Budgeting for the acquisition of single-channel video works involves a number of considerations. Costs of video artworks vary based on certain factors, including the format that you are acquiring (Beta SP or Digital Beta, for example), your intended use or context (educational institution, museum, private collection), and whether you are purchasing an unlimited edition from a distributor or a limited edition from a gallery. Other budget items include the cost of appropriate playback and display equipment, securing adequate storage facilities, and technical maintenance. The preservation of single-channel video works should also be addressed at the time of acquisition to ensure the future viability and accessibility of the works in your collection.
The following provides information on budgeting for single-channel video acquisition. The Preservation section of this guide addresses single-channel video preservation costs.
Acquisition fees for single-channel video works vary widely, depending on a range of factors. These may include the source of the artworks (distributor or gallery), whether they are editioned or uneditioned, what format you acquire, the terms and rights being acquired, and the nature of the collection (educational institution, museum, library, private collection).
Uneditioned video works, available through a distributor, are offered for a range of fees that follow a standardized price structure typically based on duration and format. For example, works on archival formats such as Digital Beta, which may be offered with extended rights to migrate to other formats, cost more than a reference copy on DVD that is intended for educational use. (At EAI, for example, educational DVDs may cost $300, while archival Digital Betas may range from $1,400 to $2,250.)
Fees for single-channel video works that are sold as limited editions through a gallery vary greatly. These fees are based on the size of the edition and the work's market value.
Exhibition & Reference Copies
Reference or exhibition copies are made on non-archival formats (such as DVD), which require less expensive playback equipment than archival formats and can be programmed to loop in a gallery setting. Rights to reproduce media works are specific to each acquisition license agreement or contract. Archival format purchases, such as Digital Betacam, may include extended rights to create in-house reference and exhibition copies. Purchases made through a gallery should include the archival acquisition format as well as a reference copy for viewing and exhibition.
If your purchase contract permits you to create reference or exhibition copies, find a reliable technical facility. Media duplication and transfer houses typically charge an hourly rate based on the source and destination format. Be sure to review this process with the artist or representative from whom you are purchasing the work. There may be a specific duplication house or encoding process recommended or an archival master available expressly for creating exhibition copies.
Institutions and other collectors are typically responsible for all shipping costs related to receiving single-channel video works. Video works are typically inexpensive to ship and do not require the same extensive crating and art handling common to work in other mediums. (Rush shipping, of course, will increase costs considerably.)
Single-channel video work requires the appropriate playback equipment (for example, a professional DVD, Beta SP or DigiBeta player), display device (a presentation monitor, plasma or LCD flat screen, or projector and projection surface), audio equipment (amplifier and speakers, or headphones), and cables and connectors. The specific playback and display equipment required to show the video works in your collection depends on the exhibition formats (such as DVD) to be shown. Playback equipment for archival formats (such as DigiBeta or Beta SP) can be quite expensive and as archival works are typically kept in storage, it is not always necessary for collectors to acquire this industry-level equipment.
Visit Equipment & Technical Issues for detailed recommendations on this subject.
Cataloguing & Storage
Depending on the size and mission of your collection, you may already have a collection management database system in place. However, many of these systems do not sufficiently address the registration nuances associated with media artworks, which are reproducible and variable. You may need to commit financial resources to customizing an existing collection management system or to purchasing a database that can accommodate moving image media materials. IMAP (Independent Media Arts Preservation) has produced an affordable, user-friendly and customizable collection management database in Filemaker Pro that may be used for cataloguing single-channel video works.
It is crucial to account for storage costs. Your budget should include the cost of providing a dust-free, temperature- and humidity-controlled environment, as well as adequate metal shelving. If your budget permits it, you should seriously consider a professional archival media storage facility, which charges a monthly fee.
The Preservation section of this Resource Guide provides comprehensive Best Practices for media storage as well as recommendations for collections that may not be able to afford optimum storage environments.
Maintenance & Preservation
Anticipating the preservation needs of the single-channel video works in your collection is an important part of any acquisition budget. The Preservation section of this guide identifies the costs related to the maintenance and conservation of single-channel video works.