Preserving and Maximising The Potential of Your Archive Films
16th May 2017
The Importance of Archives
In any field of endeavour, the historical perspective is important. We can learn from the past and history has a way of repeating itself. Archives are important because they tell the truth or, at least, less biased accounts of events than secondary sources. They increase the sense of identity and understand culture as well as allowing us to appreciate the roles people played.
There are three types of archiving; paper, film and digital. Paper is very fragile and can be expensive to store, search and share. More companies are digitising their paper archives. While it is very labour intensive and expensive, it preserves documents and makes them searchable.
There are very few benefits to archiving film. It is expensive to store and the quality degrades over time. Many companies have precious films that have been lying in storage or in a basement and, as each day passes, they lose these priceless films due to decay. Digitising film makes it easy to save, store and share. There is little physical labour required and it allows it to become universally available and searchable.
Your History on Film
Your history is an asset and you need to make the most of it at every opportunity. Your families put your memories on film – and now is the time to take them back off, and to put them to work for you.
Archives are of absolutely no value to your company unless they are available and accessible in the right format for your potential customers to consume.
Prior to this century there wasn’t a huge amount of urgency to digitise as it was expensive, and the opportunities to showcase the films was limited. The growth of the internet, company websites, Facebook and Twitter has changed all of that. Scanning can now be carried out to the highest resolution (no more grainy video tapes). Your archive films can be remarkably cost-effective promotional tools.
Discover & Digitising Archive Film
The most immediate thing you need to do is to discover what is on your films. With advanced, cost-efficient technology, you can now see a low resolution ‘viewer’ copy. This will reveal the content of each film and allow you to decide what material is worth fully digitising and what isn’t. Previously, the only option open to companies was to fully digitise and, consequently, many of them paid thousands of pounds - only to discover their films were blank.
The ‘viewer’ copies will also identify the quality of the film and from here you can then begin the process to digitise your archive. This can be done in stages, and allows you to prioritise the most important content.
Archive film that’s been stored over a long period of time is often very fragile and requires a digitising process that is gentle to film.
Maximising The Value of Your Content
Now that you have preserved your precious content you need to maximise it’s value. Every company website should showcase its films. Your history, heritage, reliability and reputation have been created through many years of trading – and your archive films provide the evidence of that history. This is especially true for family companies, whose history often goes back decades or even centuries.
Some of our clients use their film footage in their receptions – providing them with a far more powerful reminder to their visitors and staff of their past than a few tired old prints hanging on the walls. Historical footage shown on the latest digital technology heightens the impact.
Many companies create their own short stories from their films and use these at their ‘away-days’ and induction days to remind their staff of the company’s heritage, to show them just how far the company has come, and to provide inspiration for the future. A look back through the decades gives staff a perspective on the continuous improvements in manufacturing and equipment.
Archive films can be used on social media, Facebook, Twitter and for marketing material – something that newer companies cannot do.
Major TV advertisers, like Hovis and Mercedes, use their heritage in their advertising – and Heinz is currently creating huge publicity on the 50th Anniversary of “Beanz, Meanz Heinz’.
There are now thousands of different TV and internet channels and, as they all battle for elusive viewers, unique, original content is king – and there’s not enough of it around. Broadcasters, documentary makers, film companies and clip sales organisations will pay high prices for unique, landmark content – which could appear in films, documentaries or adverts. Imagine the publicity a company could gain from a historical documentary about them aired on National TV.
Finally, we recently showed a client a film we’d digitised from their ‘new’ factory opening in the early 1960’s. The film brought tears to his eyes – the opportunity to see his family again, alive and smiling. It really brought home to him just how far the business had come since those early days.
iMetaFilm is a new film digitisation company that specialises in 8mm,16mm and 35mm films. It is a family business started by husband and wife, Michael and Linda Howell. Their work has has been showcased recently on both the BBC and ITV news programmes, available on the company's website at www.imetafilm.com
iMetaFilm works with commercial companies, private collections and Government organisations, throughout the UK and abroad.