In March of 2012, Crawford LIFT was approached by a company in Mexico to provide digital migration services for Canal 22, Mexico’s national educational channel, which is operated by Mexico’s cultural agency, Conaculta. The project was to digitize 29,000 videotapes totaling 15,000 hours of content for preservation and broadcast by Canal 22. All work was to be done on-site in Mexico City.
Because it was an election year for Mexico, there would be a regime change on December 1. Therefore, all work was to be at a billable stage by November 1, 2012, before the regime change, or it would not be possible to receive payment. This would have been an ambitious schedule given the makeshift office environment provided in Mexico City, the need to design, acquire, ship and deal with customs, then train a crew in Mexico. Months went by with no approval and we had decided that the project was gone.
Then, with no warning, we were given the go ahead to proceed in August 2012. We lost five months of prep and production time with no change to the deadline for completion. An eight-month digital migration project had become a three-month project. With the new compressed timeline our original production design was useless. A new design with greater throughput would be necessary if we were to have any chance of meeting the deadline.
In a matter of hours, we had designed an infrastructure with 32 encode streams, 8 ingest stations, 2 QC stations, a 10 Gbps network, and 120 TB NAS storage along with UPS power and signal cabling. The equipment was purchased, packed and shipped on a carnet in less than two weeks. Once the equipment cleared customs our project managers and engineers met the shipment in Mexico City where they unpacked and built the system in two days. Our project managers trained the local resident crew of over 60 digital migrators, who worked around the clock to meet the deadline. From bare office space to 29,000 digitized videotapes in Mexico City in 60 days illustrates our ability to quickly scale operations in an effort to meet any project timeline.