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Encouraging Feedback from Footage Training Week Euro Delegates

1 August 2006

Footage Training Week - "excellent" "fascinating" "very useful"

Just some of the feedback from FOCAL International's annual Footage Training Week which was held early in June, moving away from its traditional slot in July. This meant that a number of delegates from European countries attended who would not otherwise have been able to come because of the summer holiday season.

The delegates included media professionals from RTBF (Belgium), IMG World (UK), Polish TV, YLE (Finland), Tiger Aspect (UK), RTE (Ireland) and freelance researcher Joyce Abosi.

he Technical Management of Archive Film and Video presented by experts at the Imperial War Museum was the perfect starting point for the week.

Delegates were given a detailed history of film, video and sound formats.

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.

Under the watchful eye of Giovanni Sciano, Manager Film Preservation Unit (above left) and Head of Preservation, David Walsh (left middle) delegates edited together some sample trims - the results were 'interesting' to say the least!

Experienced archive researcher, Belinda Harris, gave a "splendid" overview of footage research in her session End to End Research. Aided by James Smith, they gave plenty of specific examples of problems they had encountered when accessing and licensing footage and how to overcome them.

Tours of the ITN Source and Getty Images' archives contrasted with the smaller Wellcome Trust and Footage Farm libraries, but were no less interesting to the delegates as illustrations of the different types of institution involved in the footage business.

The post production side of the business was covered by visits to facility houses TV Set and Dubbs where various pieces of equipment were used to illustrate restoration and other digital techniques employed on library clips.

"The enthusiam and experience of the staff is amazing," commented one delegate Mary Sweeney. However, the same could have been said of any of the people who were involved throughout the week, and FOCAL is most grateful to all of them for giving their time and the benefit of their expertise in the cause of footage training.

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

Caramel cake? No - seriously decomposed 35mm footage. Just one of many examples that were shown to delegates of what can happen to film stock if it is not stored correctly!

One of the many vaults at the John Paul Getty centre where film and tape are preserved at optimum temperature and humidity levels.

The huge topic of International Copyright was introduced by media lawyer, Hubert Best. In a whole day of intensive presentations, the delegates remained attentive, despite having enjoyed FOCAL's networking event aboard HMS Belfast the previous night.

The Producer's Perspective was presented by Dominic Sutherland. Showing clips from the FOCAL Award winning "A Very British Olympics" which he produced and directed, he gave a fascinating incite into how a documentary, heavy in archive footage, comes together from concept to delivery.

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!


Anne Johnson or Julie Lewis
Tel: +44 (0)20 8423 5853