Belbroughton History Society visit MACE archive to see the Full Circle Project’s cinefilm digitisation process.


 

Sarah and John from Belbroughton History Society visit the MACE archive

Merry Christmas Midlands from MACE’s Full Circle Project!

Over the past 6 months we have collected nearly 50 collections as part of the Full Circle Project’s search for Midlands home-movies! It has been a truly phenomenal response to an appeal for members of the midlands communities to search through their attics and dig out any old cinefilm or home -movies they may have stashed away.

As part of the project we are working alongside around 60 community groups from across the Midlands to search for these hidden gems. On Tuesday we had the pleasure of a visit from Sarah and John, members of Belbroughton History Society http://www.belbroughton.com/History.htm. They had expressed an interest in seeing what happens once the cine-film that has been found during their Full Circle Film search comes to the archive. It was a great day and we were able to explain the different procedures that the films must go through before they are copied and transferred into a digital format which the depositors and groups and members of the public can then enjoy watching for years to come.

When film initially comes to MACE it  has to be assessed – the film collection and it’s containers will be inspected for titles or any other give away information to see if  there is anything of particular social/historical relevance or value to the Midlands region.

Cinefilm collection

An accession number is then allocated  to each item in the collection –  e.g. 001/2010/020  – and this is then logged onto the MACE Accession log  along with the date the film came in, the date it was accessioned, the depositors name & address, quantity, gauge and whether a personal file has been set up and a deposit agreement signed.

We then create a receipt listing of all the film titles in the collection, including any related materials that people wish to deposit – such as projectors, viewers or splicers. This receipt is then printed and sent out to the depositor/donator who owns the collection and also to the participating Full Circle Group to keep for their own records.

The receipt is also placed in their depositor/donator/owner’s personal file which is held at MACE alongside a copy of their signed donation agreement and any other information about the titles in the collection.

Any films that are in the collection that are deemed appropriate and  need to be copied will then be prepared for copying: new white spacer is placed at the beginning and end of the reel and any torn perforations are repaired.  So for example, if there are a number of smaller 50ft reels in the collection these will be transferred onto one large 400ft reel to enable the transfer process to be faster and more efficient.

Once the films are prepared a new entry is created in the MACE catalogue for each title in the collection, so that they will appear searchable on the MACE website: www.macearchive.org, at this stage there is no video clip attached to the catalogue entry.

The film collection then has to be put onto a priority copying list which MACE’s Full Circle Technician Andrew Jenkins then works his way through. Using the Flash Scan and Flash Transfer equipment purchased with Heritage Lottery Fund grant, awarded to the project which will run until March 2013,  we are able to convert  a number of film gauges: Standard 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm, and 16mm cinefilm. We also have the equipment to transfer other moving image formats such as: Beta SP, 1 inch tape, D2, Mini-DV & DV-cam.

MACE's Full Circle Technician Andrew Jenkins

The transfer process can take some time, as films are copied in real time and any adjustments to colour, saturation, white balance and exposure also have to be considered during this time. Once the original material has been transferred into a digital format, an archival copy LTO tape is made and also a viewing copy.

Andrew then trims the footage to make sure that the clips appear as they should do once they are on burnt to a DVD. The owner (depositor/donator) and the Full Circle Participating Group can then choose to have a DVD of the material which will be playable on the majority of DVD players or they can have an editable version – should they wish to compile their own screenings of the material found for public viewing.  Our cataloguer Catherine then looks through the material and keywords it as thoroughly as possibly to make sure that each title is accessible by members of the public. Eventually all material found during the Full Circle Project will be viewable online – on the www.macearchive.org website. Please visit our website if you require any more information about how to care for your cinefilm, or contact us here at MACE on 0116 252 5066 and we will be happy to help.

Full Circle Project - A public screening of archive material from the MACE archive.

If you know of anyone who has a film collection that deserves preserving, please get in touch with Full Circle Curator: Lucie Kerley on 0116 252 5931 or email lk99@le.ac.uk.  If you are a local history or community group wishing to take part in the Full Circle Project and are interested in searching for old cinefilm in your area – please get in touch.

Photographs courtesy of Lucie Kerley.

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