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The Collection contains a large amount of high-contrast black-and-white, and later colour-reversal, mostly un-spliced shot-edits in camera. As with most films from this era, we encountered plenty of shrinkage and other damage, although the Scanity handles these smoothly with good focus and registration. We've discussed whether the new wet-gate option on the Scanity would be useful for reducing blemishes from embedded dirt. The NFSA catalogue may be searched for information on the Wirth family and the National Collection at https://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/search-collection/

The NFSA continues to print and process black & white 35-mm film, but hopes to progress to scanning 35-mm colour film in the near future. We have a significant challenge ahead in restoring colour film from the early 1970s, when the Australian film industry underwent significant re-invigoration. Many of these film elements are now around 40 years old, and hundreds of these films have undergone significant dye-fade, shrinkage and other problems, prior to being deposited into the NFSA's cool dry storage repositories. In some cases, the deterioration is so severe that conventional photo-mechanical and photo-chemical processing is insufficient to restore the quality of the original images. A small number of low-budget or limited-release titles survive only on 16-mm, but the majority are on 35-mm.

About NFSA

The NFSA preserves more than 240,000 films, within a collection of more than 2 million items including audio, video, documents and artefacts. We present screenings, footage-sales, and content for broadcast and online delivery around the world.

The installation of the NFSA scanner was handled by Future Reality, which represents DFT in Australian and New Zealand. As a supplier of creative technology systems, software and services for the local film, broadcast television and post-production industries, Future Reality was able to undertake the complete integration of the Scanity system with the NFSA’s new and existing infrastructure.

“Preserving Australia’s film history is a vital part of our country’s culture and we are proud to have been involved with the NFSA and DFT on this important project,” said David Edgar, Managing Director of Future Reality.

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