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BFI invests in top-end scanner to digitise 10,000 films

BFI invests in top-end scanner to digitise 10,000 films
News
Staff Reporter
13 January 2016

The BFI National Archive has installed DFT’s Scanity HDR, a top-end film scanner, as part of its plan to digitise and make available online 10,000 film titles by March 2017.

The Scanity film scanner launched at NAB in 2014 with a pricetag of $300k, rising to around half a million dollars once fully kitted out.

The BFI said the Scanity was chosen after extensive testing to ensure the technology was able to safely handle delicate or damaged film materials from a variety of film gauges and formats, some of which date to 1895 and are in formats that are now obsolete.

Once digitised, the scanned images are enhanced using in-built software tools to remove scratches and dust, together with other post production tools to enhance the images prior to becoming available to view via the online BFI Player.

The BFI National Archive, based in Berkhamstead, holds one of the largest film and television collections. It includes around 60,000 fiction films, including features, on all gauges of film and formats of videotape, 120,000 non-fiction films, and around 770,000 television titles.

Scanity was purchased as a part of a Lottery-funded programme to ‘unlock film heritage’.

Heather Stewart, BFI Creative Director, Programme comments: “Our Unlocking Film Heritage programme has changed public access to the UK national collection of film and television through the launch of Britain on Film. Many of the 10,000 titles due to be digitised by the end of 2017 have been unknown and unseen for decades.”

Charles Fairall, Head of Conservation, Collections and Information, BFI comments: “Scanity is the ideal film scanner for the ‘Unlocking Film Heritage’ programme because it combines very careful handling of film with the capability of scanning at relatively high speeds. This is particularly important given the scope of the project, which is aimed at providing high volume digital access to these most fragile and historically valuable film collections preserved by the BFI National Archive”.

Pictured above: Charles Fairall, Head OF Conservation, BFI (left) and Kieron Webb, Film Conservation Manager, BFI (right)

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