Lakewood Church in Houston (Pastor Joel Osteen) lost much of their historical video library 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, ¾ inch cassettes, and Beta SP tapes, 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 online with a searchable database built around tags. As a result, 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?