Category Archives: News

Preserving 35mm slides

MediaFiler Participate in World Digital Preservation Day

Organised by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and supported by digital preservation networks across the globe, World Digital Preservation Day – 7th November 2019 – is open to participation from anyone interested in securing our digital legacy.

World Digital Preservation Day serves as a reminder to us here at The Digital Asset Lab to ensure our clients are aware of the need to preserve their digital assets. Naturally we trust their assets will be secure by using our own MediaFiler Media Asset Management software, but no matter, asset discovery, conversion and preservation to keep a record of heritage is vital.  So while it’s really Digital Preservation Day, to us it is also preservation day!

Last year we were horrified to discover, as we met with clients to issue Data Processing Agreements covering the new EU GDPR regulations (our post last year) that several were considering erasing all the drives containing past material which they now felt they had no lawful basis to hold or use without researching and contacting the subjects – the cost of which was considered prohibitive.

We may sell outstanding software but we are also keen archivists; we become absorbed in the historical research our clients record and store on MediaFiler.  The thought of anyone destroying digital photographic records because of GDPR is wrong, even if from a corporate point of view it is to protect the organisation.  We proposed various available options to retain the files and yet meet GDPR obligations.

One of our Nikon automated slide scanners. Having built a computer to accept SCSI we had the scanner professionaly checked and cleaned.

Back to preservation. The workroom bench this year saw thousands of 35mm slides which need preserving, particularly as many of them were fading – the colour dyes dying! 

These were slides from around the world which had not seen the light of day for 50 years.  Including slides of fields which are now home to cities.  We have to preserve historical images such as these.

How lucky we were that inside our cupboard of old computer equipment was a Kodak Carousel Slide Film Projector remote control, with a projector screen to boot – all working!

This year we’re going to start on our two Apricot Computers – no reason why they wouldn’t work – although they need a clean first! One had a 10MB hard drive and a floppy drive, and the other twin floppy disks drives for 720 KB floppy disks, not even the standard 1.44MB disks.  I think the first one cost £2500 and we had two monitors. One based in the office and one at home, and we lugged the Apricot between the two, to work over weekends. The keyboard was very advanced with keys under a digital display which changed depending on the program. Program on one disk, data on the other – how easy was that.  In those days you knew where your data was stored – it would now make GDPR a doddle!

Another discovery: we were handed a tin of Gold Star Monaco snacks, crammed full of black and white negatives, so now each one has to be scanned, assessed, identified and converted to a positive image. The side of the tin said snacks kept fresh in this airtight tin, so it did the job, all dry and well preserved. Looks like some negatives are from the 1940s.

Preservation by scanning is a labour intensive process, needs care and attention, but another service we offer our clients, assisting them in building their archive with MediaFiler.

Museums at Night branding

Museums at Night 2019

The Digital Asset Lab are always delighted  to support  Museums at Night, from 15th – 18th May 2019, managed  by our client Culture 24 who use a MediaFiler Digital Media Library to deliver the Museums at Night  media to the press for each seasons events.  Events take place each spring and autumn.

Culture 24 is a non-profit, digital cultural publishing organisation, who also lead Museums at Night, the UK’s annual festival of late night openings in museums, galleries and other cultural archives. They have used a MediaFiler digital media library since 2012 to manage all the digital images and branding material for the events.

Always a favourite with us is The National Archives at Kew and this year it continues its Museums at Night event with their Cold War series along with a 1980s themed evening, themed cocktails ( shaken not stirred ? ) and a tour of the new Cold War exhibition,  Protect and Survive: Britain’s Cold War Revealed.

The National Archives Entrance

We should add that The National Archives are worth visiting at any time !

With team members at The Digital Asset Lab having attended a number of Museums at Night events, we really encourage you to head off to the Museums at Night website and find out what is going on in your area, you’ll be surprised at just how many late evening events are taking place in museums, libraries, galleries., archives and historic houses and other locations.

Museums at Night 2019 takes place 15-18 May (although some events take place after these dates) so check first on their website here

Start the year with MediaFiler Media Asset Management Software

MediaFiler starts every New Year’s Day working flat out.  Delivering the images from the New Year’s Day Parade in London (LNYDP) to newspapers, magazines, web blogs and TV stations around the world – all interested in how New Year is celebrated in London.

LNYDP – All photos: Credit Matt Sprake

MediaFiler has been hosting the LNYDP official press media library since 2015 ensuring that the LNYDP photographers can upload their images of the show and ensure instant worldwide distribution and media coverage with free downloads.

MediaFiler can set up a Digital Media Library to meet almost every event or PR opportunity and is robust enough to satisfy press demand for the images. MediaFiler was selected as the official Media Library distribution portal for the South American Games in 2014 and if you can survive the demand for those photos – you can survive anything!

MediaFiler has a range of hosted options available for the PR, Events and MarCom sectors – so talk to us and see if we can help you deliver the media coverage you crave.

Preservation is Expensive

Some 15,000 feet of 16mm cine film from the 1950’s and 60’s that need to be converted to digital for ease of viewing and preservation.

29th November 2018 is World Digital Preservation Day (previously International Digital Preservation Day) and will bring together individuals and institutions from across the globe in celebration of their work in the field of digital preservation

The Digital Asset Lab is proud to promote the preservation message organized by the Digital Preservation Coalition here in the UK.

But this post is not about Digital Preservation, but using digital to preserve – preservation never the less.

The following reels of 16mm cine film – movie film – were discovered in an attic, mostly taken in India during the 1950’s and 60’s according to the labels on the tins, but footage from Canada, USA and the UK also feature. With each reel holding 400 feet we estimate about 15,000 feet of film in total. Converting cine film to digital is not our speciality, but preserving images is. Initial investigation into conversion costs ranged from £4500 upwards – far outside our budget!

Time to call our client The Ronald Grant Archive to get their advice.  If you’ve never been to the Cinema Museum in Kennington, London, it is well worth a visit. The museum is housed in a building which was once a workhouse where Charlie Chaplin lived as a child.

The Ronald Grant Archive holds one of the largest and most varied private collections of high quality film and cinema related images available today.

With over 1 million images (colour & black and white) from more than 50,000 British, US, European and World Cinema titles, their material is a unique and widely respected international resource covering the history of cinema from before 1896 to the present day. MediaFiler provide the Ronald Grant Archive Digital Photo Library holding hundreds of thousands of those images and work with them to manage the library.

Perhaps the first thing to do is to find a 16mm cine projector and a video camera to find out what footage is worth preserving because 20 minutes of the garden might not be worth £2000 to copy to DVD.

In our last post on the first Digital Preservation Day we found hard drives like this (left) with SCSI connectors.

We’re building an offline Windows XP computer with SCSI conections for the slide copiers and other SCSI peripherals.

Yes, preservation is expensive, but the longer we leave it the more expensive it will become. The use of a hosted digital media library will certainly assist preservation. Digital files will constantly be maintained, converted and updated by the DAM supplier and with MediaFiler, clients have dual backups in different locations included in the monthly hosting fee. A trouble free solution at your fingertips.

MediaFiler Delivers Winners 9 Years Running

MediaFiler’s Digital Media Library software makes it easy to run and manage a photographic competition from start to finish. 

From the entrant’s registration and upload, to approval and judging, are all meticulously managed entirely within the Digital Asset Management software system.

If you require a Digital Media Management solution, then get in touch.

For the 9th year running MediaFiler has been proud to host and manage the Engineering Employers Federation’s (EEF) Photography Competition faultlessly and the 2018 Awards Evening was held at Church House, Westminster in London on the 20th Nov 2018. 

Mediafiler displays World Travel Market 2018

MediaFiler (DAM) delivers worldwide content

Photo above by Simon Harvey

MediaFiler Digital Media Libraries delivers World Travel Market exhibition content to the world.

Reed Exhibition’s global travel portfolio now uses a MediaFiler Digital Media Library across seven events, building on their original MediaFiler Digital Asset Management software which started with WTM London.  This year, two more exhibition Media Libraries are added to the portfolio: The International Travel & Tourism Awards, presented by WTM London, and Travel Forward, a new travel technology event founded in London, soon to be rolled out to WTM Brazil and Arabian Travel Market.

I’m delighted that the team at WTM & Reed Exhibitions picked our Digital Media Libraries to provide the integrated support to their media and promotional activities across their global portfolio,” said Alastair McDavid, Managing Director of The Digital Asset Lab.

The team of WTM photographers can upload and caption their shots directly in MediaFiler in minutes.

MediaFiler (DAM) Media Libraries are ready for GDPR

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies from today 28th May 2018

Digital Media Asset Management systems are an ideal way to manage your organisations image files; photographs and video to meet the new EU GDPR requirements. 

You know what you’ve got: All digital media files are in one place, under control and not sitting on individual’s computers or odd departmental drives on the company server.

The ability to ‘tag’ names, dates, lawful basis of consent and confirmed permissions to the media in the library ensures the rights which were agreed on shooting are clearly visible and associated to the media file.

Easy to highlight or delete images after a set period of time and most importantly, instantly retrieve any files when a subject access request is received making it easy to comply.

MediaFiler GDPR Presentation – 2 minutes

MediaFiler can do all this, and GDPR fields are added to the ‘Rights’ tab, where the lawful basis of consent may also be added, along with any notes and review dates.

In addition, MediaFiler does more than just meet the minimum requirements and can link signed consent forms by the various subjects (people) photographed to images or groups (sets) of images.  All forms are fully searchable in MediaFiler and instantly provide visual assurance that the subject signed a consent form to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018.

You can read more about GDPR and the DPA 2018 here:

Following multiple discussions TDAL has had with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), photography is one area in which many find it difficult to interpret GDPR implications, and the ICO can currently provide no written guides or templates for photographers – we’ll just have to wait to see how it plays out in the coming months.

Our client,  The Guild of Photographers has provided a template & guide for their members. Join the guild now to see the guide:

We were surprised that the ICO did not publish their own website Privacy Policy (in advance so we could see how they did it) until this morning.  We were astonished to see it was pages and pages long. We thought the whole idea was to demystify the process, with clear, easy to read guidelines. Apparently not so.

MediaFiler & London welcome in 2018

The team at MediaFiler were on hand during New Year’s Day to assist the London New Year’s Day Parade photographers to distribute their photographs around the world.

Cheerleader at the LNYDP parade on a MediaFiler Digital Media Library
Another stunning and much used photograph of the Parade taken by Matt Sprake and delivered by MediaFiler Digital Media Library.

News hungry publications dive into the LNYDP Media Library downloading the outstanding photographs representing the London Parade and we at MediaFiler are delighted that it is our Digital Asset Management system that has yet again been selected to manage the Photo Library.

While MediaFiler is one of the most reliable DAM systems available the MediaFiler staff are on hand, even on New Year’s Day to assist the photographers or users if necessary, but we’ve never had to do anything apart from view the stunning material uploaded to the Media Library.

Cast members at the LNYDP parade on a MediaFiler Digital Media Library

Here are a few more shots we like, all photographs taken by Matt Sprake and reproduced here with his permission.

Cheerleader at the LNYDP parade on a MediaFiler Digital Media Library
Highly Commended image taken by Ian Pickering, in the 2017 EEF photo contest which is run using MediaFiler Digital Asset Management Software.

DAM Delivers 3 Winners

MediaFiler, the versatile asset management software manages the EEF photography competition.

Eight years in a row, our DAM software has run the Engineering Employers Federation Photography Competition from start to finish.

Winning images in the 2017 EEF photography competition managed using MediaFiler DAM software

Professional Winner – Adrian Waine, Stone Slab Cutting, Natural Stone Surfaces in Derby. Amateur Winner – Jakub Wasik, Process Underbody 24, Range Rover Sport. Young Person Winner – Siobhan Lock, Merlyn’s Magic, Penderyn Distillery



Runner Up in the 2017 EEF Professional Category, photograph by Steve Morgan contest managed by MediaFiler DAM software

Professional Category – Runner Up – Steve Morgan






Contestants register &  are automatically verified using the MediaFiler registration module.  Photographers upload their images and add the mandatory information to each image prior to entering the contest.  The EEF contest manager visually checks each image meets the criteria and accepts or rejects the photo.  Mediafiler automatically anonymizes the contestant’s details of their image while moving it into the correct category.

Runner Up in the 2017 EEF Amateur Category by Mark Tomlinson, contest managed by MediaFiler software

Amateur Category – Runner Up – Mark Tomlinson

Once the contest closes, judges log into MediaFiler to select the initial short list in each category, prior to final selection at a judges meeting at EEF HQ. The EEF also use their MediaFiler to hold images for the press, photographs from the awards ceremonies as well as displaying the rules and help guides. MediaFiler software runs the photography contests for The Guild of Photographers, The International Association of Arson Investigators and other public competitions.

The winners in the three categories were announced at a high-profile event at the Palace of Westminster in London, December 2017 where 63 shortlisted images were displayed. The competition seeks creative images that capture the essence of modern manufacturing. It is all part of EEF’s drive to challenge and change people’s outdated perceptions of the sector. The images help to raise the profile of UK manufacturing by showcasing the industry’s creativity, diversity and heritage, as well as helping to put local firms on the map and three winning photographers walked away with a share of £5000 in prizes.

Highly Commended image taken by Ian Pickering, in the 2017 EEF photo contest which is run using MediaFiler Digital Asset Management Software.

Professional Highly Commended by Ian Pickering


Dr Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, says: “As an international economic department, we are committed to ensuring our manufacturing sector continues to grow, and these images highlight why the UK’s modern, dynamic and innovative manufacturing industry exports to markets around the world.”

Alastair McDavid, Managing Director of The Digital Asset Lab, the UK agents for MediaFiler, said: We’re delighted that the photographers, EEF contest team and the Judges found MediaFiler easy to use. It is a very versatile DAM system and has quickly adapted to the EEF photographic competition needs over the years.


Old floppy disks and hard drives going back to the 90's

The First Digital Preservation Day

Computers and disks going back to 1995.  CD's Floppy Disks, Hard Drives and Jaz & Zip disks along with an Apricot Computer found in the store rooms of THe Digital Asset Lab

Digital preservation community celebrates the inaugural International Digital Preservation Day on the 30th November 2017.

Being digital pioneers, prior to the formation of The Digital Asset Lab our staff were working with digital photography in 1995.

When we heard about International Digital Preservation Day, Organized by the Digital Preservation Coalition, for anyone interested in securing our digital legacy, we at the Digital Asset Lab, started looking in our own back yard.  Cupboards and storerooms were crammed with old hard drives, stacks of CD’s, videos, floppy disks, backup tapes and a few computers.

The International Digital Preservation Day logo for 2017 on The blog on The Digital Asset Lab website

Of course, this discovery had us wondering how we stand with the impending EU GDPR regulations, knowing that nearly every one of these storage devices held photographs.  The cost of finding out, to meet the Information Commissioner’s Office’s new demands may be prohibitive.  Simpler to crush them? That has to be wrong.

You can read more about the work of The Digital Preservation Coalition here

Stacks of old dusty CD's found in on shelves in the storerooms of The Digital Asset Lab.

We were told CD’s will last a hundred years. What Rubbish !

However the CD’s and DVD’s is a different story. Some could not be read and others were struggling only reading part of the discs.  Let’s see if reviving an old computer makes a difference.  We did dual disk backups so hopefully between the two disks we can obtain all the files.  I fear though the first CD disks used, before we were advised to use gold disks, may have rotted.

Would we ever be able to access some of the early SCSI hard drives that we had with the old Intergraph computers but then we’ve got the tons of Iomega Jaz & Zip drive disks and the drives were both SCSI & Parallel port connections? We’ll just have to see.

Our message to our client’s is, before you can preserve, you must first find and discover. Now is the time to start gathering.

The one good thing in our favour is that as we recover the files at least we can use MediaFiler, our own Digital Asset Management software to assist us in the cataloguing, sorting and culling of duplicate material before we copy everything to our NAS drives. Soon tons of boxes will become a few hard drives.