One of the big on-going jobs in the archive is the curation, restoration and conservation of the Nestlé UK film archive. In other words: I found a massive stash of long-lost films in a wall cavity in 2009 and I’m still rummaging through them, working out what we’ve got, writing lists, getting them cleaned, converted into digital formats and putting them away into cold storage.
Why is it taking me so long? Well, films are tricky things. Old film stock (and our film stock varies in age from 1940s – 1980s) is too delicate to be played on an ordinary projector. To even find out what’s on a reel of film you need a gadget called a Steenbeck editor (which looks a lot like a big, DJ’s mixing desk). We thread the film onto the Steenbeck, fire it up, and watch as the film flickers into life on the Steebeck’s tiny screen. Sounds easy? Well, before we can even get to that stage there’s a lot of cleaning and repair to be done.
See the archive images on our Flickr feed.