Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The future of film is digital -- film preservation in a digital age

In a very recent news article Eastman Kodak Co. announced that it will retire Kodachrome color film after 74 years of manufacture. Jane Hellyar, president of Kodak's Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group, stated, "The majority of today's photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology -- both film and digital," As the article further noted, today there is only one lab left in the country that processes the film. The company noted, "Underscoring the decline of film, the company that popularized consumer photography more than 100 years ago said 70 percent of its revenue today is from consumer and commercial digital businesses."

So much of our genealogical heritage is wrapped up in images, from individual pictures to rolls of microfilm, we should all be aware of this milestone in a changing technology. Aware, as in making sure that our photographic film technology is preserved into the digital age.

The National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. We support activities nationwide that preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition. Although the thrust of the NFPF is the preservation of movies, the technology applies to the preservation of all types of film products.

The current standards for film preservation can be found through the Library of Congress.
You may also wish to view the Library of Congress' Preservation page. There are extensive articles on Caring for Your Collections and Preparing, Protecting, Preserving Family Treasures.

If you chose to preserve your photos or movies digitally, then don't forget to migrate the digitized images to new media from time to time to preserve the accessibility.

More on this topic later.

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