British Film Institute (UK)
Unlocking Film Heritage (UFH) is one of the 3 key strategic aims within the BFI’s 2012-17 National Lottery-funded Film Forever strategy. With an ambition to digitise, preserve and make accessible 10,000 film titles, the BFI has consulted with partners across UK collections to harmonise and document technical standards for both essence and metadata and negotiated a common tariff on behalf of the project for commercial digitisation and restoration services. All films digitised through UFH are being presented to the UK public through the web-based BFI Player, with the majority being free to view.
In addition to the curation, digitisation and presentation of 10,000 films, the BFI has built a state of the art data centre and is creating a new Digital Preservation Infrastructure (DPI), designed to operate seamlessly with the existing collections database (CID) that will enable processes for ingest, media asset management, long term preservation and access to benefit all BFI digital collections. Through the UFH project, technology transformation is being applied across the BFI conservation centre with the introduction of the latest digital film image/sound scanning and restoration systems. While maintaining all essential analogue expertise, existing conservation staff, through a programme of training and hands on practise, will develop new skills and processes, enabling full end to end archive workflows to meet the needs and demands for both analogue and digital preservation and access.
Charles Fairall has worked at the BFI for 29 years and as Head of Conservation has primary responsibility for leading the technical teams to preserve and make accessible the extensive moving image collections which constitute the BFI National Archive. Significant recent projects that Charles has contributed to include: creation of the BFI Master Film Store; restoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s earliest films and transformation of the archive’s operations to meet the challenges of a digital world. Charles is currently leading initiatives within the BFI’s Unlocking Film Heritage project on technical standards and procedures and the further enhancement of the archive’s digital capabilities and technical infrastructure.