BAVC Media Announces the 2024 Preservation Access Program

Published On: February 21, 2024 |

Through the Preservation Access Program (PAP), BAVC Media proudly provides museum-quality transfers and preservation services at a reduced rate. Interested in participating in this round of the Preservation Access Program? Fill out the application, the deadline for submitting is Thursday, March 7th, 2024. We’ll be holding a virtual informational event on February 28th, 2024 at 10am PST on Zoom to discuss the program, application tips, and preservation techniques. Sign up here to attend.

History of Media Preservation at BAVC Media

Since 1994, BAVC Media has served as the nation’s hub for the preservation of culturally significant and community-based media, ensuring the survival of (and continued access to) video art, independently produced media and video documentation of cultural and political events since the late 1960s. BAVC Media rigorously maintains and upgrades obsolete post-production equipment in our dedicated preservation lab to best serve the unique preservation needs of the organizations that hold our national audiovisual heritage.

BAVC Media’s Preservation Department works with museums, artists, and cultural institutions around the world to transfer and archive seminal creative and historical works on video and audio tape.

With generous funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, BAVC Media will be offering a discount of up to 50% for tape-to-file video preservation transfer services to individual artists and small-to-medium-sized arts and cultural heritage organizations. Services provided to Preservation Access Program (PAP) participants include analog-to-digital preservation transfers at a discounted rate based on organizational budget size. This initiative has proven to be a boon for those histories that are at the highest risk of being erased. 

Successful applicants in the past represent a wide variety of disciplines – individual artists, libraries, museums, historical societies, performing arts organizations, and filmmakers working with archival materials have all utilized PAP for their audiovisual collections. As a result, we accept a similarly broad variety of media formats – VHS, Umatic, Hi8, DV, 1-inch and ½-inch open reel, Betacam/DigiBeta, ¼” audio, and audiocassette are all transferred here at BAVC Media. Former participants include the GLBT Historical Society, EastSide Arts Alliance, Creativity Explored, Susan Milano, Trinh T. Minh-ha, among many others.

Each application to PAP undergoes a review by a selection panel of impartial members of the arts, media, and archiving communities. Applications are considered under a framework of criteria, the best of which are selected due to their strength across the board. These criteria include:

Content held on formats at the highest risk of deterioration

Not all magnetic media are alike, and some formats are particularly susceptible to deterioration due to their age or formulation. For instance, 1/2-inch open reel and Umatic 3/4-inch tapes are some of the oldest magnetic formats, with formulations that break down over time. Furthermore, some formats such as VHS or the aforementioned 1/2-inch open reel were common outside broadcast applications, and as a result are unlikely to have any backups. These are the format-specific considerations for each application to PAP.

Collections held by individuals or small organizations with small operating budgets

We encourage as many applications as possible, to ensure a wide variety of collections from which to choose. But we prioritize those collections from individuals and organizations that are most in need of the financial assistance provided by this grant. 

Ability to identify a concise collection of priority tapes (~30 tapes or less)

In order to award as many projects as possible, each application is limited to a project of no more than 30 tapes. Successful applications will have a clear and detailed inventory of priority tapes. Conversely, we prioritize projects that have more than just a few tapes.

Collections that make a strong argument for artistic and/or cultural value

Those of us at BAVC Preservation are experts in our field, but it’s important that we share the selection process with a diverse group of artists, mediamakers, and community members. This is a qualitative assessment of cultural impact and reach. Particular emphasis is placed on collections from communities that are underrepresented.

Collections that have clear strategies for access and long-term storage

Prioritization is given to applications that illustrate a robust plan for access and/or distribution. This could be uploading content for streaming, inclusion in a broader work like a documentary, or plans for community screening. We make exceptions for collections of particular sensitivity, but ultimately want the work of preservation to reach an audience. Furthermore, applicants should have a clear strategy for long-term storage, to ensure their content isn’t lost. This includes a plan for digital backups on multiple hard drives in different geographic locations.

If you have questions, BAVC Media will be holding a virtual informational event on February 28th, 2024 at 10am PST on Zoom to discuss the program, application tips, and preservation techniques.

Sign up here →

If you can’t make it to the info session and have any questions about the application, feel free to reach out to us directly at

This is all thanks to generous grants from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). NEA funding also supports BAVC Media’s efforts to advance audiovisual preservation practice, theory, and accessibility based on new and innovative developments in the field.


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