bfi national archive installs dft’s scanity; bfi bational archive uses scanity to ‘unlock film heritage’

January 12, 2016

the bfi national archive, the national collection of film and television, has recently installed dft’s scanity hdr, a state of the art film scanner at it’s conservation centre in berkhampsted, to assist in the digitisation of the uk’s rich screen heritage for everyone to enjoy.

Established in 1935, the BFI National Archive holds one of the largest film and television collections in the world. The archive includes material from the earliest days of film to current television content – which includes around of 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 – as well as millions of other items – such as scripts, posters, still images, books, journals, articles and newspaper cuttings relating to Britain’s cultural heritage.

Scanity was purchased as a part of a Lottery-funded programme to ‘unlock film heritage’ by investing in the digitisation, preservation and interpretation of film, providing access to the UK’s screen heritage to the public. The programme ensures that the people can access and enjoy the full range of British filmmaking, regardless of where they live or where that film heritage is held. In all, 10,000 titles will be digitised and made available online in a project that runs through to March 2017.

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.”

The Scanity film scanner 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. The digitisation process takes a ‘snap shot’ of the original ‘master’ film. Once scanned, the ‘master’ is either returned to the BFI’s Master Film Store facility in Warwickshire, or returned to the lender.

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

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”.

Simon Carter, Director for dft comments:

“This is a very exciting project and we are delighted that Scanity was chosen as the preferred scanner for this project. We are looking forward to the months ahead and to helping the BFI achieve their goal to digitise 10,000 titles for everyone to enjoy.”

notes to editors

dft (Digital Film Technology) has been at the forefront of film scanning technology for over 75 years, supplying the film post production market with a range of high quality, leading edge products and services. With a reputation for quality, dft is head quartered in Germany and has a network of sales, service and support centres worldwide. dft is a subsidiary of the Prasad Corporation Ltd, India.

about the bfi

The BFI is the lead organisation for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by: Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK – investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work Promoting British film and talent to the world Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences

The BFI is a Government arm’s-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role: As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.

The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Greg Dyke.

about the bfi national archive

The BFI National Archive was founded in 1935 and has grown to become the one of the largest and most important collections of film and television in the world with over 180,000 films and 750,000 television programmes. For over 80 years the BFI has been an international leader in film preservation and guardian of Britain’s unparalleled film and TV heritage. The BFI is an innovator in presenting films to audiences in new and dynamic ways, from cinemas to film festivals, outdoor events to online video-on-demand. At the heart of all its activities is the BFI’s central aim to ensure that everyone in the UK has access to the widest possible range of film and their own film heritage.

That heritage includes all time great British directors Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean and Powell and Pressburger; and the rich vein of documentary filmmaking, in which Britain led the world, including the lyrical work of Humphrey Jennings. The archive also boasts a significant collection of filmmakers’ papers as well as extensive stills, posters and production and costume designs along with original scripts, press books and related ephemera. Expert teams undertake the time-consuming and complex task of restoring films at the BFI John Paul Getty Jr Conservation Centre in Hertfordshire. The BFI’s most precious film materials are kept in optimum conditions in the world-leading Master Film Store in Warwickshire.

further information:

Brian Robinson, Communications Manager, Archive & Heritage, BFI,
Tel +44 (0) 207 957 8940

Simon Carter, Director, dft
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 870853
Mob: +44 (0) 7776 297371