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1 November 2004

FOCAL Members present training session for Footage Researchers in Spain

Following the success of the presentation about FOCAL and its work given last year by Anne Johnson and Julie Lewis at the Spanish documentary conference, DocsBarcelona, I was invited to go to this year's event to run a session on film research from 'wish list to footage returns' in a related event called RecDoc that the organisers arranged as a value-added factor for those working with and in archives. Having only ever done this in the UK before, I was a little nervous about speaking with relative authority to a non-British, non-English speaking (in the main) group of people.



                                  Jane Mercer,                                  RecDoc and DocsBarcelona                           RecDoc speakers Paul Maidment,
                                  FOCAL Chair                                   organisers Marta Castané,                             BBC Motion Gallery and Jean-Luc
                                                                                            Ana Castanosa, Samanta                                 Vernhet, INA with Ray Sidwell,
                                                                                                   Artal of Parallel 40                                            CNN Image Source, UK

However, I need not have worried. If the effectiveness of this kind of in-service training is judged by the questions that come up from the delegates, then I can only say that I was delighted to try and answer throughout the session a good number of questions ranging from the specifics of sports clearances through to the philosophical issue of 'maintaining archives for free access for all and in the interests of posterity'. All in all it felt like a good session - I enjoyed it very much and nobody seemed to have fallen asleep.

The FOCAL Administration presented an introduction to its website, the Members Directory, Footage Finder and other services of benefit to Researchers. Two further speakers that day were Paul Maidment from BBC Motion Gallery and Jean-Luc Vernhet from INA Média (Institut National de l'Audiovisuel), and their presentations of ‘state of the art’ online image libraries complemented not only each other but also my earlier tour d'horizon of the various kinds of sources for moving image material. FOCAL are now looking forward to being involved in the planning of RecDoc for DocsBarcelona 2005. With the guaranteed attendance of European documentary producers and commissioners in the relaxed atmosphere of Terrassa, there is every incentive to develop the RecDoc initiative and open up the event to attract more representatives from the audiovisual industry.

Jane Mercer, FOCAL Chair

For access to the online image systems mentioned above please see the following:

BBC Motion Gallery:

INA Média: