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Film Collections and Filmmakers Newsletter Issue 2, April 2014
About the Film Collections and Filmmakers Community
Future of Film Archiving (FoFA)

Several of the Core experts in the Film Collections and Filmmakers Community of Practice are active in the BFI led initiative FoFA, which looks into the possibilities and obstacles film archives meet in keeping analogue film technology alive. One of the topics the Core experts have been discussing is the upcoming Second Century Forum at the annual FIAF (International Federation of Film Archives) Congress in Skopje (led by the FoFA). While one of the primary concerns of FoFA is to press for the continuation and survival of analogue film technology, skills and presentation, there is also no doubt that digital cinema is here to stay and should be informed by, and at least meet the standards of analogue cinema. Since original analogue film collections kept under cold and cool conditions are expected to have a useful life of several centuries, much longer than any digital medium, scanning technologies and authentic transfer and screening procedures are naturally part of the focus of FoFA. Both the FIAF Congress and the upcoming DIASTOR conference in Zurich in the beginning of June will be of great interest to the Film Collections community.

More about the Film Collections and Filmmakers Community of Practice

The Future of Obsolescence: Orphan Film Symposium
From 30 March to 2 April the Orphan Film Symposium took place at the magnificent Eye Film Institute in the Netherlands, jointly hosted by NYU Cinema Studies. This ninth international biennial gathering of archivists, curators, scholars, technology experts, librarians, collectors, preservationists, and artists devoted itself to the topic: “The Future of Obsolescence.”

Film, video, and digital works from around the world were projected in the EYE building, all presented with context provided by expert speakers and creative accompanists. The Symposium offered insights into many forgotten worlds and moments of orphaned footage from Polish non-film experiments to outtakes from American NPR television.

Also, the legal aspects of orphans works was addressed through a presentation on the FORWARD project, which looks into providing a standardised workflow for the European film archives to do a diligent search and unlock European orphan films in accordance with the EU Directive on Orphan Films.

While many of the presentations primarily discussed content “loss” through lack of awareness, Evan Meaney presented in his talk “Archival Encryption, Encoding and Error as Narrative” an extremely concrete example of how vulnerable digital data is. He very precisely showed how all media, analogue as well as digital, fall victim to the laws of entropy. Forcing bit-rot in a photo of himself, he made it very clear how little data needs to be changed for an image file to become illegible.

As a bonus, the lost British film “Love, Life and Laughter” (1923) was discovered in the EYE film archive on the first day of the symposium and a clip was screened to end the inspiring days in Amsterdam.

Upcoming Events
Free Webinar: Creating of Master Archive Package

You are invited to join the free webinar entitled “Creation of Master Archive Package (MAP)”, taking place on 27th May, presented by Thomas Christensen (DFI) and Lars Karlsson (Swedish Film Institute). This is the 6th webinar in a series created by PrestoCentre and Presto4U on diverse topics related to AV digitisation and digital preservation.

This webinar will describe the process of creating a MAP (Master Archive package) JPEG2000 archival element in the Fraunhofer JPEG2000 software suite and discuss the benefits and drawback of this process and the use of MAPs as a standard for the preservation of digital film. While DCP (Digital Cinema Package) is a universally adopted format for digital film distribution, many film archives preserve master elements as digital source masters in DPX or TIFF, while MAP is less widely adopted, despite being an actual well described standard.

More information and registration

PrestoCentre Publications
Discover the Preservation Case Studies for Archives

In 2013 PrestoCentre started publishing new training material, called "Preservation Case Studies for Archives". Currently five issues are available and new issues will be added to the series during 2014.

The Case Studies are an innovative educational experience that places the student in the role of the decision maker, where one has to balance both resources and constraints. Through a dynamic process of idea exchange, students first learn about the situation, then identify and analyse the problems to determine the causes, and finally develop alternative strategies for a solution. Preservation Case Studies for Archives provides the context for teaching the real world issues confronting archives staff and managers in a dynamic and exciting way.

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Library Highlight
Digital Cinema Technologies from the Archive's Perspective
Digital cinema has evolved over the last few years, and even though various alternative systems and solutions are used in different parts of the world, most commercial productions in North America and Europe use a system that has its origin in the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI). DCI was a joint venture of six major American film production companies which together worked out an open specification for a digital cinema system. Many parts of this specification have been adopted by SMPTE and also transformed into standards by the international standardisation organisation ISO.

This article is intended to give a basic introduction to the technologies and processes that are associated with the DCI / SMPTE digital cinema system. In the following sections you will get an overview of the basic technologies that are used, describe important technical details of the Digital Cinema Package (the format that is delivered to the cinemas), how these packages can be produced and some thoughts on implications of this system on archives.

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Upcoming Events
May 4-10: 70th FIAF Congress – The 70th Congress of FIAF offers the opportunity of presenting, exchanging and comparing films produced immediately before and during World War I. These films documented the circumstances of a world facing an event that would bring unforeseen consequences for the entire international community. The theme of the Symposium also presents an opportunity to discuss the use and misuse of these films for military and propaganda purposes, as well as their use as historic evidence. Another theme that may be developed is the effect that this global event had on international film production, bearing in mind the rapid technological developments that arose as by-products of the war.

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June 5: DIASTOR Conference – One day conference "Film in the Digital Age"' about Digitisation, Access, and Storage of Films. The conference aims at providing information to a broad audience of film professionals (directors, producers, distributors), archivists, politicians, journalists, film scholars and historians. International experts in the field will give insights into their practices, solutions, standards and workflows. The talks will be in German, English, or French with simultaneous translation for participants.

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The Presto4U project receives funding from the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). The project will run from 1 January 2013 till 31 December 2014

PrestoCentre Foundation is a non-profit organisation registered under KvK54274427