Category Archives: Archiving Practice

53 Years of Fixtures, 1 Collection, 18 Months’ Work – In a Jar

- By Mishelle Muāgututi’a and Tracy White (Documentation Archivists, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision)MishStaples

Pictured are some (not all) of the metal fixtures from one of the largest collections (Pacific Films Productions) in Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Documentation Collection. Their removal was one part of the preservation process for these materials, after assessment and preliminary accessioning of the entire collection. Fixtures such as staples, wiro bindings, bull clips, pins, and metal clasps can over time damage archival documents by creating indents, tears and rust residue; therefore we have been removing them in favour of gentler methods of holding documents together. The fixtures are either removed completely, or replaced with archival brass clips or folded sheets of paper.

This one project involved:

  • 2 full-time staff members (4-6 hours per day, depending on other archiving needs)
  • 4 volunteers (6 hours each per week)
  • 18 months to stabilise and remove 53 years of staples and metal fixtures, and rehouse material in acid free enclosures
  • 270 archival boxes – containing various types of documentation (including financial records, production records, personal papers, periodicals, press and publicity, books, flyers, posters, still images, artefacts, and textiles related to this one production company)

We would like to extend our thanks to the following volunteers for all of their time and effort on this project: Jill Goodwin, Shona Fretwell, Daisy Wang, and Gema Ibanez.

Learn more about Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Documentation Collection, and the range of materials it encompasses.

GarethAudioArchivingAus

Audio Archiving in Australia

In November, Gareth Watkins, the Radio Collection Developer at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, visited a number of Australian archives and attended the Australasian Sound Recordings Association conference in Sydney. Some of the interesting learnings he brought back with him follow.

The conference’s theme was “Play It Forward – Sustainability in a Time of Rapid Change,” and it explored the many issues faced by audiovisual institutions in order to remain sustainable into the future.

Watch Gareth’s report back to staff on his travels:

Links of Interest

- By Gareth Watkins

 

Minor corrections to the above presentation:

  1. The buy-up of Studer tape parts was in 2004 (not in 2014 as mentioned)
  2. The NFSA “intern” describing collection items is actually a volunteer role

Digitally Future-proofing Aotearoa’s Stories

I really believe the digital era increases the possibilities for us to connect our material to current and future generations.”

-Richard Falkner, Moving Image Conservator, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Falkner with the ARRISCAN.
Falkner with the ARRISCAN.

This year, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision became caretaker of a powerful piece of film restoration technology. A partnership with the New Zealand Film Commission and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage facilitated the arrival of the ARRISCAN, all the way from ARRI Motion Picture Company in Germany.

The ARRISCAN is the industry standard 16 and 35mm film scanner. In the past, its primary use was in post-production facilities to scan film negative to be edited and manipulated in an intermediate digital process, eventually being printed back out onto film negative for copying and distribution. Now considered the creme-de-la-creme for film digitisation, the ARRISCAN has a significant role to play in the protection of archival moving image footage and in turn, promises generational access to the stories this footage holds.

Screencaptured images showing ITV’s ‘Poirot’ (16mm, 1989)  before and after ARRISCAN treatment. <br />  Read the full article on POIROT's restoration on <a title="ARRI Group" href="http://www.arri.de/DE/news/news/little-grey-cells/">ARRI's website</a>, which also lays out the tech-specs. <br />  <i> ‘The development of the ARRISCAN film scanner enables high-resolution, high-dynamic range, pin-registered film scanning for use in the digital intermediate process.” Representing the first step in transferring film images into the digital realm, the ARRISCAN enables practically limitless creative possibilities in the DI. It utilises a specially designed CMOS area sensor mounted on a micro-positioning platform and a custom LED light source.'</i>
Screencaptured images showing ITV’s Poirot (16mm, 1989)  before and after ARRISCAN treatment.
Read the full article on POIROT’s restoration on ARRI’s website.
“The development of the ARRISCAN film scanner enables high-resolution, high-dynamic range, pin-registered film scanning for use in the digital intermediate process.” Representing the first step in transferring film images into the digital realm, the ARRISCAN enables practically limitless creative possibilities in the DI. It utilises a specially designed CMOS area sensor mounted on a micro-positioning platform and a custom LED light source.”

The significance of these tech-specs will be lost on laymen (e.g. yours truly), but clearly this beast has some pretty grunty technical ability. The moving image conservation team found that out first hand in February, when they went to Singapore for a crash course on what these kinds of incredible machines are capable of.

So let’s get real – what does the ARRISCAN mean for the moving image collection at Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision? Continue reading

The Port of Napier delved into its archives and located this picture of Captain McLachlan, who served as Harbourmaster from 1938-1948

Could a Captain of the Rivers of Rum be one of our ‘Mystery Voices of Gallipoli’?

A distinctive accent may be the key to matching a second of the mystery voices of Gallipoli to an identity: Hawke’s Bay navy veteran, Captain Alexander McLachlan.

 Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s ‘mystery voices of Gallipoli’ are five unnamed men interviewed by the late Napier broadcaster Laurie Swindell in January 1969. Swindell used the interviews to create a powerful radio documentary, simply called ANZAC. 

[ANZAC (1969). Archival audio from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. Any re-use of this audio is a breach of Copyright. To request a copy of the recording, please contact us.]

In ANZAC, the anonymous veterans recalled the brutal conditions they experienced in Gallipoli. The first speaker describes his service as an officer aboard the Saturnia, the Royal Navy vessel that transported ANZAC troops to Gallipoli in 1915. The man’s rich Scottish accent adds to the weight and emotion of his story, which describes how poorly prepared they were to receive the unexpectedly high number of casualties that had to be evacuated to hospitals in Greece and Egypt. Continue reading

‘A’? Runaw_y letter searches for identity

One of the great thrills (and benefits) of processing and describing documentation collections, is the discovery and ‘making visible’ of fascinating contextual material. Over the last 10 months, while working on the records of Pacific Films Productions Ltd., we have been fortunate to gain intimate insights into the development of this key New Zealand film production company – which was based in Wellington from 1948 to 1992. Among the records surrounding the more than 400 titles that Pacific Films produced over the years, we can only imagine the legacy that remains to be discovered, and we thought we would share just one of the many interesting items found recently.

Photographs by Mishelle Muagututi'a: Letters against the wall of the Research Room, level 2.
Photographs by Mishelle Muagututi’a: Letters against the wall of the Research Room, level 2.

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The Last Stand

Virginia Callanan (Film Archive Director of Systems Development) tells us about recent preservation work on Rudall Hayward’s The Last Stand.

 

Timeline:
1925 Release of silent film Rewi’s Last Stand 
1937 – 1939 Rudall Hayward works on a new sound film Rewi’s Last Stand
1940 New Zealand release of sound film Rewi’s Last Stand, 112 mins
1943 Ramai te Miha marries Rudall Hayward
1946 They depart to work in Britain
1949 British release of The Last Stand, 63 mins
1954 – 1955 The Last Stand theatrical release in New Zealand
1970 The Last Stand screens on New Zealand television

Film poster for "Rewi's Last Stand."
Film poster for “Rewi’s Last Stand” (1940).

The internal histories of different versions of the same story are as fascinating to archivists as the external histories of different prints. Together they provide us with the clues needed to uphold the film maker’s intentions. Ideally the version seen by initial audiences should coexist with, rather than be replaced by, a version seen by later audiences. Sadly, this was not the case with Rewi’s Last Stand / The Last Stand. Continue reading

Accession 02/030/273

- By Marie O’Connell (SANTK Preservation Archivist)

The Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero acquired this accession in 2002 and it makes up part of the Bill Beavis Collection.

What is unique about this is that it is made up of two completely different formats of analogue media – one being rare Sound Mirror paper tape developed in 1946, and the other being two lacquer discs from 1940. It is possible that Bill Beavis himself engineered this crude but very ‘kiwi’ open reel tape as he was unable to acquire an actual 10.5 inch reel.

Image: Marie O'Connell.
Image: Marie O’Connell.

 

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New Nitrate Film Vault

The New Zealand Film Archive and Archives New Zealand recently opened New Zealand’s first specialised nitrate film vault. The new 100 square metre vault is shared by the two organisations, which will store nitrocellulose film there under controlled preservation conditions.

Nitrate film is fragile and needs a high level of care. This type of film is flammable and prone to deterioration over time. The new vault has been designed to prolong the life of nitrate films by slowing deterioration. As well as having built-in safety mechanisms, the environment inside the vault is well-suited for nitrate film storage – with a stable and closely monitored  temperature and relative humidity.

The vault – photographed at the early morning opening ceremony (photo by Jamie Lean).
The vault – photographed at the early morning opening ceremony (photo by Jamie Lean).

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SANTK Staff on Life Post-Earthquakes

This Saturday will be the three-year anniversary of the February 22, 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero main office was forced to move to new premises following the earthquake, where they remain today. SANTK Preservation Archivists John Kelcher and Marie O’Connell tell us about the effects of the earthquakes on their work and the post-quake recovery efforts.

Photo by John Kelcher.

Photo by John Kelcher.
Photo by John Kelcher.

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Film Restoration School Asia

- By Richard Falkner, NZFA Film Handler

National Museum of Singapore.
National Museum of Singapore.

In late November my colleague Hepi Mita and I were lucky enough to attend the first Film Restoration School Asia, hosted by the National Museum of Singapore and tutored by staff from L’Immagine Ritrovata.  The program was based on a longer school run by L’Immagine Ritrovata, in their native Bologna, Italy, and included workshops on film comparison, film repair, scanning, digital restoration, colour correction, sounds restoration and history, and film mastering. Also lectures and presentations were made on the subjects of restoration workflow, film identification, film scanning strategies, and restoration strategies for 16mm film, among others. Continue reading