Path of Restoration

The Shambhala Archives has over 50,000 photographs of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other great dharma teachers, as well as photographic records of community history such as the renovations of the Boulder and Halifax Centres, the establishment of the original Maitri Farm, Karme Choling (ToT), Shambhala Mountain Centre (RMDC) and Dechen Choling, the students of Vidya and Alaya schools, and many more. Over 70% of these have been digitized and entered into our Museum database in the past few years, with the help of staff and students. There is so much more to do, with many new photos arriving to document more recent events.


Digitizing The Dharma

To preserve the dharma and to make it available, digital records are essential. We have digitized almost 3,000 audio files of talks by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Our target is to complete the digitization of the Vidyadhara’s video in our collection. This totals 235 tapes that vary in length from twenty minutes to two hours each.

The material includes a Shambhala Training Level Five program from Boulder, 1980, which requires restoration work as well as transfer; Videos of the only Chakrasamvara Abhisheka conducted by the Vidyadhara, including his tri; early Vajrayogini fiire pujas attended by the Vidyadhara and a number of the early black and white seminars from Naropa, Shambhala Mountain Center and other locations.

Audio Recovery Project

Project History
written by Cynthia L. Cochran, May 1, 2006
photographs taken 2007-2008

The ARP was first proposed in 1996. The equipment and methodologies employed have evolved over the subsequent nine years as technological advances offered better solutions. All aspects of the digitization process have been, and continue to be, handled by SA staff, utilizing equipment purchased and funded by SA. Over these ten years, project protocols have included the use of a Sony PCM digital audiotape recorder to digitize and record to VHS videotapes; migrating to new analog reels and type IV metal cassette tapes; digitizing and recording to audio CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, and to hard drives, configured in a redundant array of inexpensive discs (RAID), which provide two terabytes of storage on a computer server (Levy, email to author, 24 April 2006). Read more about the Audio Recovery Project here.

Audio Recovery Project Honoured with Award

002_004Carman Carroll, retired NS Provincial Archivist, presented the award to Carolyn Gimian and Gordon Kidd.

On June 11, 2010 the Shambhala Archives received the Carman V. Carroll Award for Outstanding Achievement in Archival Preservation from the Council of Nova Scotia Archives. The goal of the award is to foster an appreciation of preservation and recognize its place as a vital component within the ongoing daily operations of an archives. The Shambhala Archives received the award for the Audio Recovery Project to preserve and digitize the audio recordings of the Vidyadhara, the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Archives is honoured to have received this award. Gordon Kidd, the Technical Director of the Archives, and Carolyn Gimian, Director Emeritus and Past President of the Council of Nova Scotia Archives, represented the Shambhala Archives at the awards ceremony.

The majority of the work was done over four years with a total budget of $250,000. Some initial research and trials were done in 2004 and 2005. The work commenced full time in 2006 and was completed in 2009. We hoped to finish in 2008, but needed an extra year to finish the project. While $250,000 is a lot of money, it was an extremely economical use of funds.

Gordon Kidd, the technical director of the Shambhala Archives contributed a tremendous amount of time to the project. Chris Levy, the digital engineer who worked with Gordon to design and implement the system worked full time on the project for three years and worked ¼ time to complete the remainder of the project in the fourth year, 2009. The Archives Assistant, Sandra Kipis, worked on duplication and administration of the project. Several summer students also worked on the project through various grant programs. Carolyn Gimian helped to raise the funds for the project and communicated with the centres and sent them newsletters, updates etc. The staff of the Shambhala Archives showed tremendous dedication, tenaciousness and ingenuity in the implementation of this project.

We fundraised so we could begin our video digitization and restoration project; a long term project that will go on for years. We are happy to tell you that we have made considerable progress on that path and are happy with our accomplishment so far. We are very close to finishing this project in 2017!

You can still watch last years video Path of Restoration which will help you visualize what it means to digitize and restore old videos. And you will see some sweet glimpses of our perfect teachers.

Digital Migration of Early Video Formats

As video technology has moved on to digital formats, the need to migrate all early analog video to digital video is critical. Since 2009 the Archives, with funding from the Shambhala Trust, began to carry out digital preservation of 500 hours of video recordings of the Vidyadhara the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Archives purchased hard drive storage capacity on a RAID 5 storage device, and more than half of the early video, esp. that of VCTR, is now stored on the RAID, known as VAJRADHATU. Of these digitized tapes, editing, remastering and DVD authoring have made access possible for the Shambhala sangha and the general public (where applicable). As well, once digitized, the cost for future preservation migrations will be significantly lessened. “RAID” is an umbrella term for computer data storage schemes that can divide and replicate data among multiple hard disk drives. Once data is on a RAID, security is assured as it can repair itself by rebuilding a failed drive from the data on the other drives. The platform we are using is very stable, industrial strength equipment, consistent with our practice of using professional grade technology in all of our preservation and production work.

Capturing and Storing Digital Video

Since the mid-2000s more and more recordings have been made with digital recording technology and since 2009 all audio visual field acquisition has been “born digital”, that is, coming to us in digital formats from inception. Shambhala Media now provides a camera kit for all of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche events; to ensure a high quality video record is made of all of his teachings. These files are stored on our RAID (see explanation of RAID storage systems, above) and backed up on at least one other server to ensure protection of the data.

Technical Papers

Video Recovery Project

By James Hoagland, Peter Hull, and Carolyn Gimian (1995)
This paper investigates new methods in the conservation and transfer of 1/2 inch Black-and-White open reel video tapes. It was written in 1995 in connection with the Shambhala Archives Video Revovery Project, during which over two hundred video tapes. In the early 1980s, the Naropa Institute was about to discard the apparently useless, unplayable 1/2 in open reel videos in its possession, which numbered approximately 250. . The majority of these tapes were recorded in the 1970s at Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, with the help of a grant from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts. Others were recorded and donated by several of Chögyam Trungpa’s students. The tapes were all recorded on the exceedingly fragile black and white 1/2 inch open reel video format, and had been stored in less than ideal conditions; as such, they were prime candidates for rehabilitation. Read the paper.


Technical Document for the Vault

By Carolyn Gimian (1995)
This paper was first presented at the 1995 Annual Conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, held in Toronto, Ontario. The paper was presented as part of a panel on Economical Environmental Control, chaired by Jim Wheeler. Read the paper.


Audio Recovery Project Implementation

By Chris Levy and Mark Keller (November 2000)
Read the paper.

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