Two film canisters sit on a table service with the film partially unwound.

Film services

Film services

The NFSA collection holds over 135,000 individual cans of film; of this number more than 100,000 cans are preservation or original material.

Our Film Services team cleans, digitises and performs various post-production works on motion picture film. The collection is made up of nitrate, acetate and polyester stock bases. As part of this challenge, damaged, shrunken or brittle film in particular requires specialist experience, knowledge, handling processes and equipment.

Film Cleaning

We clean films using ultrasonics and delicate buffer rollers in the specialised cleaning solvent.

Film Digitisation

Our Film Services team digitally capture original film elements using a range of scanning platforms to recognised international digital preservation standards. The following film gauges are currently supported:

  • Standard 8mm
  • Super 8mm
  • 9.5mm
  • 16mm
  • 35mm


Using high-end edit suites and software packages, the team create files for digital distribution and browsing. Some of the functions we perform include:

  • Grading: Correction of colours, contrast and density of image. This is often challenging when dealing with films that have issues relating to dye fade or original camera negative film stocks.
  • Editing: This may consist of comparing different film elements of the same feature film or assembling complex A- and B-roll film elements to exact scene changes, fades and dissolves.
  • Compiling image and audio components to replicate the original film.