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.