Digitisation projects for at-risk and affected films
Film can lose its quality for various reasons, but as already mentioned, vinegar syndrome causes the most severe damage. Proper conditions and monitoring are therefore crucial to safeguard our film heritage.
Affected films are given priority and are digitised via a special process. From 2015 to 2023, this is where our focus lies. 16mm is the most common film format and will be digitised on an ongoing basis.
We will also launch smaller projects for 35mm, amateur formats (8mm and 9,5mm), nitrate film and the peculiar film collection of the ‘Witte Paters’. This last collection is kept at KADOC and is the only audiovisual collection gracing the list of Flemish Masterpieces.
Meemoo’s first film digitisation project was carried out in 2015 and 2016. German TF CineNova digitised approximately 270 films, accounting for 90 hours of footage. The second project, which ran from 2016 until October 2018, covered 900 films or 225 hours of footage. It was mostly 16mm films and a limited number of 35mm films that were, again, in good hands with TF CineNova.
The third film digitisation project took off in November 2018 and is running until 2023. This project will be a continuation of the past projects and will once again focus on 16mm films and a smaller amount of 35mm films affected by vinegar syndrome. New in this project is the addition of smalfilm formats 8mm, super8 and 9,5mm film, which were mainly used for amateur films. In total, the French digitisation company Vectracom will digitise about 4000 to 6000 films in the next three years. Vectracom is an experienced partner we have collaborated with before, for the digitisation of open reel video.
What happens next?
Now, what happens with the films that are not affected by vinegar syndrome? When will they be digitised? The detailed content and technical registration of the Flemish film heritage, a better focus on conservation and a fast digitisation of damaged films, make it possible to draw up a plan for the future. After the digitisation of the damaged material, we will start digitising other non-threatened films. Substantive criteria will certainly play a part in this case. We estimate getting this project started after 2023.
Curious about our other digitisation projects? Discover them here.