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Case Studies

Telecine installation for the National Archives of Australia

by Stuart Pointon, Lemac Business Development Manager, Brisbane.

Lemac Film and Digital has installed a Debrie Telecine into the National Archives of Australia to digitise films susceptible to chemical deterioration. The Archives has one of the largest film archival collections in Australia comprising approximately 260,000 films, dating from early nitrate to modern polyester. The vast majority of the collection is 16mm, with colour film being amongst the most susceptible to chemical deterioration. With a very tight timeline for delivery and installation, Lemac was able to meet the requirements of the Archives. Lemac has a long 35 year history of technical excellence, supported by specialists in electronic, mechanical and optical engineering and this ensured the installation was a success. Caitlin Hickie, Acting Director of Record Services & Preservation at the Archives said, at completion of the installation, that “Lemac’s professionalism and thoroughness was very much appreciated”.

The Debrie Telecine, the FILMTRANSFER Data Cine 16/35 is able to handle badly warped film and with shrinkage of up to 4% (greater than 4% is available as an option). FILMTRANSFER is equipped with a colour-integration sphere located just above the film. The illumination of the film is diffuse rather than direct. This minimizes the appearance of scratches while maintaining a more uniform illumination of each film frame. With the FILMTRANSFER Data Cine 16/35 is the Kolibri software. The Kolibri controls the telecine and provides standard colour correction, gamma correction, gain and black level adjustment. These can be done on a scene by scene basis and the transfer then done in real time. The final file archive output is in MJPEG2000 in a lossless format.

While many in the industry know Lemac as being one of the leading suppliers of motion picture and broadcast digital camera equipment, they may not know that Lemac has a long post support history, also supplying Aaton Keylink technology to many of the leading post houses. Stuart Pointon, National Business Development Manager for Lemac, said “we were very proud to be able to supply the Debrie Telecine. It was a wonderful opportunity to be part of a project preserving the Nation’s film heritage. This was especially important in light of Lemac’s founding director, John Bowring ACS’s passion for the preservation of our film heritage and his support of the project prior to his sudden passing in April this year. He would be pleased that the Nation’s archives are being so well cared for.’’


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