Motion Picture Product Options

The Motion Picture Preservation Lab is in a transition phase as it continues to migrate from primarily film-based workflows toward the implementation of digital workflows for almost all purposes. At the current time, high quality film stock continues to be the primary preservation medium for those films that can be preserved through traditional photochemical methods. In addition, 2K and 4K digital reformatting workflows are an option for restoration efforts and some preservation master products.

The Lab has transitioned to completely digital file-based products for the reproduction master product category. All distribution copies are file-based, but we currently retain the ability to produce film theater prints for theatrical projection. Although the Lab has transitioned away from creating film-based products in the reproduction and distribution product categories, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) still holds a very large number of film-based reproduction and distribution products that continue to be served to vendors and researchers.

  • Motion Picture Film-Based Product Options

    For the most part, film-based product specifications are dictated by the source material’s film element type. There is some flexibility however in regards to combining separate picture and soundtrack reels into a composite reel. Selected image adjustments such as color correction and density correction are routinely performed during the reformatting process.

  • Motion Picture Digital Product Options

    For digital products created from film-based source material, the specifications are dictated by the source material’s original characteristics, including format and condition. Materials in advanced stages of deterioration as measured on the At Risk Assessment Guide are scanned to include all the available visual information within a DPX (Digital Picture Exchange) sequence, including the optical soundtrack if available. When reproduction copies are needed, a second file without the soundtrack image may be generated through digitally reprocessing the over-scanned image to mask the soundtrack. One-light color timing will be employed as appropriate during the initial capture process, but otherwise, the preservation files are unaltered. Reproduction and distribution files derived from restoration projects may have additional image improvements such as digital dust and scratch removal and scene-by-scene color correction. Reproduction Master files are captured with one-light color timing and saved with minimal image or audio adjustments. Distribution files from all sources will usually have at least basic image and audio adjustments performed to optimize the viewing experience.

  • Motion Picture Digital Soundtrack Product Options

    For digital products created from film-based source material, the specifications are dictated by the source material’s original characteristics including format and condition. A separate WAV (Waveform) file is created for all at risk stand alone sound elements as identified on the At Risk Assessment Guide. WAV files and MP3s are also created for reproduction and distribution purposes.