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Spring 2006 – Alternating Fridays (more or less), 12:30-4:30 PM, BB Optics, 108 Franklin Street #4W


Film Preservation


Instructors: Bill Brand, miap@bboptics.com; 212-966-6253


This class will give students practical experience with the process of film preservation including understanding and recognizing film elements, making inspection reports, repairing film, making preservation plans, understanding laboratory processes and procedures for making new film preservation elements, and writing preservation histories.  The course will teach students how to work with vendors, increase knowledge of archival standards, introduce problems of decision-making, technical requirements, preparation and workflow, and overall project management.  The class will undertake and complete an actual film preservation project and follow the steps from start to finish.

Student Papers


Each student will do several assignments involving writing a preservation grant proposal, preservation plan, inspection report and preservation history.  Students will be expected to acquire practical knowledge of film handling and will be evaluated on basic theoretical and practical skills.  A large portion of class time will be dedicated to completing the class project and students will be expected to participate in every stage. Attendance at all classes is expected unless excused. Grades will be based on a combination of class preparedness and participation (60%) and written assignments (40%).


There is no required text for this class but students are encouraged to obtain Read, Paul & Mark-Paul Meyer, Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Butterworth Heinemann, 2000, ISMB: 0 7506 2793 X, and Ascher, Steven and Edward Pincus, The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age Plume. 1999, ISBN 0452279577.  Other readings will be on reserve in the Bobst Library and the Study Center in the Cinema Studies Department, 6th floor, 721 Broadway, or will be provided as handouts or as URL references on the World Wide Web.





CLASS 1: Jan 20 - Introduction       

Location:  BB Optics

CLASS 2 : Feb 3

Location:  BB OpticsScreen class portrait film (30 min)

  • Look at timing report, negative & print
  • Questions about reading
  • Technical issues for restoration (30 min)
  • 16mm, 35mm, 8mm, Super-8, 9.5mm (other small gauge)
  • Inspection reports (30 min.)
  • Example forms: Screensound, NFPF, Goldbergs, Wojnarowicz, Shutter Interface, McDowell example
  • Read: Handout  - Inspection form
  • Inspection, identification & repair: Bruce Naumann example
  • Read: Handout -Suzanne R. Schnepp, On Time:  Approaches to the Conservation of Film, Videotape, and Digital Media, Museum Studies 31.2, Conservation at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Read: Jon Gartenberg, The Fragile Emulsion   http://kmi.lux.org.uk/casestudies/fragile.htm
  • Film preservation plans  (60 min)
    Vendor facility
  • Introduce class project.  View  Split Decision (30 min)
  • Creating preservation plan (60 min.)
    Split Decision example
  • Writing Proposal for Funding National Film Preservation Fund Masters of the Avant Garde exampl


CLASS 3: Feb 17

Location:  BB Optics

  • Studio layout (30 min.)
  • Equipment
  • Splicers, Synchronizers, Rewinds, Tightwind, Split reels, Spacers, Clamps, Loupes, Viewer, Cleaning, Ventilation, Gloves, Optical Printer
  • Practice splicing (45 min.)
  • Find: Camera reversal originals, Matte loops, Negative A & B rolls, Sound elements
  • Hand out Class project film papers, discuss (15 min.)
  • Inspect materials & prepare for lab. (120 min.)
  • Discuss ongoing BB Optics preservation projects (30 min.)
    • Larry Gottheim: Horizons, Four Shadows, Tree of Knowledge
    • Robert Huot: Masks, Reels 1971
    • Guggenheim Museum: Frank Lloyd Wright & museum construction
    • Fales Library: David Wojnarowicz reels


Revise NFPF Avant Garde Masters proposal for Class project film  -  Due via email before March 3.

CLASS 4 March 3

Location: Trackwise at Fullhouse Production

  • Audio restoration
  • Visit Trackwise at Fullhouse Production - 23 W.18th St. 7th Floor  (between 6th Ave. & 7th Ave.)
    New York NY 10011
  • Tour and discussion by Fran Bowen
  • Inspection and transfer of Class project film sound trac


Write preservation history


CLASS 5: March 24

Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Location: Columbia, SC, Orphans Symposium, University of South Carolina

View Class project film check print



(to be confirmed)
Location: Rockville, MD

  • Field Trip to Colorlab, 5708 Arundel Ave., Rockville MD 20852
  • Tour lab including nitrate preservation department
  • Supervise telecine Class project film

April 18
Anthology Film Archives

  • Premiere of preserved Class project film
  • BB Optics 30th Anniversary program #5

CLASS 7 April 21

Location: BB Optics

  • Recanning and labeling Class project film original and preservation materials. (120 min.)
  • Special problems and solutions for film restoration including: (90 min.)
  • Digital Restoration of Film
  • Cleaning film
    • Hand cleaning, Cleaners & solvents, Safety
    • Machine cleaning: Ultrasonic cleaners, PTR rollers, Inspection & cleaning machines
  • Restoration in case of fire, flood & disasters
  • Special problems
  • Vinegar syndrome, Mold, Rust, Shrinkage, Cyan dye fading (red shift), Crazing, Ferrotyping, Scratches, Rewashing, Wet gate printing
  • Course Summary and celebration (30 min.)
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