Skip to main content

Irish Audio Visual Archive

Focus on DkIT-RDC Client, Irish Audio Visual Archive

Founded by:  Sarah McCann
Supports: New Frontiers, Innovation Voucher, Incubation, Student Placements, Student - Employees

Irish Audio Visual Archive DkIT Case Study

Irish Audio Visual Archive founder Sarah McCann .

Sarah McCann initially worked for a number of years as a production co-ordinator and production manager on short films and documentaries for Irish and UK broadcasters and funders, including a BAFTA award-winning animation, before starting to create her own TV and Radio documentaries.

She lectured in media production in Dundalk Institute of Technology and was also Head of Section of Creative Media before taking a career break to start her own production company, Little Road Productions.

The Birth of Irish Audio Visual Archive

It was from her difficulty in sourcing audio and video archive material for her radio and TV productions that the idea for Irish Audio Visual Archive was born. Sarah identified a gap in the market in terms of both the methods used to source audio and video archive for use in media production (to include TV, Film, Radio, Web, Mobile) and also the availability of such archive to be licensed for use in media productions across these platforms.

Due the demise of both film and analogue tape based formats for shooting/recording, a wealth of audio and video archive exists in both organisational and private collections not only nationally but internationally, which has not yet been digitised and made available to be licensed for use in current media productions. These formats include, but are not limited to, 8mm, 16mm, Super 16mm and 35mm motion picture film, along with analogue video tape formats such as Umatic, VHS, Betacam and Beta SP, and quarter-inch audio recording tape.

This has been recognised globally as an issue with UNESCO declaring a World Audio Visual Heritage Day every Oct 27th since 2005 to raise awareness of the significance of and preservation risks to the cultural worth of audiovisual material. Furthermore, film and analogue storage mediums degrade over time and also pose significant Health & Safety risks in terms of the combustibility of this material.

Sarah identified that no online archive exists that showcases solely Irish audiovisual archive material and allows it to be licensed for use by independent media production companies. Instead, Media Producers generally use online platforms of UK/EU/USA based archive companies which contain minimal Irish content.

Support and Assistance from the RDC at DkIT

Availing of Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Voucher scheme in conjunction with DkIT, Sarah set about to develop and test best practice methods and workflows for the digitizing and capture of this archive video and audio material for use in a commercial online archive.

While the technical aspects of the project were in motion Sarah participated in the New Frontiers Entrepreneur Development Programme in conjunction with DkIT in 2017 to help structure and validate the business opportunity. She also took an office in the RDC Incubation centre to help drive the business forward and avail of the mentoring and advise the centre has to offer.

Having access to student placements was another of the supports of which Irish Audio Visual Archive availed and students from business and media disciplines joined the team gaining excellent experience while at the same time helping the business grow. With such strong links to DkIT it is not surprising that the company’s first employees are also graduates of the Institute.

Let's Work Together

  • Neil McLoughlin
  • Technology Transfer Manager