Is Your Historic Media Safe?

Lakewood Church in Houston (Pastor Joel Osteen) lost much of their historical video library a few years ago in a fire on the Lakewood campus.  Other major non-profits and media ministries are losing their historical film and video footage to accidents, neglect, and simply time.  Particularly with early 1 and 2 inch reel to reels and ¾ inch cassettes, deterioration happens very easily – especially if you don’t keep the footage in a temperature controlled facility.  I’m not a videotape expert, but I do know
the critical importance of preserving your historical and archival materials for the future.

At Cooke Media Group, we’ve helped a number of clients transfer their archival footage to digital formats for preservation.  At least at the digital level, the chances are far greater that the footage will keep.  And remember – this is footage that you’ve spent  hundreds of thousands (or even millions of dollars) to acquire.  So letting it deteriorate on the shelf in a back room is not only wasteful – it damages your legacy.

For one client we even transferred everything to DVD with a searchable database built around word tags.  So future students and scholars can now search his lifetime of video teaching easily and quickly and find quotes and messages on any number of topics.

But whatever you do, don’t keep putting it off.  You may think the cost is expensive today, but what would the media staff at Joel Osteen Ministries or Lakewood Church  pay today to have those hundreds of burned reels back in their collection?

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  1. I am wondering what to do with all our church media.  My question is this…if I lose all of our "historical" (picnic pictures, video testimonies, old sermon audio) media has the world actually lost anything?

    Has the move of Jesus even been slightly hurt by the loss of Joel's old umatic tapes?  Has a pastor at my church preached something so wonderful that in 20 years someone will say "I lost my salvation because you lost my favorite sermon!"

    I understand Lucas needing to archive his stuff.  He needs to protect his Star Wars investment.  His whole reputation is based off a very small selection of IP.

    Preachers are only as good as the sermon the week before.  They can't really preach them again. (to that church anyway 🙂 )

    The thing with the bible is, it is always fresh and renewing.  New things are always being preached with different and tailored teachings for the exact date and time for a specific audience.

     I have just been personally struggling to find out if its worth saving any media at all past a few years…..not being a biblical teacher, I just might not understand….

  2. I think you're missing the point.  It's not about the material being so great, it's about history.  At the church's 50th anniversary, they'll wish they had your stuff.  Also, when the church or ministry grows, that archival footage and material is really great for fundraising programs, special events, transitions, and anniversaries…  The truth is, when it comes to history and legacy, it's not up to us, it's up to future generations to put a value on it.

  3. This is more vital than most people realize. You don’t need to keep every show or every sermon, but you do need to keep the best and the landmark episodes.

    It is scary how much analog tape is sitting on shelves in ministries around the country.

  4. Hi Phil


    Great stuff.  We're helping one of the largest churches in America with this very situation.  Not only to protect their history, but provide a media strategy for all of their work both historic and current.  It's been an eye opening experience for them and not all of it easy, but it is proving to be incredibly valuable for them.  Thanks for bringing this to light.




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