Technical selection procedure


The examination of numerous copies of a particular title/production to determine if a complete copy exists or if different versions exist, and to determine if restoration/preservation work is required to fully preserve the title/production.

The technical selection process ensures that titles/productions are fully preserved including making access copies available, as required. Any excess copies/segments etc can be removed from the collection to provide valuable storage space for other titles/productions. All computer records are to be updated to ensure operators have access to all relevant technical information and history of decisions made.

Procedures used by the NFSA are as follows:

1. Examine all copies that exist. Do not necessarily dismiss components that are obviously shorter than the title’s original length. Record the following technical details for each copy that exists:

  • Film stock manufacturer details – stock date etc.
  • Tech code(s)
  • Exact lengths – a shot list may be required
  • Picture content – differing versions, reel composition, outakes, off-cuts etc
  • Physical condition & condition degree – damage, scratches, shrinkage, brittleness, decomposition, perforation types, etc
  • Photographic quality – print-through, generation details, exposure density, frameline problems, picture steadiness, etc
  • Colour (if appropriate) – colour system employed, colour saturation, fading etc.
  • Optical sound track (if appropriate) – type of track, quality of sound, completeness etc.

2. Update all computer records, recording all findings from the above.

3. Determine a theoretical copy history for all components of the title. Draw up a copy history chart — you may be able to confirm copy history by print-through observations.

4. Identify the best component(s) for copying.

5. Write a report detailing findings and recommendations for supervisor, identifying:

  • Best component for preservation
  • Various components for a full restoration
  • Best component for video copying, if required
  • Components to be de-accessioned (remove/destroy decomposing or excess material, return to donor/depositor, repatriate material to it’s country of origin)
  • A combination of all of the above.