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SMPL commences EIAJ-1 Restoration Project



Sony AV-3650 1/2" EIAJ-1 Videotape Recorder (c. 1970)

In 1970, the emergence of a standardized 1/2" video format changed the landscape for documentarians, visual artists, educational institutions and home video enthusiasts. EIAJ-1 would become the first and most widely used non-broadcast video format across the world.

In August of this year, the Stanford Media Preservation Lab was awarded $7600 in special funding through The Payson J. Treat Fund for Library Program Development and Research. Over the next several months, the video lab will engage Ken Zin, a Bay Area video engineer and video restoration specialist for the NASA Lunar Orbiter Recovery Project, in an effort to restore and optimize a ½” EIAJ-1 video tape machine and other necessary components for use in digitizing video materials from Stanford University Library collections, including the R. Buckminster Fuller Papers, the Philip G. Zimbardo Papers and many others. ThPhotobuckete addition of EIAJ-1 playback capability will enable SMPL to handle this nearly extinct video format in-house, reducing the cost of outsourcing and providing on-demand access to previously unavailable content. Along with digitizing some of the libraries’ most at-risk collections, the project will promote acquisition of new collections containing ½” video recordings.

We’ll be documenting our progress throughout the project in the news blog.

by Michael Angeletti

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March 9, 2016