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Forgotten technology: Why film reels have such a great charm

film reel
(© sergeka –

Many channels have film archives. What the stripes are on is very different. The classics are still on film rolls and are stored in the rooms. Some of the films are stored on other storage media in order to secure them for the next few years and possibly decades. However, the film rolls remain a special feature that should not be forgotten.

Experience change

The news is a special sign, which shows the change of the time and the society. This change can and should not only be experienced by employees, but also be available to the rest of the population. Journalists can use these materials and integrate them into their reports. Other programs also have old materials at their disposal, even if they are not on film rolls. New and old sports are always an enrichment for bettors, as can be seen on different sites such as USA. Thus people can recognize the differences. Depending on the topic there is the possibility that these differences can be used for themselves. Even in sports it is always interesting to pay attention to hairstyles, jerseys and equipment. This changes just like the people themselves. It is interesting for everyone to experience the change, because the memory often becomes weaker. Young people get the chance to get an insight into the decades before their birth. Pictures are more appealing than pure stories, because there are no ideas or blurred pictures in the memory.

Numerous works on film rolls

The films stored on classic film reels are very different and known to most people. For many years, this was the only way to record, edit and store films. An extensive collection is deposited in the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation. Well-known works include the crime scene Krimis. Pumuckl and Monace Franze by Helmut Dietls are also among the countless roles. According to the archiving it is to be assumed that there are about 50000 roles and thus correspondingly many works. The oldest roles originate from the beginning of television history and are thus from November 6, 1954. On this day the Bavarian radio took up its work and brought films, news and more with sound and picture to the devices in the apartments. The last roles from the 1990s can be found in the data on the film cans and documents. Only then was a change to the storage media made. A glance at the documents reveals that these are not just films. In the end, the rolls contain everything that has been broadcast over the decades. This also includes news, interviews, weather and much more. Everything is provided with date and title, in order to make a precise archiving possible.

Clean at first glance

When walking through the cellars of the BR, nothing unusual can be seen at first glance. On long shelves there are over 50000 film rolls, which are stored in the respective film cans. These cans are labelled so that you can tell at a glance whether the roll is the right one. However, the question arises as to what it looks like in the rolls that have been stored in the basement rooms for decades. This question can only be answered if the cans are opened and a look is taken at the rolls. The development of the material can lead to residues of acetic acid, which attack the material over years and decades. This problem is evident in the shrinking of the film rolls. Further problems can be seen in the adhesive tapes used for cutting and joining the respective areas. In the view of the film these are shown by a money stitch. Very rarely, there are mold spores on the rolls that have to be removed.

Restore ribbons

In order to preserve the rolls for many more years, it is important that they are cleaned and repaired. This process includes everything necessary to restore and maintain the tapes for many years. The first step is to clean the rollers. A soft cloth and a special liquid are used. With a trained eye, adhesive tapes are quickly recognized. These are carefully removed and the adhesive residues completely removed. The tapes are then clamped in a special machine and joined with a new adhesive strip. This is a special tape which does not discolour and is therefore ideal for this application. Only very rarely is restoration not possible. In this case it is unavoidable to dispose of the roll. Due to the large number of tapes it is expected that the restoration alone can take several years. During this time, until the specialists have arrived at the last rolls, they probably have greater damage. Thus a fast and nevertheless very conscientious treatment is necessary.

Long-term preservation

A distinction is made between the works, whether it is a matter of preserving the film rolls or the material. In order to be able to preserve the material, i.e. the films and the like, in the long term, digitization is used. This can only be done after successful restoration. For this purpose, the tapes are forwarded to specialist companies located in Munich and Hamburg. These companies deal with the digitization of film rolls. In order not to have to accept a yellow cast or other impurities, which must be permanently retained, the restoration must precede. As part of the digitisation process, consideration will be given to the further course and use of the restoration. Each individual film, news and further excerpt is provided with several suitable keywords. These support the search in the system. Name, date or the approximate topic can be helpful.

Entertainment is guaranteed

Boredom is certainly not a problem with restoration and digitization. This gives employees an insight into the history of television. In this work, long-forgotten works emerge. One of them is “The Ideal Woman”. In the casting show of 1957, a woman was sought who could crochet, cook, bake, dance and recognize flowers. In spite of her extensive abilities, attention was paid to a chic appearance. All the women who didn’t win the show didn’t go away empty-handed. They were given a laundry basket with sheets, tablecloths and other textiles. This is not the only thing being restored. The news from this period can be just as interesting.

augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press

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