Audio-Visual Jisc digitisation programmes Projects 2003-2007

The scale of digitisation

The JISC’s Digitisation Advisory Group met at the British Film Institute (BFI) Archives in Berkhamsted, north of London.

The BFI leads the JISC’s InView project, which is digitising 600 hours of unique moving image materials from their collection.

However, as a tour organised by senior preservation manager Andrea Kalas demonstrated such digitisation is just scratching the surface of the material available to digitise.

Image of BFI archives

Thousands and thousands of reels covered the walls of the air-conditioned chambers at the archives.

Image of BFI archives

Of course the work is not just about access but preservation as well, as is now well documented plenty of film material is at risk, especially the self-inflammatory nitrate
based films.

To add to the difficulty, machines need to be maintained which can read and therefore convert to digital form the original media for the film. The archives are awash with machines to undertake these tasks.

Machine for reading reels at the BFI archives

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