AMIA 2018 recap

Image archiving learnings and takeaways

LAC AMIA booth
LAC Group’s content and archive services booth at AMIA.

LAC Group’s content and archive services division (formerly known as PRO-TEK Vaults) recently attended the 2018 annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), held from November 28th through December 1st in Portland, Oregon.  The AMIA Conference is the largest of its kind and draws attendees from organizations worldwide.

LAC was the only gold-level sponsor of the conference, and we were able to spend real quality time with current clients and meet several potential future clients and archivists.

Supporting future archivists

LAC sponsored the student mixer once again and the turnout and interactions were great. It was well attended and there was much discussion about LAC with the students. One of our operations directors, Donna Holbeck, had this to say:

“It was fabulous! The attendance surpassed our expectations. More than sixty students attended, thanks to some great outreach efforts with the AMIA student committee that encouraged students to go. We had a blast.”

Student mixers give us an opportunity to introduce LAC’s content and archive services to students, and the students a chance to meet LAC and get a better understanding of what we do. This is especially important for those students who will soon be graduating from their preservation or library program who might go on to become future LAC employees. Our content and archive team is always looking to identify, educate and support the next generation of archivists with professional opportunities that allow them to put their archiving skills and interests to work.

LAC’s sponsorship of the student travel grant program is another of our outreach efforts to support future archivists and was very much appreciated by Debora Lucia Vieira Butruce, who is pursuing doctoral research.

lac AMIA student travel
Recipient of LAC’s student travel grant, Debora Lucia Vieira Butruce, with Director of Operations, Donna Holbeck.

Debora is a visiting scholar at the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program (MIAP) at New York University. Our travel grant made it possible for her to attend the conference in Portland. Her research focuses on the audiovisual restoration field by analyzing the historical and technical trajectory of audiovisual restoration in Brazil.

AMIA 2018 screening and session highlights

Several of our division staff attended the conference and mentioned a few of the panel group discussion sessions and screenings as particular standouts:

“Further Freaky Film Formats was my favorite because Dino Everett (UCLA) is one of my favorite presenters and his love for film and what he does makes it fun every time! I loved learning and seeing and hearing the odd format films (17.5/9.5mm) running through the projector just soothes my soul.”

The Comrades in Archiving panel was especially noteworthy.  The panelists discussed a unique archiving project that required locating and preserving a quarter-million feet of unedited footage from Paramount Pictures’ movie Reds:

“Comrades in Archiving was my favorite session because it was well put together and executed. It could have been another hour longer, there was so much great information. It was also rewarding seeing the work of our PRO-TEK colleagues on the screen and noted and appreciated by Paramount”

“Paramount’s Reds interviews: The presentation was a good mixture of practical information about the preservation process and showing the audience clips and content that was engaging.”

Two members of the LAC team thought the panel on the Nitrate Committee’s Flickr page was particularly good. The panel discussed the efforts of a crowdsourcing Flickr forum called the Nitrate Committee, dedicated to identifying unknown films shot on nitrate stock:

“Without a doubt my favorite session was Ten Years of Success: The Nitrate Committee’s Flickr Page, as it revealed a potentially valuable research tool to me which may come in handy for our nitrate still identification ability here in the WB Photo Archive.”

“Among several highlights, I found most useful Rachel Del Gaudio’s (Library of Congress) presentation, Ten Years of Success: The Nitrate Committee’s Flickr Page presentation. Here it was noted that the “Mostly Lost” annual event which Rachel hosts and of which I am familiar, is actually reinforced in its presentation of unknown film stills and clips, by also showcasing them on their own Flickr page, albeit for similar crowd sourced identification. These online posts remain posted on that page, even after identification, and can now be searched, providing another precious source for our own nitrate era still identification needs in our endeavors.”

The LAC team also attended screenings. “The archival screening night offered a nice selection of clips. The early silent comedies were especially interesting,” said one of our LAC staff members.

Two of our employees mentioned a restoration by the Mexican film archive Permanencia Voluntaria Archivo Cinematografico of a late 1950s/early 60s Mexico-Cuba co-production introducing the pop culture “El Santo” character for the first time on screen:

“The Santo movie screening was sensational, as it looked fantastic despite likely coming off a vinegar-syndromed OCN (original camera negative). It had been shot in Batista’s pre-Castro Havana, and was a fascinating time capsule because of it. The AMIA Archival Screening Night was stellar as always, and for many years running, has been my favorite event.”

“Santo Contra El Cerebro del Mal was not what I expected and I was pleasantly surprised. It was completely entertaining and fantastic. Haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. I wish more people had attended. They don’t know what they missed!”

Among other conference event highlights, a member of the LAC team called out a tour of a unique and valuable film institution in the conference’s host city of Portland:

“Movie Madness Video Store & Museum Tour—Movie Madness is a Portland institution. Known for its vast collection, knowledgeable staff and display cases full of legendary film props, the iconic Belmont storefront has a well-earned reputation as one of the best video stores in the country.

When the original owner, Mike Clark, was ready to retire, he approached his friends at the nonprofit Hollywood Theatre to see if they’d be interested in purchasing Movie Madness. After a successful crowdfunding campaign raised more than $315,000, the Hollywood took over ownership of Movie Madness in January 2018. The Hollywood Theatre is dedicated to preserving this cultural resource and keeping this world-class collection accessible to movie lovers in Portland and beyond.”

Noteworthy presentations on digitization, copyright / fair use and meeting archive user needs

No AMIA conference would be complete without informative and valuable sessions covering topics including film and video digitization processes, copyright issues and archiving processes and procedures.

These three panels and poster sessions stood out for their knowledge-sharing on digitization, linked open data and ethical issues around copyrights and fair use and meeting archive user needs.

1. In-House Digitization With the Lossless FFV1 Codec

This poster session was created by Angela Fritz and Erik Dix of the University of Notre Dame. Fritz and Dix outline the implementation of FFV1 as an archiving codec, providing an overview for how to incorporate digitization into the overall management of large audiovisual collections. The poster addresses stages of the digitization process, including:

  • Pre-accession assessment.
  • Rights management.
  • Preservation assessment and conservation treatment.
  • Metadata creation.
  • Finding aid integration.

The poster clearly and comprehensively illustrates an analog reformatting workflow process for an ambitious project to digitize more than four thousand videotapes in the University of Notre Dame archives.

2. Nazi Propaganda as Linked Open Data: A Case Study

This session focused on issues of copyright, ethics, privacy and online public domain re-use of a controversial collection of World War II footage in the National Socialist propaganda collection. Featuring Julia Vytopil and Tom de Smet of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Lizzy Jongma of the Dutch Network for World War II War Collections, they observed that online publication of WWII collections lags in the Netherlands due to complex copyright and privacy issues.

Although research suggested that the National Socialist propaganda collection content was in the public domain, thorny questions arose concerning publishing the materials. Panelists discussed the outcome for publishing the content.

3. Community & Regional Archives: What’s Use Got to Do

This panel explored the topic of archive support and outreach efforts to meet the needs of end users and clients. The specific end-user group under discussion was scholars across a wide range of disciplines. Panelists Laura Treat of the University of North Texas, Casey Davis Kaufman of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, Johan Oomen of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and Mary Miller of the University of Georgia presented strategies used by their respective institutions.

Meeting user needs should be a key consideration for all archive owners; it’s an important part of the preservation strategy and the keystone of meeting the goals and purpose of preserving a collection.

AMIA has provided online access to the above sessions and other presentation slides, posters and in some cases recordings of sessions.

Archiving knowledge and networking

The annual AMIA conferences have been and will continue to be a great opportunity for our LAC content and archive services people to meet and greet current and future clients, support students who will become future leaders in our industry, learn archiving best practices from professionals around the world and screen some fantastic film restoration projects.

LAC Group is a proud supporter of AMIA and we look forward to traveling to the other coast in 2019, when the event moves to Baltimore.

If you were unable to attend and would like more information on any of the topics discussed here, or to ask your own archiving questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Tim Knapp

Tim Knapp

Tim Knapp is Senior Vice President of Content & Archive services at LAC Group. He brings more than 30 years of experience in motion and still imaging – first in film, and most recently in digital. Tim has an extensive and wide-ranging understanding of the capabilities and challenges of film and video, including the issues and opportunities it presents for archivists as they face aging media libraries and an increasingly digital future.
Tim Knapp

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