CINEMATEK collaboration for film registration and deposition

Digitising film stock involves a high cost, so it’s imperative to first review and register all the footage. And CINEMATEK is better placed than anyone to examine the film content and assess the technical aspects involved for its preservation and storage. They have the necessary expertise, experience and infrastructure – making them the ideal partner to provide support to the many Flemish cultural heritage managers.

How did the collaboration come about?

In 2013, VIAA, one of meemoo’s predecessors, conducted an investigation to evaluate the state of affairs for film heritage in Flanders. This led to a report with a number of observations and recommendations to get started with. One of these action points was to set up a collaboration with CINEMATEK to work on film registration. This collaboration then started back in 2015, and was extended in 2022 for the third time.

Method for registration and deposition

The registrars at CINEMATEK help organisations to register, assess and select the films. Each film passes through their expert hands and is provided with technical information in meemoo’s registration system. This information includes details about the condition of the film, the extent of any vinegar syndrome, whether the film is in colour or black-and-white, and if it has any audio.

Pictured: in the CINEMATEK depot, © CINEMATEK, photo by Bea Borgers.

At the same time, CINEMATEK attaches a barcode to the film reels and refreshes their packaging – replacing the cans, putting the films on a new spool, and adding leader and end tape if necessary. They also review all the films to add a description of the content. The content partner can then use this information to decide whether to digitise the film or not.

Most content partners don’t have their own suitable storage spaces where film stock can be kept cool and at the right humidity level. So, if they choose, the films can be given to CINEMATEK for safekeeping in the digitisation company’s storage facility. This collaboration creates a solid basis for further preservation and digitisation.

Find out more about the collaboration in this mini documentary:

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Milestone material!

In 2022, we took a first big step: CINEMATEK registered a large initial batch of films. We now have a good picture of the film content stored in Flemish archives. Want to dive into the breakdown of film stock-based heritage in Flanders?

Project Manager Céline and Digitisation Manager Brecht examined the materials in more detail. Read about this first big step in detail.

Do you have a question?
Contact Céline Vermeire
Project Leader Digitisation & Account Manager government and heritage institutions
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