September 21, 2006 found the SMPTE DC Section meeting at the headquarters of the National Geographic Society for a presentation on the digital archiving system built and operated by the Society's Digital Media Group. The system is overseen by A. Cody Claxton, the DMG's Director of Video and Archive Technology, who presented an overview of the system architecture followed by tours of the installation.

The DMG archiving system consists of several user workstations for ingest, clip review and output, connected to an SGI disk storage array for 'nearline' access and a Sony Petasite as the long-term data tape archive. Servers and software from VideoBank operate the database which controls input and output operations, tracks video files and metadata, and provides web proxies for customer viewing.

Archival tapes in various analog and digital formats, both original sources and program masters, are ingested and simultaneously converted into multiple digital file formats for use in-house and via the internet. Various compressed and uncompressed formats are used for viewing and delivery of footage to NGS departments and stock-footage customers. The DMG archiving system currently operates in standard definition, with HD coming online in early 2007.

Following the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to tour the facilities and discuss further issues about system design and operations with Cody and NGS staffer Scott Galczynski, as well as Lou Siracuson, Jr. and Tamas Nagy of VideoBank.

Many thanks are extended to National Geographic for their hospitality and to VideoBank for sponsoring the excellent refreshments.

-Eric Wenocur, Section Manager and Program Chair

Cody Claxton discusses the NGS archive system with CEI's Ken Miller                      

NGS and VideoBank staff with SMPTE attendees (Ken Miller, Cody Claxton, Lou Siracuson, Scott Galczynski, Tamas Nagy)