MACE trains YMCA youth workers in film handling for “Century of Youth” film project

YMCA Training day at MACE: Richard Shenton (right), Head of Access & Learning at MACE, demonstrates film handling to James and Anthony from the YMCA

One of our biggest Full Circle groups is the YMCA at Nottingham. MACE is working with them on their new “Century of Youth” film project. We are helping them  to safely view and transfer relevant archive footage into digital formats. Anthony a  Film and Video youth worker and James a youth worker from the YMCA  attended this training course so that they could pass on the necessary skills in film handling to the young people they are working with. The project explores the lives of people in the East Midlands over the past 100 years  combining archive footage and interviews with local people.

Anthony and James examine 8mm film

On the training day Richard talked Anthony and James through the different gauges of film: Standard 8mm, Super 8mm, 9.5mm, 16mm and 35mm. As the project involves collecting (some possibly quite old film) – they learnt how to identify cellulose nitrate stock, which they may come across, and what to do if they find any. Nitrate film stock was only used for 35mm film stock pre 1950s while safety film stock was developed for the home movie market  (8mm and 16mm).   Richard had looked through the MACE film archive and found a short film on the dangers of nitrate stock made by the Royal Navy who had to be extremely careful when screening film on board because of its flammable nature:The Dangers of Nitrate Film - archive film made by the Royal Navy to warn people of the flammable nature of cellulose nitrate film and how to handle it safely

For more information on nitrate films check out the British Film Institute site and watch a short film clip. They hold the largest collection of nitrate  film stock in the world.

Nitrate film found through the Full Circle project, the nitrate film has reacted with the can. This rare 90 year old film has been sent down to the BFI. They have the facilities to handle this film stock and will transfer it to safety film for Full Circle to use in a community film screening in Ripley

In the afternoon the training course covered  black and white and colour film stock, vinegar syndrome and sound on film (optical and magnetic). They learnt about the different print processes, reversal process and edger markings which help denote the type and age of film. After a very nice lunch there was a tour of the MACE film archive, the film transfer suite and the use of the Steenbeck film editing and viewing machine.

James Patterson, Director of MACE viewing 16mm film on the Steenbeck.  Steenbeck is a brand name that has become synonymous with a type of flatbed film editing suite which is usable with both 16mm and 35mm optical sound and magnetic sound film.
For more information on the YMCA “Century of Youth” project contact Tom Holland on 07584 582063 or email him on This project has been enabled by EM Media and the UK Film Council’s Digital Archive Fund supported by the National Lottery.

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