On the Materiality of the Audio-Visual Heritage

Vinyl Video

The Courettes – Voodoo Doll
recorded on VinylVideo, an audio-visual phonograph record


At Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola in Donostia (San Sebastián), Spain, from 17 to 20 October 2023 and on 30 November 2023 12 January 2024.

Table of Contents


How has sound and image been recorded and reproduced? We will explore the various approaches that have been undertaken during the one and a half past centuries and discuss why some succeeded and others did not. Understanding the original processes is the foundation not only for conservation but also for successful modern restorations.

This class is a technical history of both the sound and the moving image record and their reproduction. The acoustic, electrical, magnetic and digital era are considered for sound; the photographic, mechanical, magnetic and digital era for moving images. Not only the current archival media (radio, film, television and video) are explored, but also computers, video games and even space exploration.

The lecturer is Reto Kromer.


Tuesday 17th October

  • Organisation (PDF, 151 KB)
  • Exercise #1 (PDF, 124 KB)
  • Analogue Sound (PDF, 161 KB)
  • Analogue Film: Materials, Formats and Processes (PDF, 3.8 MB)

Wednesday 18th October

  • Analogue Television and Video (PDF, 8.3 MB)
  • Exercise #2: Production Routes (PDF, 256 KB)

Thursday 19th October

  • Hybrid Cinema: from Analogue to Digital (PDF, 145 KB)
  • On Audio-Visual File Formats (PDF, 6.2 MB)
  • Exercise #3: A Quiz on Audio-Visual File Formats (PDF, 63 KB)

Friday 20th October

  • Case Study: Image Based Digital Restoration of Optical Soundtracks (PDF, 1.7 MB)
  • Exercise #4: Identification of audio-visual objects
  • Answers to the Quiz on Audio-Visual File Formats (PDF, 45 KB)

Thursday 30th November Friday 12th January 2024 (poster presentations)

  • Alejandro Martos: aerochrome
  • Ana Karina de Fátima Barandiarán: Kodak Instamatic
  • Andrea Warszatska: Nintendo Game Boy
  • Camila Aboitiz: EVR (Electronic Video Recording)
  • Claire Mullen: DAT
  • Elvira Arbós: Cartrivision
  • Flavia Contreras: Video8
  • Francisco Armenteros: Debrie Sept (35 mm film camera)
  • Isabela Mouradian: orthochromatic photography
  • Júlia Izaguirre: Compact Cassette
  • Leonardo Suarez: VHS
  • Lucia Feuillet: Hi8
  • Luis Alberto Juárez: Cinecolor (two-colour subtractive process)
  • Luiza Rosado: U-matic
  • Marga Almirall: Movie Viewer (Super 8)
  • María Victoria Moreno: MP3


Media Handling

Sound Identification

Film Identification

Video Identification

  • Videotape Identification and Assessment Guide. Texas Commission on the Arts, Austin TX 2004 (PDF, 12.4 MB)
  • AV Artifact Atlas – A resource for identifying errors and anomalies in analog and digital video.


  • Dominic Case: Film Technology in Post Production. Second Edition, Focal Press, Oxford 2001
    [Spanish translation: Nuevas Tecnologias aplicadas a la post producción cinematográfica, Escuela de cine y vídeo, Andoain 2003]
  • Paul Read: “A Short History of Cinema Film Post-Production”, in Joachim Polzer (ed.): Zur Geschichte des Kopierwerks (= Weltwunder der Kinematographie, n. 8), 2006, p. 41–132
  • Diana Weynand and Vance Piccin with Marcus Weise: How Video Works. From Broadcast to the Cloud. Third Edition, Focal Press, New York NY and Oxon 2016
  • Ray Edmondson: Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles. 3rd Edition, Unesco, Paris 2016
    [Spanish translation: Archivos audiovisuales: filosofía y principos, 2018]
    [Portuguese translation: Arquivística audiovisual: filosofia e princípios, 2017]
  • Agathe Jarczyk, Reto Kromer, Yves Niederhäuser and David Pfluger: Digital Archiving of Film and Video: Principles and Guidance, Version 1.2, Memoriav, Bern 2019
  • Reto Kromer: “On the Bright Side of Data Migrations”, in IASA Journal, n. 49 (December 2018)
  • Reto Kromer: “Matroska and FFV1: One File Format for Film and Video Archiving?”, in Journal of Film Preservation, n. 96 (April 2017)
  • Trevor Owens: The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore MD 2018
    [Spanish translation: La teoría y el oficio de la preservación digital, UNAM-IIB, México 2023]