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London’s Screen Archives - How to Archive Film and Video

Date posted: 09.07.2019

Earlier this month, our London’s Screen Archives team led an introductory course on the identification and handling of archive film and video at the London Metropolitan Archives. Designed for archivists, librarians, curators and anyone working in heritage who wanted to extend their skills into archive film and video, attendees ranged from people working in the archive industry to master’s students and volunteers with a general interest.

David Whorlow, our collections and volunteer coordinator, started off the course with a lively and informative lecture on moving image milestones and a brief history of film. David led the attendees through a series of ground-breaking moments for film and video, from the first full length ‘talkie’ film in the UK, Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail, and the arrival of the BBC in 1936, to the rise of home movies and modern film phenomenon’s such as arguably the most famous 8mm film of the 20th century – the home video footage capturing the assassination of John F Kennedy.  Alongside this, there was also a practical focus to the talk, teaching attendees how to handle legacy film and video formats, how to date and time archive footage, and how to store and protect tapes for future use.   

After a lunch break, attendees were tasked with a practical workshop where they were asked to decipher the dates and times of various film reels and tape, using what they had learnt through the morning’s talk. During this workshop, David explained further ways identify and safely handle moving image material.

London’s Screen Archives is a unique network of over 70 organisations with a shared vision – to preserve and share London’s history on film. They work with local and borough archives, museums, galleries and community groups to digitise films and ensure the long-term sustainability of their moving image collections, as well as offering opportunities for public engagement through screenings and events, volunteering programmes, training and education. If you are interested in finding out more about London’s Screen Archives,  please visit their website here.

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