For newly acquired film stock it is necessary to decide on how to protect it for the future. On the basis of proposals from curators that reflect the historical importance of the material, along with its degree of technical damage and the financial demands of whatever work is needed, the films are prepared for printing or for other interventions that are considered necessary for their preservation. For rare works of Czech cinema, the department designs and carries out the restoration process, which is often done by working closely with colleagues from foreign archives.
The protection and conservation of materials that could be irreversibly lost, such as nitrate film stock which decays quickly and is highly flammable, is one of the main and most important tasks of the NFA. The films are copied, for these reasons, onto a material that is safe, non-flammable and long lasting, such as acetate or the latest polyester film stocks.
The NFA has been in the process of securing individual films in collaboration with the Film Laboratories in Zlín (Ateliers Bonton Zlín as) and Barrandov Film Laboratories. The preference is for films that are processed on flammable materials, such as nitrate film stock, which was used until around 1960. In recent years, the NFA has transferred prints of approximately 100 000 meters of new film stock.
Materials designated for printing are prepared in the editing rooms where it undergoes:
– A technical check of the condition of the original material
– Synchronizing the negative image with the sound negative
– Comparison of two or more materials
– Addition (by printing) of the missing part of the original material
– Addition of missing title cards and intertitles
In cooperation with the Department of Archiving and Acquisitions and the Department of Curators, the films are put through an intensive reconstruction, repair and completion process out of various film materials.
All newly made prints are checked by being run through a film projector.
Significant financial resources are invested for the production of new prints or the making of duplicate prints.
The permanent protective care is also important and taken care of by the Department of Special Collections. Archival items in the care of this department are stored in air-conditioned vaults that are temperature-controlled, and regularly monitor relative humidity. Film posters up to A1 size go through a process that includes basic manual and physical/chemical cleaning, which are then subsequently secured by being fixed on their back side to a piece of canvas. These interventions are carried out by an academic conservator. More seriously damaged posters are restored.
Older analog (gramophone records, audio on magnetic tapes, audio cassettes) and digital sound recordings (on CD, DVD, DV, MiniDisc) made up to 2004 are permanently stored in an air-conditioned vaults in Hradištko. The original digital recordings (in wav format) and newly digitized or recopied recordings (wav, mp3 formats) are also backed up on three different repositories. Proper and careful archiving and a controlled way of saving these items is the basis for the protection of valuable materials.