Archive & Restoration
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Over time there has been a constant evolution of film stocks, formats
and techniques. From the early silent movies taken in ‘one shot’,
motion pictures have become ever more sophisticated, including sound,
film editing, animations and special effects.
However, a great majority of films made in the silent era have been
lost forever – many were filmed on an unstable, highly flammable
cellulose nitrate film stock, which was expensive to keep and felt to
have little or no commercial value after the advent of sound films.
Often, they were thrown away or recycled for their silver content. Those
that were stored were often destroyed in vault fires or crumbled into
powder or dust over time.
Film production moved to the more stable cellulose acetate film,
but this too has been found to decay through ‘vinegar syndrome’ and
colour films have been found at risk to fading.
Film archives are of great historical importance and require
long-term preservation for future generations, and in 1980, UNESCO gave a
recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images,
encouraging nations to officially recognise and preserve their moving
DFT has been working with motion picture film for over 75
years. Our specialist archive solutions enable the safe and gentle
handling of badly damaged, sensitive and fragile film, enabling users to
scan, save and restore films for future generations. Our solutions are
used by independent and national archives worldwide.