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Bursary winner attends FOCAL International's Footage Training Week

1 June 2009

Two applicants received a Jane Mercer Footage Training Bursary for 2009-10 to further their professional development in the footage industry. Lemuel Lyes, Footage Researcher from NHNZ was granted a place on FOCAL International's annual Footage Training Week and a further bursary went to Lynn Johnson from, Cape Town, South Africa, to assist her completion of an M Phil (Library & Information Science) at the University of Cape Town.

Closing date for 2009-2010 applications 31 August 2009. For information and application form

International delegates enjoy an intensive week of footage training

The Training Week is designed for those already working in the area of footage but who need a broader perspective and rounding off of their knowledge base. The training schedule covered topics such as: the history of film and tape formats and the technical production processes involving footage, together with hands-on experience of film handling, lacing up machines, splicing and joining up footage. Visits to various well known footage libraries and the bfi's National Film and Television John Paul Getty Conservation Archive Centre gave an introduction to film and tape storage, preservation and cataloguing. The basics of footage research, principles of rights clearance and international Copyright Law affecting the footage industry were also covered, rounding off with the producer's perspective on using archive footage and the misuse of footage in factual documentaries.

Lemuel Lyes from NHNZ, recipient of the Jane Mercer Footage Training Bursary attending the FOCAL International Footage Training Week.

FOCAL International's 11th annual Footage Training Week was attended by 11 media professional delegates from the UK, Norway, Brazil and New Zealand:

(Above) Giovanni Sciano, Manager Film Preservation Unit at the Imperial War Museum teaches the delegates how to handle and lace up film.

A visit to the bfi's National Film and Television John Paul Getty Conservation Archive Centre at Berkhamsted was another highlight of the week.

(Above and below) seriously decomposed 35mm footage - some examples shown to delegates of what can happen when film stock is not stored correctly!

Experienced archive researchers, Paul Gardner, Declan Smith and Val Evans (below), all of whom have received FOCAL International Awards for their footage research, gave an informal overview of footage research in their session End to End Research. Topics covered: sources and research tools, budgets and schedules, third party clearances, licensing and transfers plus Fair Dealing. They had plenty of examples of problems they had encountered in their long careers and how they had learnt to overcome them.

Barry Florin, MD British Movietonews (above), stands amongst the cobwebs in his nitrate vault, in stark contrast to sitting in front of his new 'state of the art' digital online search and delivery system (below).


Above) Under the watchful eye of David Walsh of the Imperial War Museum, delegate Lemuel Lyes learns to lace up a steenbeck.

The Technical Management of Archive Film and Video presented by experts at the Imperial War Museum was the perfect starting point for the week's training. Delegates were given a detailed history of film, video and sound formats and a chance to handle some of the materials introduced.

(Above) Maria Elena Cheng from CLIPTV Spain

Through a series of hands-on sessions they were then guided through the basics of how to lace up a Steenbeck, how to identify different formats and how to splice and join up film. If there was one criticism it was that there was too much information to take in!

Cataloguing, digital asset management, online search and delivery systems were covered during tours of the ITN Source and BBC archives, and British Movietonews libraries. The contrasting size of these establishments was significant, but the issues facing each quite similar.

(Above) Caroline Hart presenting a business overview at ITN Source

Media lawyer Hubert Best of Best & Soames (below) brilliantly covered the latest rights issues and exploitation opportunities when using footage across all media platforms, including the subtle differences between claiming Fair Use in the USA and Fair Dealing in the UK.

Archive producer Jerry Kuehl had the final word as he illustrated The Misuse of Footage with a series of "howlers", though admittedly the authenticity and misuse of many of the clips that were shown would have passed by many an untrained eye!

The Producer's Perspective was presented by Steve Humphries, award winning producer/director from Testimony Films. He is passionate about people’s life stories and seeks to record them, preserve them and use them creatively in television programmes, illustrated with lots of archive footage. Steve's infectious enthusiasm for his subject as portrayed in programmes such as Forbidden Britain (BBC2), Green and Pleasant Land (Channel 4), A Secret World of Sex (BBC2) plus a host of 9/11 and World War programmes, gave a fascinating incite into how a documentary, heavy in archive footage, comes together from concept to delivery.

 Every year the course is designed to co-incide with FOCAL International summer networking event which this year was held at Inn the Park, St James Park London.

Overall comments on the week:

Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable training week.

I loved every minute of it and learnt a lot. I thought the week gave a good overview of the subject of archive footage.

I was very impressed with all the guest speakers and very busy people who shared their time & expertise with us, particularly at IWM & NFTVA. Please thank them on my behalf.

A BIG thank you for organising such a wonderful week in London, learning all about archive, from the hands-on preservation to sales structures of the big players. You can be sure you'll have a very enthusiastic advocate of the course here!

I honestly didn't expect to take so much away from this week so cannot thank FOCAL International enough for organising such a fantastic course. Educational, entertaining, informative and inspirational - and I've been lucky enough to meet some new and wonderful people as well!

The FOCAL managers couldn't have made me feel more at home.

Very well organised.

I have found this course to be thoroughly interesting and enjoyable. Many thanks!

This was a packed and fascinating week, it filled a lot of gaps in my knowledge and gave a lot of good opportunities for networking.

Very professional and I have learned so much.

Excellent historical and technical basis for the days to follow.

Absolutley great opportunity to see the archives and preservation techniques and to ask questions.

Very valuable information, especially the complexity of copyright.

I enjoyed the researchers panel style open discussion and hearing of the variety of different shows they had worked on.

Excellent week, varied and well managed.

This course is a unique opportunity, really excellent!


Anne Johnson or Julie Lewis

Tel: +44 (0)20 8423 5853