Media Formats

The video components of a media art installation should be collected on accepted archival formats, such as Digital Betacam (also known as DigiBeta or D Beta) or Beta SP. DigiBeta is the recommended acquisition format; it is the primary digital archival format and is considered the best preservation standard by the archival community. Beta SP is a high-quality analog format that is also an acceptable archival format. These archival formats, when stored properly, will ensure the longevity of the work and provide the best quality video image and sound.

In addition to the archival master, which is typically kept in storage, collectors should also acquire an exhibition or reference copy. Reference copies are made on less resilient consumer formats and require less expensive playback equipment. DVD is suitable for reference viewing or for looped exhibition in a gallery space. Hard drive playback is also a viable option for the reference and exhibition of single-channel video if rights are cleared for compression/ digitization. (For a more detailed discussion of hard drive playback, visit Computer-based Arts Equipment & Technical Issues.)

Explanations and recommendations regarding acquisition and exhibition formats are given below. For a more comprehensive discussion of media formats please visit the Acquisition Formats section of the Resource Guide.