Montreux Jazz Festival
Digital Archive Project
The Montreux Jazz Festival library is the largest testimony of live music recorded at the same place (more than 4’000 bands played in Montreux), both in audio and video, for the past 40 years resulting in 10’000 recording tapes. Despite the use of the best state of the art technologies at the time of each recording, there is urgency for their safeguard. On the one hand, the life of the recording media used for storage is arriving to an end, on the other hand, equipments needed for their playback are disappearing.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) hosts one of the most renowned and largest centers of excellence in digital media processing thanks to a strong team of faculty members and researchers behind many pioneering technologies in use in today’s professional as well as consumer digital media products.
EPFL and Montreux Sounds SA have therefore joined forces to create a unique and first of a kind, high resolution digital archive of the Montreux Jazz Festivals, with EPFL as exclusive licensee for scientific research and educational use. The goal of this ambitious project foreseen for 42 months from April 1st, 2008 to September 30th, 2011, is to exploit the know-how and expertise of EPFL for creation of the most technologically advanced high resolution digital media archive ever produced, and doing so to set the ground for conception of novel and advanced technologies for tomorrow’s digital media, hence maintaining a key know-how in a strategically important field in science, education and economy.
Key potential impacts of the project beside the safeguard of a valuable regional and international heritage will be a unique know-how in the field of media technologies, and an impact on the local economy through creation of spin-off companies.
During the celebration of the 40th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival last year, founder Claude Nobs underlined the urgency of properly preserving the 40 years’ worth of Festival material that has accumulated since its conception. EPFL hosts one of the most renowned and largest centers of excellence in digital media processing thanks to a strong team of faculty members and researchers behind many pioneering technologies in use in today’s professional as well as consumer digital media products.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Montreux Sounds SA have decided to join forces to create a unique and first of a kind, high resolution digital archive of the Montreux Jazz Festivals. The goal of this ambitious project is, on the one hand, to exploit the know-how and expertise of EPFL to create the most technologically advanced high resolution digital media archive ever produced, and on the other hand, to take this opportunity to set the ground for conception of novel and advanced technologies for tomorrow’s digital media.
Because of the magnitude and the diversity of media involved, such an archive will require peta-byte class storage systems (1 peta bytes = 1’000’000 giga bytes) and involves expertise in the following areas: signal processing, image and video processing, compression, video analysis and annotation, audiovisual content enhancement, visualization, man-machine interface, transmission, and media security.
Several professors and laboratories at EPFL together with their researchers, doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students, will be involved in this project during the next few years. In addition to scientific, technological and educational impacts of such an endeavor, development of this archive will enable a reliable, long lasting, secured, and seamless access to a true and unique cultural resource for both professional and educational purposes, ensuring that the Montreux Jazz Festival, Claude Nobs’ lifetime achievement, and its rich history remain an important part of our regional identity for generations to come. At the same time, the result of the project will help in creating a center of excellence and know-how in advanced multimedia digital archives and enable creation of specialized companies and spin-offs that will apply the results to other similar audiovisual archives.
This project will have a number of important impacts.
The following highlights some of the most important ones.
SAFEGUARD OF MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVALS RECORDINGS
Over 40 years of recording of Montreux Jazz Festivals constitute a unique and invaluable resource of the history of music which is not only an important treasure for the region, but also for the entire world. Preservation and proper access to this collection is a very important outcome of this project, especially when considering that the current archive has a limited life span and will deteriorate rapidly.
KNOW-HOW IN ADVANCED TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS FOR PRESERVATION OF AUDIOVISUAL ARCHIVES
The mere possibility to take up such a challenge will allow EPFL to undertake and to create a unique know-how in a key area of media technology. This would put EPFL and Swiss research in a leading position for a key concern, namely, the technologies and process necessary for the preservation of audiovisual archives. The same technologies and know-how can then be applied to the preservation of the ever growing archives of other types of multimedia content produced by event organizers, broadcasters, and content creators to mention a few.
CREATION OF SPIN-OFF COMPANIES SPECIALIZED IN THE FIELD OF MULTIMEDIA ARCHIVAL
As a main result of the project, a special attention will be devoted to transfer of technologies produced by the project to the industry and business world with the creation of new spin-off companies. The impact on the economy, given the growing needs for preservation of audiovisual archives will be non-negligible.
STIMULATING TOPIC TO FURTHER RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
EPFL as a leading center of technology and research can make use of such a project to stimulate multidisciplinary and federating research. This would not only contribute in the advancement of excellence in research in EPFL, but will further the state of the art in an important field. It would allow to attract high potential students and to train them as architects of the future media. Once such an archive is available, together with the annotation, search and retrieval possibilities, and facilitated access to the content, this would also open the door to research in other non-technical fields such as humanities, sociology, and musicology.