Quality checking


Ensuring copies have a predictable degree of uniformity and dependability at low cost with a quality suited to the market, several points should be considered:

  • Perfection is not really obtainable, so the question is how much imperfection is acceptable. Take into account the condition of the original, and if the original is too broken or buckled, you cannot expect to have perfect steadiness. If the original is too faded, you cannot expect to have the optimum contrast.
  • The film should be viewed on a reasonably sized screen — say about 2 meters wide — where faults are picked up with more certainty than on a small screen on an editing table. Projecting the original and the copy side by side on adjacent screens helps to see whether a fault was in the original or has been introduced in the copying.
  • Another device which can help to reveal any unsteadiness, is to enlarge the gate speture of the projector so that not only the picture and sound track appear on the screen, but also part of the perforations of the copy. It is common for part of the perforations of the original to be imaged on the copy beside the picture. Then any relative movement between the two sets of perforations means some unsteadiness introduced in the copying. Lateral weave may also then be more readily observed. If the height of the projector aperture is increased so that a frameline appears at the top and the bottom of the screen, then any vertical jump introduced by a step printer is clearly revealed.
  • It is sensible that the check is made by someone completely independently of the producers of the film, preferable someone who is answerable to the Archive.

Brown, H., 1985, Basic Film Handling, in FIAF Technical Manual First Edition, FIAF Preservation Commission, Federation Internationale des Archives du Film, Brussels, Belgium