Quality Control

Be prepared to dedicate a large amount time to quality control, which can sometimes take longer than a tape's actual running time. If you outsource the work, keep in mind that although it is standard for a lab to conduct quality control, it is important to perform your own quality control. Here are things to keep in mind when you receive tapes from a vendor:

· You must check the image quality of the new master, the back-up master, and access copies by playing each tape back on equipment that is well maintained.

· Ideally, during the migrating process, the transfer should be observed in real time as well as during the quality-control stage. This will enable the screener to identify potential errors or glitches in the transfer process immediately.

· If you are limited by time and finances, you can spot-check each tape at the head, middle and tail, but this is not best practice.

· In order to ensure that the preservation master maintains the visual and aural integrity of the original tape, check the color bars on a calibrated monitor and confirm that audio levels are properly adjusted for reference.

· Record quality control observations in the catalog and, if possible, refer to the tape's timecode and document the precise time when problems occur.

· Keep track of the vendor's observations. The vendor should explain how the tape was transferred, if difficulties arose, and what the image looked like at the time of transfer.

· Preferably, engineers provide technical notes on the transfer process; these notes should be transcribed in the catalog.

· Document specific information about the transfer, including the date and location, the name of the engineer, and any changes that might have occurred during the process.

· If possible, play the work for the artist against the original on two identically calibrated monitors and check that the chrominance and luminance levels are correct.

· If this is the first time you have seen the content of the tape it is be useful to catalog the image content as well, using a screening copy.