[Videolib] preservation (as opposed to a delivery) standard

Mark Richie (n2books@frontiernet.net)
Mon, 25 Jun 2007 14:46:56 -0500

Hi Gary et al - I changed the Subject line to reflect the new issue
raised here.

BTW everyone with an interest in digital delivery should read Mark
Kopp's 6/20 post.

Digital preservation is a more fluid problem than MP film, negative and
slide image preservation. Technology extinction and the instability of
physical media become factors. Nobody in the open literature predicted
ten years ago that copies made on CD would degrade due to light
exposure, so which format for preservation is just a piece of the problem.

To be honest, I have no clue what should be the "file format of record."
This was an issue that the NAMTC Working Group on Digital Delivery
Standards should have taken up. Unfortunately the working group was not
continued after 2004. See
http://www.namtc.org/newsletter-file.php?id=12. The full text was
published on the NAMTC web site but is now missing.

I still lean, for reasons that are beyond comprehension, toward MPEG-2.
With a variety of encoding ratios and transmission rates MPEG 2 can code
NTSC video at 3-15 Mbit/s, and HDTV at 15-30 Mbit/s. Audio is available
on a number of tracks and the MPEG-2 codec can handle MPEG-1 for legacy
digital video files as well. Using MPEG-4 as the storage format for
download or streaming motion images is a waste of bandwidth (IMHO) for
reasons explained previously.

In reality, you and I will not solve this. The market place of economic
interest will drive this answer just as VHS drove Betamax out - even
though the later had a technically superior playback image.

Mark Richie
"Professional Iconoclast"

Gary Handman wrote:
> My hero!!!
> Gary
> Mark: what do you think of MPEG-4 (or MPEG-2) as a preservation (as
> opposed to a delivery) standard. I'm currently trying to get my head
> around what to use as a
> "file format of record". We'll probably be streaming out as Windows
> Media (don't get me started...our systems guys are rabidly anti-Mac
> and Real sucks big time; Flash and Java-based encoders/players have
> significant limits...so what can I do? ). I guess we can burn a DVD
> and use that, but that makes me nervous.
> Ideas or thoughts?
> Gary
> At 07:56 PM 6/19/2007, you wrote:
>> Two observations: The notion that a DVD (MPEG-4) file would be used
>> as the basis of a
>> streaming system has been thrown about in this thread several times,
>> to whit:
>> " . . . About that single DVD copy that's
>> being used to make the file for
>> streaming ... "
>> and
>> " . . . . . strip a DVD, dump it on a server and stream
>> for everyone . . . ."
>> Given the incredible compression ratio of MPEG-4 and the bandwidth
>> required to move an MPEG-4 file
>> why would MPEG-4 be the file format of choice for a streaming system?
>> Certainly not for the clarity.
>> Moving and MPEG-4 means streaming a lot of resolution quality that
>> can't be resolved at the
>> user desktop. It will be seen on a computer screen, not an HDTV.
>> Second:
>> This gem has surfaced again, as it has in other threads about
>> streaming and/or digital rights -----
>> " Gary, I have been told by many librarians at
>> the diverse ALAs I went to
>> that they consider that the public performance price
>> is plenty and covers all
>> their streaming rights. If I was a librarian I would
>> certainly want to
>> believe that too. But I'm on the other side of the
>> fence here and my
>> opinion is that a $200 copy does not cover a campus of
>> 10,000 students. . . ."
>> I've been working with digital rights issues since 1999 and I have
>> never heard a reasonable video librarian
>> expect to pay the same for digital rights as a single copy PPR video.
>> On the other hand it is a specious argument to
>> flash the "10,000 student" argument as justification for a per pupil
>> charge or some other exorbitant pricing scheme.
>> First, why can't $200 cover a campus of 10,000 students? Are all
>> 10,000 students going to use the video?
>> Second, this market place has a history of multi-copy discounting and
>> hard copy duplication rights contracts.
>> In a regional media center the purchase of multiple copies or dupe
>> rights of high demand titles drove the
>> "unit" price down, not up.
>> In a university environment one copy may suffice to cover three
>> sections of a specific course offered each semester. Total viewings?
>> What, 35-40 students per section? Perhaps 240 to 300 viewers in six
>> class showings?
>> Now, enter streaming technology. Professor assigns the title to watch
>> as homework. Students stream the title at will (time shift viewing)
>> and watch it at home or in the dorm, or on their iPod, or vPhone et
>> al. Total number of viewers? About 240 to 300.
>> Hmmmmmmmm and for this some distributors suddenly want $2,000 up
>> front for a five year license? And another $2,000 or $3,000
>> to renew? So let's get a grip on reality here. It cost the same per
>> running finished minute to produce a video for release in hard copy
>> as it does for release with streaming rights. The fact that it is
>> available on a university digital server does not mean that suddenly
>> 6,000
>> people are going to want to download the title and keep it for
>> posterity.
>> Educational digital servers are generally password protected and
>> users have to register to gain access to search the catalog of titles.
>> For the convenience of making content available to students and staff
>> 24/7 and for not having to stock two or three hard
>> copies that are subject to damage and loss, yea - that's worth a
>> premium over the cost of two or three hard copies with PPR.
>> But the notion that digital media is so special that we should agree
>> to pay six times the hard copy list price and be expected to pay it
>> again five years later is a disservice to the customer / distributor
>> relationship. It is false economics and false pricing. The value
>> added simply isn't there.
>> Oh, yea - the first counter argument to this is "but our contracts
>> with the producers demand these prices . ." So what. Rewrite the
>> contracts!
>> What? Did you loose a bet and you HAD to accept the contract from the
>> producer with a digital pricing rider that looks
>> like extortion? Ultimately the market place decides what is a fair
>> price. But the buyer side has to get wise to the thinking
>> behind the rates set for digital rights and see them for what they are.
>> Mark Richie
VIDEOLIB is intended to encourage the broad and lively discussion of issues relating to the selection, evaluation, acquisition,bibliographic control, preservation, and use of current and evolving video formats in libraries and related institutions. It is hoped that the list will serve as an effective working tool for video librarians, as well as a channel of communication between libraries,educational institutions, and video producers and distributors.