On Audio-Visual File Formats

The workshop Restoration Asia II was held on the 24th of April 2015 at the Cinematheque, National Museum of Singapore, during the 19th SEAPAVAA conference Advocate, Connect, Engage.


The presentation will take us on a journey into some of the science behind digital. We start with some fundamentals on digital audio and digital video (container, codec, raw data). Then we will delve into examining different formats for different purposes (preservation master, mezzanine and dissemination formats). We will see how to choose the file formats that best fits a given concrete situation, and how to manage them over a long period of time in the real world.


The presentation’s slides (PDF, 2 MB) with the following notes … illustrating the slides:

  1. Digital Audio
  2. Digital Video
  3. File Structure
  4. File Formats
  5. File Transformations


Having graduated in mathematics and computer science, Reto Kromer became involved in audio-visual conservation and restoration as early as 1986. From 1998 to 2003 he was head of preservation at the Swiss National Film Archive. Since 2004 he has been running his own preservation company, AV Preservation by reto.ch. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Lausanne, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, and serving as a Director of the Board for AMIA.