Research & Publications

An annotated list of white papers, articles, books, and journals relevant to the digital preservation of motion pictures.

(Some annotations drawn from published abstracts.)

AMIA Newsletter

Periodical (1988– )

Association of Moving Image Archivists

Provides information about the association and its activities, as well as regular features and information about new technologies, publications, and resources of interest to moving image archivists.

The Moving Image

Periodical (2001– )

Association of Moving Image Archivists

Peer-reviewed journal that explores topics relevant to both the media archivist and the media scholar.

“Film Preservation: A Critical Symposium featuring commentary by Schawn Belston, Margaret Bodde, Paola Cherchi Usai, Grover Crisp, Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, Jan-Christopher Horak, Annette Melville, Michael Pogorzelski, Katie Trainor and Daniel Wagner”

Schawn Belston, Margaret Bodde, Paola Cherchi Usai, Grover Crisp, Dennis Doros and Amy Heller, Jan-Christopher Horak, Annette Melville, Michael Pogorzelski, Katie Trainor, and Daniel Wagner

Cinéaste, 36:4 (Fall 2011), pp. 40-50

Commentary on film preservation in the digital age, the impact of the transition from celluloid to digital media on archiving and preservation of motion pictures.

A Light Affliction: A History of Film Preservation and Restoration

Michael Binder (2014), ISBN 978-1291981308

A history of film preservation and restoration. The penultimate chapter, “The Resolution of Film,” is subtitled “Digital takes over, 1993-2014.”

Moving Image and Sound Collections for Archivists

Anthony Cocciolo

Society of American Archivists (2017), ISBN 978-0931828935

The first part of this book discusses film and sound preservation in general, including appraisal, legal/ethical issues, and access; chapter 4 is “Digital Preservation of Digitized and Born-Digital Content.” The second part of the book covers format-specific guides to film, audio, analog, and digital video collections.

Digital Preservation for Libraries, Archives, and Museums, Second Edition

Edward M. Corrado and Heather Moulaison Sandy

Rowman & Littlefield (2017), ISBN 978-1442278714

Discusses the technology and ethics surrounding digital preservation.

“VFX Image Sequence Naming”

ETC Adaptive Production VFX Working Group

Entertainment Technology Center (2020)

Targeted at stakeholders in the creation of visual effects, this document aims to codify a set of naming best practices for VFX image sequences with the goal of interoperability between production, vendors, and studios.

“Basic Principles of Digital Archiving”

Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF)

A paper which sets out the underlying principles of digital archiving. It does not give specific recommendations for formats, hardware, or applications, but instead sets out the fundamental elements required by a digital archive, so that archives are able to assess the suitability of specific solutions and approaches, and plan the resources and funding needed to set up and sustain their systems.

“Digital Cinema Technologies from the Archive’s Perspective”

Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF) (2010)

Article intended to give a basic introduction to the technologies and processes that are associated with the DCI / SMPTE digital cinema system. It provides an overview of the basic technologies that are used, describes important technical details of the Digital Cinema Package, points out how these packages can be produced, and gives some thoughts on implications of this system on archives.

Digital Statement Part V: Survey on Long-term Digital Storage and Preservation

Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF) (2019)

Recent overview of the different practices of digital preservation from 16 non-profit or private organizations, according to the results of a small survey sent by FIAF's Technical Commission to FIAF members and correspondents in January 2019.

The FIAF Bulletin Online

Periodical (2011– )

Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF)

Communicates news from FIAF and reports on current projects of affiliate archives from around the globe.

Journal of Film Preservation

Periodical (1993– )

Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF)

Offers a forum for both general and specialized discussions on all theoretical, technical, and historical aspects of moving image archival activities. Articles are written in English, French, or Spanish, with summaries in the other two languages.

From Grain to Pixel: The Archival Life of Film in Transition

Giovanna Fossati

Amsterdam University Press (2009), ISBN 978-9089641397

An analysis of the transition from analog to digital film and its effect on filmmaking and film archiving.

IASA Journal

Periodical (1993– )

International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives (IASA)

Peer-reviewed journal publishing collected research and applied work of the global audiovisual archives community. Mostly analog preservation, with some digital preservation topics.

“Guidelines for the Preservation of Digital Audio-Visual Assets in the Cloud”

Andrea Kalas, Seth Levenson, ETC Adaptive Production Archive Working Group

Entertainment Technology Center (2019)

Report by a working group regarding cloud technology and archiving in the entertainment industry sponsored by the Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California. Its purpose is to help entertainment companies and others who have the responsibility to preserve valuable moving image assets and are considering cloud as part of this process. It focuses on the foundational issue of “Fixity,” which is at the heart of digital preservation as it is a widely used process to prevent digital asset data loss.

Color and Mastering for Digital Cinema

Glenn Kennel

Focal Press (2007), ISBN 978-0240808741

Written as the conversion to digital exhibition was underway, describes the color mastering and encoding methods for digital cinema, looking back at the traditional film process, providing insight into the evolving digital intermediate process, and reviewing the basis for the color encoding standards for digital cinema distribution.

“Digital Film Scanning and Recording — The Technology and Practice”

Glenn Kennel

SMPTE Journal, 103:3 (March, 1994), pp. 174-181

Discusses the designs of the CCD film scanner and laser film recorder, components of the Cineon Digital Film System. Provides a historical view of scanning and recording, which remain an integral part of digital preservation.

Motion Picture Restoration: Digital Algorithms for Artefact Suppression in Degraded Motion Picture Film and Video

Anil C. Kokaram

Springer (1998), ISBN 978-1447134879

The Cinema in Flux

Lenny Lipton

Springer (2021), ISBN ‎978-1071609507

Spanning pre-cinema to digital, offers a perspective on technical continuities and addresses many aspects of the digital media we are trying to preserve.

The Evolution of Media Creation: A 10-Year Vision for the Future of Media Production, Post and Media Technologies

MovieLabs (August 2019)

A white paper that details a vision for the future statge of technology in filmmaking, outlining and explaining 10 foundational principles, each an element of the 2030 world envisioned. It also articulates practical use cases to demonstrate how these principles will come together.

The Film Preservation Guide: The Basics for Archives, Libraries, and Museums

National Film Preservation Foundation (2001)

A basic primer for film preservation “beginners.”

Digital Video and HD Algorithms and Interfaces, Second Edition

Charles Poynton

Morgan Kaufmann (2012), ISBN 978-0123919267

Although focused on digital video, the convergence over the last two decades of the technical underpinnings of television and cinema imaging make much of the content of Poynton’s work equally relevant to motion pictures.

High Dynamic Range Imaging: Acquisition, Display And Image-Based Lighting, Second Edition

Erik Reinhard, Wolfgang Heidrich, Paul Debevec, Sumanta Pattanaik, Greg Ward, Karol Myszkowski

Morgan Kaufmann (2010), ISBN 978-0123749147

Describes HDRI technology and covers a-range of topics, from capture devices to tone reproduction and image-based lighting.

The Preservation Management Handbook: A 21st-century Guide for Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Ross Harvey and Martha R. Mahard, eds.

Rowman & Littlefield (2017), ISBN 978-0759123151

This “handbook” is split into three parts, “Fundamentals,” “Collections,” and “Media and Materials.” It addresses new technologies and approaches for preservation for all types of material, with a unique emphasis on digital preservation for archives/museums/libraries.

Long-Term Management and Storage of Digital Motion Picture Materials: A Digital Motion Picture Archive Framework Project Case Study

Science & Technology Council, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2010)

The results of a case study undertaken in collaboration with the Library of Congress under NDIIPP to discover the operational realities of various digital archiving strategies and technologies as applied to digital motion picture materials as a step toward finding a solution to the “Digital Dilemma.”

The Digital Dilemma

Science and Technology Council, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2007)

Report by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, examining ways in which key players in the movie business and other major industries store and access important digital data. Its goal was to better understand what problems these industries face and what, if anything, is being done to avoid full-fledged data access disasters down the road.

The Digital Dilemma 2

Science and Technology Council, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2012)

Follow-up report to "The Digital Dilemma" by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council. It reports on digital preservation issues facing communities that do not have the resources of large corporations or other well-funded institutions: independent filmmakers, documentarians and nonprofit audiovisual archives.

A Biography of the Pixel

Alvy Ray Smith

MIT Press (2021), ISBN 978-0262542456

Presents the pixel as a unifying concept to explore the history, theory, and technology of digital imaging.

“Digital Moving-Picture Exchange File Format and Calibration”

David Snider, Glenn Kennel, Ken Curry, and Michael McCrackan

SMPTE Journal, 102:8 (August, 1993), pp. 712-714

Describes the Cineon Digital Film System, which included a film scanner, recorder, and workstation. Also focuses on the need for a standardized digital file format, now called DPX, standardized by SMPTE.

Digital Cinematography: Fundamentals, Tools, Techniques, and Workflows, Second Edition

David Stump

Routledge (2021), ISBN 978-1138603868

Includes a chapter on “Delivering and Archiving Digital Movies.”

Preserving Motion Pictures and Sound

Richard Wright

Digital Preservation Coalition (2012), ISSN 2048-7916

Discusses the technology, needs, and challenges in preserving moving images and sound, both digitized analogue and born-digital.