Warner Bros, a valued client of PRO-TEK and LAC Group, began with a massive amount of film – much of it damaged in various ways and in need of both immediate care and identification. This was no ordinary film stock either. This project was working with nitrate-based film stocks which are highly flammable if not handled properly. It also meant that the stock is stored off-site in a remote facility as PRO-TEK does not store nitrate film in its vaults. The Nitrate project is spearheaded by Danny Kuchuck, and he along with his staff have the expertise to make decisions in the field, not just about technical matters but to also begin helping Warner Bros sort out and assess the value and potential of their material. To paraphrase statistician Nate Silver, to find the “signal in the noise.”
PRO-TEK was able to quickly organize and help the client prioritize their needs – triage doesn’t stop at the water’s edge – literally, in this case, as much of the film was water damaged, in addition to being in various states of deterioration. The multi-faceted ways in which PRO-TEK approached this challenge shows the diversity of ideas needed to meet both long-term and short-term goals. In the long-term, we are helping the client build their stock footage library, uncover lost gems and eliminate wasteful duplicates. In the short-term, we are providing fast identification and gathering of metadata for the client. Besides assessing the physical characteristics, cleaning and stabilizing, the Nitrate team also analyzed the actual images and examined the content of each piece of film, gathering metadata in the process. In addition to identifying titles or origins of specific pieces of unmarked film, we also identified scenes and action, or actors and objects in the frame. Read more!