Please use the NFSA catalogue to identify and request access to specific NFSA collection items.
For questions about accessing and using the NFSA collection, please submit an Access enquiry form.
The Access team prioritises requests with clear deadlines from the audiovisual industry, media, cultural and education sectors, and we will respond to these requests within 5 working days.
For urgent requests we aim to respond the same day we receive the request.
For all other requests we will provide an initial response within 10 to 15 working days.
Collection ownership, including copyright
NFSA in-kind support
Time-coded preview materials
Master material delivery formats
Why we may not be able to provide access
Start your collection research
Submit an Access request
How we will assist you
Help us help you
Frequently Asked Questions
Our Access team provides services to professionals working in the:
For members of the general public, see our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out the many ways you can access the NFSA collection.
We've compiled the following information to help Access clients know what to expect. We've also included what to be aware of when working with an archival collection.
The Access team facilitates:
The NFSA does not own copyright in a large percentage of materials in our collection.
Depending on the specific material you would like to use there could be additional rights to consider, such as Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights, moral rights and donor or depositor rights.
Understanding rights is important because it affects how we provide access to the collection as well as the obligations you will need to meet to use our materials.
The NFSA charges fees for Access services. Our staff will provide you with quotes at each stage of your request so that you have a clear understanding of the costs involved prior to any work being undertaken.
For more information, including NFSA rates and Frequently Asked Questions about our fees, please see Access Fees and Conditions of Use.
Please note that not all collection materials are available under these initiatives and fees and conditions apply.
If you do not qualify for Zero Fee Licence or Take Three, your request will be handled as a standard access request and will be subject to our standard Access Fees and Conditions of Use.
The NFSA’s mission to collect, preserve and share Australia’s audiovisual heritage means that our Access services differ from a commercial supplier of stock footage, sound and images.
One of the NFSA’s priorities is to digitise its vast analogue collection. This is an ongoing effort, and some of our collection hasn’t been digitised yet. Material in analogue format will take longer to access.
When working with an archival collection, it takes time to:
We suggest allowing a minimum of eight weeks in your production or project schedule. Turnaround times will vary greatly and the process could be quicker or take much longer depending on the nature, scale and complexity of your request.
If you locate footage from the NFSA collection online that you are interested in using, please submit your request through the NFSA catalogue. For a modest fee we can supply you with a time-coded preview copy.
Working from time-coded preview materials in the research and ‘rough cut’ phase of your project will enable you (and us!) to accurately identify collection material and to efficiently locate any clips we need to supply as master quality copies for your final cut.
Choosing not to purchase time-coded screeners at the beginning of your project might result in additional costs later on, to cover our staff’s time to eye-match your master order.
We can supply master material in just about any digital file format you require. But keep in mind that the quality of a digital master will reflect the format and condition of the original analogue materials used to create it.
For instance, not all moving image titles in the collection can be made available in HD, 2K or 4K. And where deterioration or production faults are present in an analogue master, these issues cannot always be rectified.
If you have specific requirements, please provide full technical specifications to the staff member handling your request. Then we can confirm if we can supply the collection material you are interested in, to your specifications.
Sometimes, the item you request will not be available. If we are unable to provide access, we will give you a reason. It will usually be because the item is not held in an accessible audiovisual format or because a restriction is in place.
Preserving the collection at the highest international archival standards is a huge undertaking and not all items are held in an accessible audiovisual format. Our staff assess Access enquiries on a case-by-case basis and the NFSA reserves the right to determine which analogue titles, if any, can be prioritised for digitisation at the request of clients.
‘Restrictions may apply’ appears in the catalogue record for collection items with restrictions. Material may be restricted for a range of reasons, such as:
We encourage our clients to complete their own collection research by searching online:
We will assign a member of our team to your enquiry and they will be the primary point of contact for your request.
Our staff are experienced at guiding clients through the process of accessing the collection for research, copies and loans. But the work of researching our catalogues, tracing rights holders and obtaining rights clearances will be your responsibility.
We undertake to:
If you have an urgent query about an active request and are unable to reach your NFSA Access contact, please submit an Access enquiry form.
We understand that our clients’ work is often deadline driven and that your priorities and requirements may change during the course of your request.
We ask that you:
About the collection
Accessing or using the collection
How is the general public able to access the collection?
Is everything in the collection online?
Can I use collection material published on the NFSA’s website, online platforms and social media channels?
Can I link to collection material published online?
A member of my family appears in the collection – can I get a copy?
I’m a fan of an item in the collection – can I get a copy?
See Access Fees and Conditions of Use for FAQs about our fees.
From the oldest surviving film and sound recording produced in Australia (both from1896) to the present day, the NFSA collection captures a ‘living’ record of the nation. A record of Australia's people, places and events – of who we are and were, and who we want to be.
Films, sound recordings and other audiovisual works in the collection include:
A large part of the collection is also made up of documentation and artefacts and includes:
The NFSA collection is very large (over 3 million items) but it is not a complete repository of Australia’s entire audiovisual heritage. There are several reasons for this:
No legal deposit for audiovisual works in Australia
This means that creators and/or copyright owners are not obliged to provide a copy of their work to the NFSA.
Survival of audiovisual works
By their nature, audiovisual recording formats are often physically fragile and quickly become obsolete as technology changes. Some works are not in the NFSA collection simply because no copies are known to survive.
Our work to collect Australia’s audiovisual heritage is a twofold task of bringing newly-produced works into the collection and finding and recovering older works. See Most Wanted for a list of works that our curators are currently searching for.
Curatorially-driven Collection Policy
We acquire audiovisual works for the collection in line with our Collection Policy.
It’s not practical for us to collect everything. Our curators choose what material is acquired for the collection.
The work is held by another collecting institution
Our curators may decide not to acquire an audiovisual work for the NFSA collection if it is already preserved in the collection of other collecting institutions.
Copyright and other intellectual property rights in audiovisual materials are complex. For further information please see Collection Ownership and Copyright.
The public is able to access many titles from the collection online. For further details, including relevant links, please see ‘Is everything in the collection online?’, below.
The public can also access the collection by using our Access Centres service.
Many NFSA exhibitions, screenings and events feature material from the collection. To find out events and exhibitions, please visit What's On.
No. But a lot is!
Hundreds of hours of material from the collection are available to view and listen to online for free. You can browse:
NFSA Online Shop – selected titles from the collection, including Film Australia documentaries, are available to purchase as digital files from our Online Shop for use by educational institutions, cultural institutions and individuals
Kanopy – if you are a member of a public library, you can stream selected titles from the collection for free on Kanopy
Education Shop – some titles can be also purchased from The Education Shop
Ozflix – selected NFSA classic films are available to stream on Ozflix
NFSA Gifts – the NFSA has thousands of beautiful and iconic images in the collection. A selection of these images is available for you to purchase your own unique prints and gifts
Social media – to keep up to date with all the latest NFSA stories, collection finds and news, we invite you to follow us on:
Unless stated explicitly, NFSA collection material published on our website, online platforms and social media channels is not automatically available for others to use. While you may not download and republish or reuse the content, you may use the sharing functionalities available on social media channels or link to the content.
If you have found footage, sound or images from the collection online and you would like to republish or use the material in any way, please submit an Access enquiry form.
We are generally happy for organisations and individuals to link to NFSA collection material as it appears on our websites or social media channels.
Depending on the specific collection material that you want to link to, there may be a requirement to attribute the donor and/or copyright holder in addition to acknowledging the NFSA. So please inform us and check the correct attribution by contacting email@example.com.
If you have a proven, direct personal connection to a work in the collection then we may be able to supply a copy to you.
Availability will depend on several factors, such as copyright, the condition of the material and the format in which the work is held.
We assess these types of request on a case-by-case basis. Access Fees and Conditions of Use apply.
The NFSA does not provide copies of collection material for personal use or interest.
We are only able to offer onsite viewing in a NFSA office or a state library. See Access Centres for location details.
See Access Fees and Conditions of Use for FAQs about our fees.
Depending on the nature of the material that you are looking for, you could try:
Trove – the National Library of Australia’s Trove can assist you to locate audiovisual items held in the collections of libraries around Australia
South-East Asia-Pacific Audio Visual Archive Association (SEAPAVAA) maintains a list of audiovisual archives in countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific.