Motion Picture Services

The Motion Picture Preservation Lab offers an array of services in support of the archival process for the Special Media Archival Services Division, the Presidential Libraries, the Regions, Exhibits and Public Programs, and external stakeholders. The purpose of these services is principally to assist our internal partners in making informed decisions regarding the preservation and reformatting of NARA’s motion picture holdings. Preservation and technical classification actions involve item level risk assessment, preservation, and appropriate procedural evaluation and taxonomy of elements within record sets. Limited enhancement is available to improve the visual and listening experience of selected files for special purposes. An integral part of the preservation processes includes stabilization of physical objects in order to achieve appropriate information capture. Technical services staff assure digital products are of expected and consistent quality and the file format deliverables are well-formed and valid. The Motion Picture Preservation Lab also offers technical support and training for NARA staff to inform archival level preservation decisions as well as internships and workshops for preservation / archival / library degree seeking students and individuals within NARA’s archival development programs.

  • Consultation with NARA stakeholders

    • Advice on outsourcing to vendor versus what can be accomplished more successfully in-house
    • Advice on digital product deliverables in vendors or partner contracts
    • On-site visit to vendors/partners to review availability and condition of proposed transfer equipment
    • Provide advice on long term preservation planning options and actions
    • Provide technical guidance for digitization activities
    • Motion Picture: Consultation with NARA stakeholders

      • Technical identification and assessment of best optical qualities and/or most original film elements to retain for preservation and distribution
      • Serve as subject matter experts in photochemical motion picture film preservation as well as format specific history and technology
  • Risk assessment

    • Physical condition assessment
    • Assist in setting priorities for yearly work plan and ongoing lab workflow
    • Motion Picture: Risk assessment

      • Physical condition assessment including A-D Strip testing and monitoring
  • Enhancement for access

    • Motion Picture: Enhancement for access

      • Color correction and density correction for new film elements
      • Limited enhancement of reproduction and distribution files for improved visual or auditory quality to meet specific institutional needs
  • Stabilization of physical objects

    • Limited mold remediation, rehousing and cleaning for specific formats
    • All physical issues with textual and photographs are referred to Conservation staff.
    • Motion Picture: Stabilization of physical objects

      • Repair of cracks, tears, broken / missing perforations, and other physical damage
  • Technical Services

    • Technical metadata identification, collection, validation and schema development
    • Tool identification, evaluation and testing
    • Format obsolescence monitoring
    • Quality assurance program development
    • Quality control of digital products through automated systems and human driven processes
    • Equipment identification, evaluation, monitoring, testing and maintenance
  • Technical Support

    • Motion Picture: Technical Support

      • Format obsolescence monitoring including digital format issues and film stock availability
  • Education and Training

    • Cross training provided for NARA staff (including Regions and Presidential Libraries)
    • Teach internal and external workshops and other classes
    • Host interns and lead departmental tours
    • Give presentations at professional conferences
    • Author articles, publications, or programs for internal and external journals as well as for events
  • Collaboration and outreach beyond NARA

    • Participate in the development of tools and standards
    • Monitor technical compliance with industry standards
    • Survey developments in comparable institutions in both process and products
    • Motion Picture: Collaboration and outreach beyond NARA

      • Develop and maintain essential relevant interaction beyond NARA through active participation in professional organizations such as Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC), and others
      • Participate in cooperative preservation initiatives including the Orphan Film Symposium, AMPAS Oscar Nominees and Winners, Pacific Film Archive Programs, Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum Symposia, National Film Preservation Foundation projects and others
      • Collaborate on joint projects and technical evaluations with other professional institutions including The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the Library of Congress (LoC), The George Eastman House (GEH), The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), and UCLA.

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The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
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