When you think about audiovisual heritage, old film reels surface now and then. In cartoons and exciting detectives, these reels tend to burn on crucial moments. The real danger? Vinegar syndrome. Luckily we managed to preserve somewhat 800 affected films with two digitisation projects. A survey among our content partners taught us that the number of films doubled since the start of film digitisation in 2013. It’s about time to launch a new procurement and instigate the third film digitisation project.
The next few years our focus will still be on films affected by vinegar syndrome. This third film digitisation project will therefore continue to work on the digitisation of 16mm and 35mm tape, of which the current procurement will end in October. New this time will be the digitisation of the smalfilm formats 8mm, super8 and 9,5mm. Smalfilm is less frequently affected by vinegar syndrome, therefore the number of films that need to be digitised urgently is somewhat lower. The format used to be particularly popular with amateurs and thus will produce a wealth of moving images about, among other things, family life in the twentieth century and local traditions.
This new procurement, that will be granted in October 2018 and runs until the end of 2021, will digitise about 4000 16mm and 35mm films and about 700 smalfilms. These films come from the depots of more than 60 different content partners, including somewhat 500 16mm films from the VRT archive that have been affected by vinegar syndrome. The films of content partners, other than VRT, will first pass through Cinematek, the Royal Belgian Film Archive, where a lot of expertise about film is gathered. Over there, films are described technically and in terms of content. Given the high cost of the digitisation of film, our content partners will also consider arguments concerning content for their final selection.
Interested parties can download the procurement file on the Belgian platform for e-tendering.