Ryan’s work!

RADD nominated for Digital Library Federation Community/Capacity Award

RADD coordinator Dorothea Salo has been nominated for a 2016 Community/Capacity Award from the Digital Library Federation for her work with RADD.

This is a tremendous honor, and Dorothea and RADD are in phenomenal company! Many thanks to the anonymous nominator(s), and congratulations to fellow nominees.

RADD has been a community effort from its beginnings. This and other honors rightly belong to all RADD’s planners, donors, builders, and supporters. Our thanks to everyone who has supported RADD!

Summer 2016: Baldwin grant to digitize A/V

We are pleased and proud to announce that the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment has chosen to fund RADD to do proof-of-concept audiovisual digitization work this summer.

RADD will digitize unique audiovisual materials on a variety of physical carriers from:

  • the Cedarburg Public Library, Cedarburg WI
  • the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, Delavan WI
  • Mineral Point Library and Archives, Mineral Point WI
  • WYOU community television station, Madison WI

The Baldwin Endowment mini-grant will also fund repair of some of RADD’s equipment.

SLIS students Courtney Becks and Logan Rains have been hired to work on this project alongside RADD builder Dorothea Salo.

RADD price list

Interested in contracting with RADD to do some digitization or digital-rescue work for you? Starting this summer, that’s a possibility!

You can download RADD’s current price list for perusal. Because of university rules, RADD offers two prices: one for university or state business, and one for everyone else.

Contact Dorothea Salo (salo at wisc.edu) with potential projects. RADD cannot accept every project—our capacity is limited, and some of it is spoken for—but we are happy to help when we can!

Thank you for making ‘Save our Stuff’ a success!

Last Wednesday, RADD helped several Madison community members digitize and recover content from audio cassette tapes, VHS tapes, and floppy disks, to name a few. Home movies, journal articles, and datasets were recovered and migrated to more accessible digital formats. Dorothea Salo and SLIS Laboratory Library staff were available to assist in the process and answer questions about long-term storage solutions.

IMG_1659IMG_1658We got some great ideas for how to increase RADD’s capabilities during the event, and hope that we can continue to serve the Madison community with their long-term preservation goals.

 

Thank you to all who attended and participated! Hope to see you again soon at RADD!

RADD is free and available to use anytime that the SLIS Laboratory Library is open. All SLIS Library staff have been trained to use RADD, so don’t hesitate to ask if you need help with your project!

Save our stuff! Preservation event Wednesday, April 27

Event: Save Our Stuff: Preserve Memories at the Library
Time: Wednesday, April 27 at 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM in CDT
Locations: SLIS Library – 4191 Helen C. White Hall, 600 N. Park St., Madison WI

Pinney Library – 204 Cottage Grove Road., Madison, WI

RADD is pleased to announce that we will be participating in Preservation Week this year by helping community members ‘rescue’ born-digital data from Zip disks, 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppy disks, Jaz disks, and hard drives. Come to the SLIS Library on Wednesday, April 27 from 4 – 7 PM to receive expert help and advice for recovering files from these material types! Don’t forget to bring a USB stick!

“As technology changes, not everyone has the capacity to update to the latest, greatest device,” said Dorothea Salo, Faculty Associate.  “Whether you have a decade of photos on an old floppy disk or an unfinished novel stored away on an old hard drive in the closet – we can help you get that data off of those devices,” she said.

This is a CONCURRENT EVENT. Staff from the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research will also be helping patrons recover content from A/V formats, such as VHS, mini-DV (camcorder) tapes, and audio cassettes; and provide assistance for home movie film formats such as 8mm, super8, and 16mm. This event will be held at Pinney Library, located on Madison’s East Side.

 

How to digitize a Betamax videocassette

About Betamax

_86606056_img_20151110_102027

Betamax is an analog videocassette recording format developed by Sony and released in Japan in 1975. It was popular in the late 1970s in America, but quickly became obsolete, eventually losing the videotape format war to VHS which was introduced in 1977. Like U-matic, the cassette protected the magnetic tape from damage to exposure.

The Betamax (and Betacam) was a popular method for home and professional recording due to its ability to take long-format videos (2 to 4 hours). It was also more portable than the other primary option at the time, Super 8 mm film.

In 2015, Sony announced that it would no longer produce Betamax video tapes. Due to its inability to compete with VHS and its short retail lifespan, Betamax is a challenging format to preserve – the care and keeping of the format is understudied and the playback machines are not often maintained.

Before you start

  • Make sure the MT-VIKI video switch is switched to the “BETAMAX” option. The video switch should be located close to the video stack.betamax-video-switch
  • Turn the Sony Betamax player on. Make sure your tape is rewound – if not, use the player controls to rewind it.

betamax-player

  • Open the computer application Machina. machina-icon
  • In Machina, navigate to the “Setup” tab and check that the application options are appropriate for your projects. If you’re not sure, the following settings should work for most projects (and should be the default settings in Machina).machina-setup
  • Note the Video and Audio directory in the right-most column – if you want to save to a folder that’s not the default, make sure to change these settings. Do NOT save files to the desktop – you will max out computer space very quickly.

Digitizing in Machina

  1. Navigate to the “Capture” tab in Machina. Edit the clip name and reel name fields to match the title of the video or project you’re digitizing.machina-capture
  2. At the bottom of the screen, click the red button to begin capture. The screen will be blank until you begin playback of the tape in the Sony Betamax player.
    • You may have to start playing the tape first before recording in Machina if you get the error message “No video input is detected.”
  3. When your tape begins to playback, note that the quality of the video will look terrible in Machina – it will look normal in the video file created when you’re finished. Click the button at the bottom again to stop recording.

Post-digitization clean-up

  1. Check the folder you selected to save Machina outputs. You should find two file types for your project – an .avi (video) file and a .wav (sound) file.
  2. Right-click the .avi file to open the file in VirtualDub.VirtualDub1
  3. Before editing the video, go to Audio → “Audio from other file…” and find the .wav file associated with your project. If you edit the video before this step, your image and sound will not sync properly and you’ll have to start over. Save the file and rename the file as something that distinguishes it from the Machina files (i.e. “living-the-story-001-picture-and-sound-FINAL”).
  4. To remove a blue screen or empty space at the beginning and end of your project, go to Edit → “Set selection start” when you have found the beginning of your video by dragging the bar at the bottom through the keyframes. You can eliminate dead space at the end using the same process – Edit → “Set selection end.” Save your file.VirtualDub2
  5. Your final file (video and audio) will be an .avi file. To convert it to something else more standard for burning a DVD copy, use the HandBrake application (instructions on this tool coming soon).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

Troubleshooting

Machina displays the error message “No video input is detected.”
  • Are the cables for the Betamax player and video switch plugged in? Is the video switch toggled to the BETAMAX input?
The video quality is still terrible after digitization!
  • This is harder to fix, because the issues may be the quality of the tape itself. Turn the TBC on when playing the tape in the Sony Betamax player to correct for some of the poor sound and visual quality.

time-base-corrector

How to digitize a U-matic videocassette

About U-matic

250px-U-matic

U-matic refers to an analog video recording cassette format developed by Sony that was used in the early 1970s through the 1980s, until VHS was introduced. It was the first video format that contained videotape within a cassette (instead of exposed film or reel-to-reel magnetic tape). Though the case was meant to protect the integrity of the videotape, the format quality suffers with prolonged friction caused by the spinning video drum in playback machines pressing against the tape, causing wrinkles and playback distortions.

The format itself is also very lossy, as copying video from one videocassette to another compromises playback and creates additional noise, “smeared” colors, and reduced brightness. Time-base correctors (TBCs) minimize some of the loss by synchronizing the video signal as well as minimizing noise. RADD has a time-base corrector that can be used to improve the video quality of poor-quality tapes.

Before you start

  • Make sure the MT-VIKI video switch is switched to the “UMATIC” option. It should be located near the video stack.umatic-video-switch
  • Prepare your U-matic tape in the Sony U-matic videocassette player. Turn the playback machine on, and rewind the tape if necessary. The machine is very loud, don’t be alarmed.sony-umatic-videocassette-player
  • Open the computer application Machina. machina-icon
  • In Machina, navigate to the “Setup” tab and check that the application options are appropriate for your projects. If you’re not sure, the following settings should work for most projects (and should be the default settings in Machina).machina-setup
  • Note the Video and Audio directory in the right-most column – if you want to save to a folder that’s not the default, make sure to change these settings. Do NOT save files to the desktop – it will max out computer space very quickly.

Digitizing in Machina

  1. Navigate to the “Capture” tab in Machina. Edit the clip name and reel name fields to match the title of the video or project you’re digitizing.machina-capture
  2. At the bottom of the screen, click the red button to begin capture. The screen will be blank until you play the U-matic tape in the Sony player.
    • You may have to start playing the tape first before recording in Machina if you get the error message “No video input is detected.”
  3. When your U-matic tape begins to play back, note that the quality of the video will look terrible in Machina – it will look better in the video file created when you’re finished. Click the button at the bottom again to stop recording.
  4. If you can’t see the video at all, turn on the TBC during playback to see if it improves the playback quality.

time-base-corrector

umatic-before-tbcU-matic playback without TBC

umatic-after-tbcU-matic playback after turning on TBC

Post-digitization clean-up

  1. Check the folder you selected to save Machina outputs. You should find two file types for your project – an .avi (video) file and a .wav (sound) file.
  2. Right-click the .avi file to open the file in VirtualDub.VirtualDub1
  3. Before editing the video, go to Audio → “Audio from other file…” and find the .wav file associated with your project. If you edit the video before this step, your image and sound will not sync properly and you’ll have to start over. Save the file and rename the file as something that distinguishes it from the Machina files (i.e. “living-the-story-001-picture-and-sound-FINAL”).
  4. To remove the blue screen at the beginning and end of your project, go to Edit → “Set selection start” when you have found the beginning of your video by dragging the bar at the bottom through the keyframes. You can eliminate dead space at the end using the same process – Edit → “Set selection end.” Save your file.VirtualDub2
  5. Your final file (video and audio) will be an .avi file. To convert it to something more standard for DVD burning, use the HandBrake application (instructions on this tool coming soon).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

Troubleshooting

Machina displays the error message “No video input is detected.”
  • Are the cables for the U-matic player and video switch plugged in? Is the video switch toggled to UMATIC input?
The video quality is still terrible after digitization!
  • This is harder to fix, because the issues may be the quality of the video itself. Turn the TBC on when playing the U-matic in the Sony videocassette player to correct for some of the poor sound and visual quality.

time-base-corrector

RADD at Madison Mini Maker Faire

Mini Maker Faire logo RADD will be in the mix at the inaugural Madison Mini Maker Faire, on Saturday May 14th from 10am to 5pm at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.

We currently (subject to change!) plan to be able to handle onsite:

  • 3.5″ and 5.25″ floppy disks
  • Iomega Zip disks
  • VHS and mini-DV videotapes
  • Standard audiocassette and microcassette tapes

(We can’t bring all of RADD; it wouldn’t fit on the table!)

You are welcome to bring your own materials to test RADD on (no charge). We will also have materials available to demonstrate with. Hope to see you there!

How to digitize a VHS cassette

Before you start

  • Make sure the MT-VIKI video switch is switched to the “VHS” option. The video switch should be located near the video stack.
  • Turn on the Magnavox VCR player, and toggle the switch to VCR input.

magnavox-vcr-dvd-toggle

  • Make sure your VHS is rewound. If not, rewind it in the Magnavox VCR player.

magnavox-vcr-player

  • Open the computer application Machina. machina-icon
  • In Machina, navigate to the “Setup” tab and check that the application options are appropriate for your projects. If you’re not sure, the following settings should work for most projects (and should be the default settings in Machina).machina-setup
  • Note the Video and Audio directory in the right-most column – if you want to save to a folder that’s not the default, make sure to change these settings. Do NOT save work to the desktop – it will max out computer space very quickly.

Digitizing in Machina

  1. Navigate to the “Capture” tab in Machina. Edit the clip name and reel name fields to match the title of the video or project you’re digitizing.machina-capture
  2. At the bottom of the screen, click the red button to begin capture. The screen will be blue until you play the VHS in the VCR player.
    • If you get the error message “No video input is detected,” you  may have to start playback of the VHS before you start your capture in Machina.
  3. When your VHS begins to playback, note that the quality of the video will look terrible in Machina – it will look normal in the video file created when you’re finished. Click the button at the bottom again to stop recording.

machina-capture-2

machina-capture-actual

 

Post-digitization clean-up

  1. Check the folder you selected to save Machina outputs. You should find two file types for your project – an .avi (video) file and a .wav (sound) file.
  2. Right-click the .avi file to open the file in VirtualDub.VirtualDub1
  3. Before editing the video, go to Audio → “Audio from other file…” and find the .wav file associated with your project. If you edit the video before this step, your image and sound will not sync properly and you’ll have to start over. Save the combined sound/video project as an .avi and rename the file as something that distinguishes it from the original files (i.e. “living-the-story-001-PictureandSoundFINAL”).
  4. To remove the blue screen at the beginning and end of your project, go to Edit → “Set selection start” when you have found the beginning of your video by dragging the bar at the bottom through the keyframes. You can eliminate dead space at the end using the same process – Edit → “Set selection end.” Save your file.VirtualDub2
  5. Your final file (video and audio) will be an .avi file. To convert it to something else, use the HandBrake application (instructions on this tool coming soon).

Saving

Do NOT save files to the C:\ or the computer desktop. RADD has a 2TB spinning hard drive (E:\) for temporary file storage. Saving large files anywhere else will max out the computer space very quickly. There is a shortcut on the Desktop to the E:\ drive called “SaveWorkHere.”

If possible, always save your work to your own external hard drive or USB thumb drive, or cloud storage if you have enough space. If you forgot to bring a storage device with you, SLIS Library offers portable hard drives for check-out.

When you’re done

  1. Remove your VHS from the JVC VCR player and take it with you – be kind and rewind if you borrowed it!
  2. Make sure you have all your video files on your USB stick/hard drive. SLIS Library offers portable HDs for personal checkout if you forgot to bring one.
  3. Exit Machina and VirtualDub.