Equal Access Network Virtual Masterclass - Demystifying Archives

Latest 22 Mar 2024

News Story

At an exciting time, which has recently seen pioneering film archivist, June Givanni awarded a BAFTA for her outstanding contribution to British cinema, Film London’s Equal Access Network (EAN) members were recently introduced to the world of film and video archives in a virtual masterclass collaboration, presented by London’s Screen Archives (LSA).

The masterclass was presented by LSA Assistant, Amy Keegan and LSA Manager, Bea Harbour. Through their unique network of over 70 organisations, the LSA team of film archivists are safeguarding the city’s screen heritage across film, video, and digital media. United by a collective vision to preserve and share London’s history on film, LSA works with their members to ensure the long-term sustainability of their moving image collections, while also offering opportunities for public engagement through educational screenings, training, and volunteer programmes.

With over 40 EAN members in attendance, the masterclass explored the intricacies of technical specifications of analogue film and video, the evolution of filmmaking over the 20th century, and best practices for safeguarding film and video for future generations.

Despite archives often being associated with old or even obsolete materials, connections were made during the session between the analogue media of previous decades, with the prevailing popularity of film across many major film productions today. In the last year alone, films such as Oppenheimer, Past Lives, and Originhave each used specific film gauges to achieve a desired visual quality and texture to give viewers a more sensory cinematic experience.

Amy described for us an experience of receiving a collection of small-gauge film from the family of their late grandfather who had been an avid amateur filmmaker.

“In their attic, I think they found lots of old film cans…across our collections, we don't just have professional footage; we have lots of amateur film footage as well, which is great for capturing the social history of our city”, she explained.

Bea concluded the masterclass, introducing valuable networks and relevant opportunities for members to explore archives further. These included: FLAMIN (Film London Artists' Moving Image Network), AMIA (The Association of Moving Image Archivists), and FOCAL (Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries).

As the impetus to preserve film, video, and even digital-born media grows, the masterclass highlighted the importance of collaboration and engagement with such networks in order to uphold communities’ heritage on screen.

The EAN would like to thank the LSA team for presenting this fascinating session, which was delivered with the support of the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding.