White Paper: Film scanning considerations

Sound and Vision is one of the six original partners of the programme ‘Images for the Future’ which started in 2007 and finishes in 2014. The main goal of the programme is safeguarding Dutch audiovisual material by realizing maximum accessibility to the material for the targeted user groups. Within the scope of the programme archive material is conserved, digitised and enhanced with metadata to improve search & retrieval.

Within the “Images for the Future” programme about 17.500 hours of material from Sound and Visions film collections must be digitised by mid 2014. On average this amounts to a production of 3.000 hours a year.

The main challenge Sound and Vision faces is to find the so-called sweet spot for the approach of this mass digitization process of its very heterogeneous collection. The sweet spot is the optimal balance between production volume, available budget, time constraints, quality and present and future archival, preservation, access and repurposing requirements. A choice in the digitisation approach and formats will always be a trade-off between these factors. Also, the availability of standards and capabilities of market solutions have to be taken into account.

This document describes the context of the collections, the considerations and choices of Sound and Vision regarding this sweet spot and the current and future digitisation approach. The film scanning considerations presented in this document are of most relevance to institutions or companies with large quantities of (16mm) film material that have to be digitised for access and preservation purposes and that face time and budget constraints that do not allow for a case by case film decision and treatment.