On the 8th of January, I paid a visit to the SWFTA in Plymouth.This a charity whose role is to preserve and enable access to the moving image history of this area. It was established in 1993, and is one of the largest regional film archives in the UK. In its possession it has the Westward Television and Television South West independent television collections as well as a significant number of donated films both amateur and professional.
SWFTA’s main jobs include providing footage for public exhibitions and screenings, being involved in community projects, selling DVDs, working with film makers and broadcasters as well as providing copies of footage for members of the public often for research projects.
A key aspect of the archive is digitising their vast collection of films and tapes, which are decaying at a rapid rate. Whilst I was there the volunteers and archivists showed us how they digitise and restore the colour of the damaged film strips before storing them on immense hard drives for preservation but also for easy access to a member of the public looking for a certain film.
As someone who’s never shot film in analogue before it was incredibly interesting to see the process in which they play and conserve the work as well as the determination to preserve the past of film making.