The technical condition of every piece of film stock, which is intended to be archived, is carefully examined before being stored.
The condition of the surfaces is assessed for mechanical damage, the condition of splices, the presence of dirt, mold, and/or decay; the condition of the film perforations; measuring the length of its individual parts; determining the format and type of film stock; the type of sound recording; the kind of material used for coloring; the opening credits and dialogue titles; and the number of versions. Once an identification sheet for the film has been made, identification labels used to mark the boxes are printed, a shipping card is written up (for recording the movement of film materials), and a basic entry is made into the NFA’s computer database.
Film stock is placed into archival canisters, labelled and put into one of our depositories. Color coding allows for easy orientation – the prints are in green, negative images in red, the negatives of sound in yellow and duplicate prints in blue boxes.
Audiovisual materials are permanently stored in air-conditioned vaults and continuously checked during periodic inspections.
Films on a flammable surface – such as nitrate film stock, are kept for safety reasons in separate vaults, which is of course also air-conditioned.
Each of the additions to the film collections goes through a cataloging process during which the basic information is placed into the internal computer database about a specific film title (e.g. the year of production, filmmakers, filming locations). The information drawn directly from the film is completed by doing research of the written archival sources stored in other institutions – the National Archives, the National Library, etc. The knowledge gained is often used in a wealth of research activities, such as providing requested visual materials to film production companies based on the specific order.
The key outcome of the meticulous processing of collections is a series of publications on Czech feature film – Czech Feature Film I – VI, which covers the time period 1898 – 1993, and Czech Animated Film I (1920 – 1945).
The Special Collections are archived, recorded, and put into inventories and adjusted. An important activity is to store data on the processed archived materials to finding aids – i.e. inventories – in the case of private collections and those from film institutions. For the collections of photos, posters, promotional materials and title lists, regularly updated internal orientation aids, such as filing cabinets and computer databases, are used.
Audio recordings are also continuously processed, described and recorded in an electronic database. The collection so far does not have archival finding aids, there is only a temporary catalogue that enables one to conduct a basic search. The key goal of the curator is therefore to create a high quality inventory in the period 2014/2015 that would streamline and improve the execution of searches. An important task is also to convert recordings into transcripts. Transcribing goes on continuously and as a result more than half of the interviews have already been processed.