Thursday, March 19, 2009

ARCHIVING VIDEO FOR POSTERITY

I hear with much dismay and shock a rumor that said RTM is destroying their old video archives for various reasons including the videotapes are fungus ridden and also because of space constraints.
If this is true, it is a sad day for all broadcasters and filmmakers who have made a living for the past 40 years in RTM. If their products, which were archived, are destroyed, there will be no trace left of their contribution to the industry.
I have given my own concerns to RTM about this matter a few times.
I believe archival material to be considered as heritage - a valuable one at that.
BBC and other TV stations put billion-dollar value to their archives. For example, Shaw Brothers archive was sold for millions to a company called Celestial Pictures, a company believed to be part of Tan Sri Ananda's vast media empire.
Imagine news archive, drama archives of popular 70s programmes, musicals programmes, interviews and other materials - all of them somewhere in RTM's vast video vault. Imagine the value of this archive. Yet, no one knows how to exploit them at all.
The problem may also lie in the video format. Video recording began as 2 inch C or B video formats, and then went smaller with the advent of the 3/4 inch Umatic format which was upgraded to the HiBand format. And then came the Beta SP mode which lasted quite sometime until digital Beta arrived. Now, video has gone leaps and bounds with true HD technology including Blue Ray disc recording technology. Also I must not forget to mention the vast productions done on 16mm celluloid well before video technology became affordable to producers.
The machines that play back these formats may be obsolete, but this is no excuse to destroy the materials. RTM should have these old playback machines up and running and transfer all the old archived materials into digital format - tape, optical or harddisk. These digital formats do not self destruct easily, have long shelf life and hardly takes any space.
Once digitised, once the video images data are embedded, searching for videos and images are just a click away from a computer console.
Once that is done, the archives has value - you can resell the stuff - to universities doing research, to private sector who needs various images and for themselves by reediting old materials and releasing it to the open market. For example, I am sure thousands will buy a special edition of Sudirman's appearances on RTM's programmes. I am also sure there are many fans of old TV hits like my TV series Gado Gado.
Furthermore, by doing these, the producers will be earning royalty from past works (that is if RTM feels it is morally right to pay producers for programmes they resell to ancillary markets). However, the ultimate reason for doing so, is that the videos and images are there for all time.
If the Information Minister reads this post, I do hope he takes measures to prevent this from happening. If RTM doesn't want the old video tapes, I do....give it to me. For RM1, the price of what a foreign firm paid for Lotus to Proton, I will take all the video tapes RTM doesn't want. I know what to do with them.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice post...yeah i like gado-gado too...

Maya said...

Kalau RTM Tak Nak hihihi Maya Nak!! Jangan dimusnahkannya.Jika benar spt yg dikabarkan akan berlaku, Maya sedih. Maya sendiri amat teringin menonton rancangan hiburan terbitan tahun 70an spt Bakat TV, Aslirama dan Maya baca dalam buku Drama Melayu Televisyen Malaysia - Satu Penilaian Perkembangan dan Peranan yang ditulis oleh Said Halim Said Nong, terdapat 533 judul drama diterbitkan dan disiarkan oleh RTM antara tahun 1964 hingga 1983.Apakah semuanya akan hilang? Sejujurnya Maya teringin nak menonton drama Anak Kerbau, Kerbau Mati Anak, Uda dan Dara, Potret Pekerti dll. Maya lihat sekarang ada slot Retro yg menyiarkan semula drama siri McGyver jadi kenapa tidak disiarkan drama kita? apakah tiada usaha untuk menyelamatkan dan membaik-pulih?

Radhika said...

Dear Mr.Anwardi,

I had gone through your posts and they are all really interesting reads. I came to your blog, searching for your dad. My grand dad (Late Mr.S.Ramanathan) and your dad had worked together in Shaw Brothers during the 50s. My mom has been trying to reach your dad. The old number is not working now. And she has now sent a letter to probably an old address. It would be great if you can mail us from your email to keep in touch. We would love to keep in touch with the nostalgic past. My email: s.radhika@gmail.com

And yes, as you have rightly mentioned on this post, there are people like us who love to treasure the old archives. It is so sad that they are even thinking of destroying these valuable old memories.

Will mail more details once I see your email. An honor to see you here.

Regards
Radhika

Anonymous said...

I support you...Drama Minggu Ini di Tv1 pada awal 80an dulu semuanya adalah klasik dan barang yang bernilai...

Anonymous said...

I think I heard theres a plan for gado-gado the Movie?

rizal hashim said...

Dear Abang Didi,

Don't forget all those football matches in the 60s and 70s! I wrote several articles on educating today's generation of athletes by showing them old footages of the older generations during prime time TV, now at least they show the Merdeka Tournament of old but we as a people do not have a culture for proper maintenance and archiving! And the next generation would be poorer for it!

zubin said...

wow disamping mendokumentasi, boleh juga buat duit, kalau bukan skrang, ia akan menjadi satu investment, habuan masa depan.

Nak tanya pasal Creative Industries, then

Nak tanya pasal filem Raja Bersiong dan skripnya

anwardi said...

Archival material is a treasure trove. Kalau orang kita tak faham faham lagi, I really don't know what to do...as it is, I think since the closure of Merdeka Studios and the beginning of independent film companies like Sabah Films, there has been more than 300 movies produced...are all these movies being archived, or left to rot in dustbins somewhere? Every producer should be made to send a copy of their films to the National Archive to be kept for future generations to enjoy. I don't care if it's a Razak Maidin movie or a Z. Lokman masterpiece, it is still a national treasure.

Ehsan Ismail said...

Hairan, kenapakah khazanah negara di buang begitu saja.

Saya di besarkan dengan perkembangan RTM. Zaman remaja akhir 70an. Teringat bola sepak mokhtar dahari, teringat drama opah, teringat rancangan Perisitiwa dll.

British sangat menitikberatkan filem lama. Bayangkan dalam youtube saya boleh jumpa footbal match liverpool dll di England sekitar tahun 1903 - 1905.

Ini semua penting untuk generasi akan datang...

Hairan.....

karl pilkington said...

Hi saudara, saya dari Singapura. Saya sudah lama mencari Gado Gado dalam format vcd (jangan harap dapat dvd) tapi amat susah. Saya pernah ade VHS tape dari tahun 1992 yang dah banyak fungus yang pernah saya convert dalam tahun 2006.

Ini usaha saya untuk mencari sesiapa yang boleh menolong saya untuk melihat Gado Gado semula kerana Gado Gado benar benar meninggalkan kesan pada saya.

Saya telah pun upload 2 video yang dapat saya salvage dari tape yang bercendawan tu.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPpijKuzNg0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ochTqDAhRDQ

Harap saudara dapat menolong saya atau menunjukkan saya cara mendapat kan Gado Gado dalam ape format sekalipun.

Oleh kerana saya orang Singapura, saya tak dapat Astro. Harap dapat balas kepada gmail saya. Terima kasih.

anwardi said...

Karl,
Terima kasih kerana telah minat dengan karya Gado Gado saya. Siri itu kini adalah dalam tangan RTM tetapi penerbitnya telah mencincang rancangan itu dan menjual beberapa episode dari siri asal ke Astro dan melalui penayangan Gado Gado kali kedua itu melalui Astro ramai yang terusik geli kerana teringat betapa 'kelakar'nya rancangan itu. Saya sendiri tiada salinan tapi masih menanti tayangan di Astro supaya boleh merakam dan simpan untuk posterity.