ACE replies on the Study DAEFH Digital Agenda for European Film Heritage

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1 ACE replies on the Study DAEFH Digital Agenda for European Film Heritage a) Collection of digital material Legal deposit Is legal deposit or compulsory deposit (e.g. contractual obligation to deposit for publicly funded productions) the way to go in order to ensure the preservation of the European cinema? What would be an alternative model? The implementation of legal deposit extended to digital cinema - should be encouraged in all EU member states. It would help to raise awareness that film is part of the cultural heritage and worth to be preserved. Moreover, it would ensure a systematic collection of the cinematographic works, avoiding lacks in the transmission of films for the future and could ensure the deposit of full quality originals. None of these aims can be reached with voluntary deposit. Formats and specifications Based on your knowledge and experience, what formats should be used for depositing D- Cinema works in Film Heritage Institutions so that they can ensure their preservation? If the deposit of D-Cinema works already occurs, what are the formats that you receive? For the deposit of D-Cinema works, formats and specifications as recommended by the FIAF Technical Commission should be followed: an unencrypted DCP is the minimum requirement, and higher quality original elements may be deposited at the discretion of the archive, based on its resources. A DCDM standard master should be preferred if one exists. Are the available technical specifications satisfactory? Is there any need for a some kind of European harmonisation of the deposit formats? Are you interested in engaging in the preparation of such European standards or similar? Concerning specifications, additional European harmonisation seems unnecessary at this stage. b) Storage and long term preservation Digital and electronic media are prone to several types of obsolescence. Besides the carrier and carrier format decay known from analogue media, there are also hardware, software, file format and runtime environment obsolescence to take into account. Typical refreshing of digital media is either ongoing or at least every five years. Migration to new formats can also be expected at a more frequent rate than for analog media. Current cost for trusted long term digital repository storage is estimated to be of the same, or higher; magnitude than the equivalent analogue preservation. Even if physical storage cost is expected to decrease, the intellectual and administrative costs are expected to remain stable or increase over time. State of the art of present technologies Present state-of-the-art for preserving digital film on the file level relies on tried IT technology. The preservation of bits in long-term-repositories is needed and developed for many other 1

2 purposes besides digital film, and digital film archiving systems should be based on the same IT and storage technologies to best ensure sustainable, future proof solutions. The situation is difficult for archives, because there are few integrators that can offer longterm storage solutions that are already or easily tailored for use in digital film archives. Research as to defining a reference system for a long-term repository for film archives could ameliorate the situation. The greatest challenge lies in the organisation of digital film archiving: from the administration, through workflows to technical aspects like metadata handling, file wrapping and formats. There is a widespread consensus on using the OAIS model for a repository but the operational and technical details have not yet been widely set or put to test in practice. It is important to stress that preservation of the film heritage is the pre-requisite for any other activity. If preservation is not performed properly, there will be no heritage to show and give access to. Moreover, It has to be widely acknowledged that archives will need to both sustain their traditional film archives, and establish new workflows and facilities for dealing with digital born materials and with the digitisation of analogue materials. In the future, an archive must be able to archive digital materials and digitise its collections in order to at all be able to serve the public. Preservation policies & costs Are National policies to support the preservation of born digital films needed? Is there a need of a coordination of these policies at EU level? What type of mechanisms and components should these policies contain? Is there anything that can be learnt from other sectors? The preservation of film whether analogue or digital should be supported and funded on national as well as on European level. These policies must take into account that based on current knowledge digital storage is much more expensive than storage of analogue material. Is there a way to evaluate with some precision the investments and the costs required to guarantee the Long Term Preservation of cinema products? Do you have an experience in the field, and what can others learn from it? Since there are no standards for digital cinema preservation systems yet (see above), the evaluation of the incurring costs is very difficult. The costs may also be very dependent on local markets and e.g. on the availability of state-level IT-services that can be used, or other solutions giving benefits through synergy. Are there ways to reduce improve cost-effectiveness of solutions for Long Term Preservation? Are economies of scale or any use? And if so, what are the sizes of such economies of scale? Should a National Digital Repository be envisaged? Or should it be supranational? With regards to cost-effectiveness, National Digital Repositories may offer advantages of scale but their design effectiveness may be reduced by the need to support a much more heterogeneous variety of materials. Storing film heritage in supranational repositories is difficult to imagine given the fact that many European countries do not even have a digitisation policy in place. If the implementation of national and or even supranational repositories lead to a reduction of the diversity of film heritage, then it shouldn t be envisaged. 2

3 The first step would be to implement a digitisation plan in all EU member states. Digital cinema must not be treated with less effort and resources than analogue productions. Film heritage institutions need a permanent budget and long term commitment by their national governments for digitisation and long-term preservation of their collections. The responsibility for preserving film heritage should not be left to the industry. c) Application of digital technologies for restoration Digital film restoration is in a somewhat mature state. The capabilities of software and systems can, however, always be improved. The ever-increasing processing power available on the desktop will enable more intelligent algorithms for better results in e.g. scratch removal, dust busting and flicker removal. Priorities and criteria for restoration Is Digital Film Restoration a mature technology or are developments to be expected? What are the areas where R&D are most needed? Is there anything that can be learned from other sectors using digital restoration techniques? Restoring every single work is an ill-defined goal. Restoring as an activity is not precisely definable, nor is every work numerable, because without further qualifications it is boundless. Film heritage should be made available to European citizens within the constraints of copyright, and based on need of cultural and educational objectives. Effort should be made to make available contextualised collections from diverse topics. Feature films should be digitised to make it possible to keep screening them even when 35mm projection is no longer possible. Cost-effectiveness How could the costs of digital restoration be further reduced? Is it a matter of equipment / software costs, or rather of human resources? Can economies of scale help the process? And what would the size of these economies of scale : One lab per country? One restoration centre for the whole of Europe? Currently, not many archives use digital restoration routinely or on a large scale. The cost of restoration is likely to reduce as archives convert to digital workflows, because some of the restoration equipment will have to be in place for everyday operations. Some in-house digital restoration capability should be an attainable goal for many archives in the future, so costly fully out-sourced projects may be needed less. d) Digitisation of the European Film Heritage What are the main goals of a strategy of digitisation of the European Film Heritage in other words: Digitise for what? Digitise for whom? What do you think are the main points speaking in favour or against major digitisation plans for the European Film Heritage? What kind of cultural and economic considerations should be made? How this efforts can be made most efficient and cost effective? What would be drawbacks and the advantages (if any) in case this effort is not undertaken? Pro digitisation plans Almost all European film heritage institutions are digitising their collections, and many European countries have implemented a digitisation plan to convert all cinema to digital. In a few years, most productions will be fully digital. This development has to be mirrored in the 3

4 film archives: if films are produced digitally, they will have to be archived digitally. Considering this, film archives must be prepared to adopt a hybrid strategy, preserving both analogue and digital film. Digitisation of European film heritage has to happen in order not avoid a period of nonavailability, i.e. a time when film titles can no longer be projected in 35mm but are not available digitally, major digitisation programmes are needed. If culture and cultural products are more and more consumed online, then it is crucial to bring film heritage online as well. Domain specific web portals such as the European Film Gateway EFG give easy access to hundred of thousands of film historical documents as preserved in European Film archives and cinémathèques and there is a great cultural and educational potential in the digitisation and online availability of these materials. As cinematographic works are typically high production value, they can be expected to retain interest across borders, if appropriate contextualisation and translation is provided. EFG could also provide the basis for a more developed access to the European film heritage on a wide range of platforms, from DCP to VOD. 1 There is a great cultural and educational potential in the digitisation and online availability of the film heritage. As cinematographic works are typically high production value, they can be expected to retain interest across borders, if appropriate contextualisation and translation is provided.efg could also provide the basis for a more developed access to the European film heritage on a wide range of platforms, from DCP to VOD. 2 Major challenges Costs Digitized content does NOT replace the analogue film original: the costs for digital archiving are in addition to the activities in the analogue domain. The average costs for digitising one hour of film on a high quality level are estimated at to per hour (incl. 30% equipment and 30% overheads). 3 They are much higher than in others sectors, since the process includes many different activities such as selection, cleaning, and, if necessary, restoration of the original materials, creation of descriptions and metadata, project management. If properly stored, analogue film material can survive several hundreds of years. Film is still the safest carrier for high quality film content and the costs are much lower than for preserving the same film digitally. A long-term financial commitment is required for digital storage. The constant process of migration requires to consider an investment in digitisation carefully. If not, there is a risk that these materials end up in the grasp of a digital black hole. 4 In our opinion the public sector should be mainly responsible for making film heritage 1 ACE Position Paper on Digital, ACE Position Paper on Digital, The Cost of Digitising Europe s Cultural Heritage. A Report for the Comité des Sages of the European Commission: 4 See: Jonas Palm, The Digital Black Hole, This document is no longer retrievable on the internet 4

5 accessible and preserving it for future generations. The responsibility and control over Europe s heritage cannot be left to a few market players. It must be ensured that film archives and cinémathèques will remain those places were film heritage is collected, preserved and shown independently from whether these films are analogue or digital. In its report The New Renaissance, the Comité des Sages pointed out that efforts can be made most efficient and cost effective when there is an ongoing strategic investment in digitisation as a core activity of the cultural institution, rather than as a project-funded activity. This is due to the significant efficiency gain that arises from long-term practice and the development of tacit institutional knowledge and expertise leading to more effective prioritisation and decision-making 5. Any strategy for digitisation must be multi-purpose, to ameliorate the high costs, and a coordinated digitisation plan would help to avoid double efforts and costs. If Public-Private-Partnerships are considered an option for funding large scale digitisation activities, they should be transparent, non-exclusive and equitable for all partners. The danger is that commercial players who pay for the digitisation might claim privileged access to the digitised collections and exercise as much control as possible over digital reproductions. The Europeana Public Domain charter should be taken into account: Digitisation of public domain content does not create new rights over it: works that are in the Public Domain in analogue form continue to be in the Public Domain once they have been digitised. Copyright Film clearance is a complex task. Often several authors are involved in the creation of a film work. The transfer of rights and neighbouring rights add to the confusion. A recent study puts a large number of films in the orphans category 6, which largely prevents them from being utilised or even shown. A change of EU copyright legislation and its EU wide harmonization are the preconditions for digitising film heritage on a large scale and making it available online. In its reply to the Green Paper Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, ACE has proposed to implement mandatory exceptions in the EU Copyright Directive 7. These exceptions should allow: to reproduce the material on any media for preservation purposes to digitise extracts of the material for educational purposes to consult this material online by researchers (pass word protected) to allow access to extracts of it through Europeana Mandatory exceptions are needed to give public interest institutions legal certainty in fulfilling their public mission. Of course provisions have to be made that these uses do not conflict with the commercial exploitation of a film, or if a relevant licensing scheme is available. Moreover, a European legal instrument should be implemented to facilitate the use of an orphan work and to ensure its recognition as an orphan work across the member states. It 5 see The Cost of Digitising Europe s Cultural Heritage 6 see ACE Survey on Orphan Works 2010:

6 should be ensured that an orphan work is recognised across the EU. Without funding, film archives don t have the resources to conduct a very extensive research for rights holders, therefore less complex diligent search criteria would be desirable, given the fact that the majority of the film works are not well known feature films, but documentaries, bits and pieces, short features before 1960, which have less economic, but high cultural value 8 The European Film archives should work towards finding a modus for the clearing and distribution of non-commercial use for films that are presumed either out of copyright or considered orphan. This model could work with a tiered approach with cut-off dates that find a broad acceptance. Generally, one should keep in mind that the digitisation of heritage films is costly, and should not be taken lightly in regards to retention of authenticity and the context in which they were created. It is essential that these images and sounds are not merely regarded as content, but rather as the original documents and artefacts they are. The transition from analogue to digital is a tremendous challenge for film archives not only from an economic and technical perspective, since the origin of film archives in Europe is intrinsically linked to analogue film. The way of producing and viewing films and the material itself determined the way how to collect, preserve, screen and communicate film. With digital archiving coming along, film will be separated from the carrier, becoming pure content. All criteria making a film a unique and cherished object by the archivist, are no longer connected to its physical qualities, but the value and quality of a digital film will solely be based on its artistic and intellectual expression 9. Are coordinated strategies at National or European level needed to digitize the European Film Heritage, or should these be left with the individual institutions? And if a coordinated strategy is necessary, what should be its main guidelines and focus? Is there a need for a prioritisation, or a selection in the digitisation plans, and if so, how these should be defined? Who will decide what kinds of films deserve to be digitised? It should remain at the deliberation of the film archives to determine which collections should be transferred to digital and how, since they are the experts, knowing best about the educational and artistic value of the deposited material. However, these decisions should be guided by a digitisation plan on National level to avoid duplication efforts. Possible guidelines and focus of a coordinated strategy: Quality and completeness of the material Priority for national film production Films belonging to the core collection of a film archive Films which are not dealt elsewhere, with less economic, but high cultural and educational value. Training & education Do Film Heritage Institutions require new professional profiles, new expertise to improve the quality and the cost-effectiveness of digitisation, digital restoration and long-term digital preservation? And if so, how can this goal be achieved? Should policies be put in place to foster the acquisition of this expertise? Are the educational and training sectors up to the task? 8 see: ACE Survey on Orphan Works 9 ACE Position Paper on Digital. 6

7 In the digital age, training and education becomes more and more important. In order to keep pace with the technological process, film archive staff must be trained on a regular basis. ACE must create forums in which member archives can acquire the skills and intellectual and practical requirements of current and future archive technology and strategic planning. The archive management must be targeted as well, since they are the ones who make the strategic decisions. New skills and expertise are not only required in the field of digitisation, digital restoration and long-term preservation. Digital archiving affects all other archival tasks and new policies have to be designed for the acquisition of both analogue and digital collections, their distribution and programming, for database and rights management etc. Existing training courses and university M.A. programmes are not up to the complexity of the task. A more systematic approach, preferably the implemention of a permanent structure, would be necessary in order to synchronizing the needs of the archives and the offers of training and university programmes. e) Increased access to collections thanks to new technologies How does access to collections change with the advent of Digital distribution? Apart the often discussed advantages, do you think that the advent of Digital impose new costs and new problems in the short or medium term? The new information technologies have created opportunities to make film heritage accessible which could not have been imagined few years ago. Film heritage can be enjoyed and shared through a wide range of distribution channels and platforms ranging from high quality digital screenings to mobile phones applications. Online platforms like EFG and Europeana are a great opportunity for the archives to give visibility and new live to their collections. please see also answers to point d). In regard with the advent of Digital technologies, what do you think are the most important improvements in access services, as new services, new audiences to be reached, or improvement of old models and activities? What needs to be done so that these opportunities are seized and the potential dangers and/or risks are avoided? European film archives hold an enormous amount of interesting, rare and valuable material. The educational, cultural and economic value of this material is indisputable. Digitisation allows not only allow access for all, but offers innovative ways for the user to interact with the cultural content. There are many possibilities (crowd sourcing, user generated content) which have already been explored by film archives to involve users by inviting them to work with, to identify unknown or to contribute their own material. 10 Europeana is exploring new ways for users to participate in cultural heritage by extending social media programmes and the use of the semantic web (crowd sourcing, user generated content) 11. Digitisation can be the basis for new services, e.g in the educational sector or tourism. Since it requires new skills for people working in cultural heritage institutions, digitisation can be a driving force of innovation and the creation of new jobs Der Erste Weltkrieg in Alltagsdokumente 7

8 The future will show whether these kinds of new services will take their place alongside the traditional activities of cultural institutions or replace them. Do you believe that VoD platforms (i.e. the auteurs) or even mobile platforms provide an attractive point of access for heritage films? Do you think that the underlying business model works only for special interest audiences or do you see potential to even serve larger audiences? In your opinion, why do only few internet platforms offer heritage films in their catalogues today? It is desirable to make European Film Heritage available on a wider range of platforms, including its distribution on commercial platforms (DCP, VoD) and the European Film Gateway EFG could be the basis for providing a more developed and attractive access to heritage films. Heritage platforms address a specifc audience which could potentially be enlarged, depending on what kind of content and services film archives are offering. What is hindering Film Heritage Institutions from making available films and related film material to Europeana? What are the limiting factors, and what can be done to overcome them? Copyright (please see answer d). Lack of digitised material. A stronger financial commitment by national ministries and the EU is needed. Europeana s metadata policy: All metadata Europeana receives from content providers and aggregators will be made available without restriction on their re-use, whether commercial or non-commercial. Many providers are not prepared to waive all rights on their metadata and to allow display of their data in commercial contexts. What are the expectations of the Educational sector (at all levels) from the digitisation of the European Film Heritage? What is to be gained by mass digitisation and access projects from the standpoint of the Education, and what is to be lost if these projects are not made possible? There is an increasing demand for digital content from schools, arts, education, journalists, universities, and media professionals. Pupils, students and teachers ask for audiovisual content that can be integrated into the curriculum and be used to develop new learning tools. In the framework of the Images for the Future project education platforms and services are developed and tested. To encourage funding on national and European level, it s necessary to emphasize that digitisation is also an investment in the future. What are your experiences, negative or positive, in this field and what can the other institutions / companies learn from them? Is there any project using digital technologies for access that you find particularly interesting? From your personal user perspective, what are you expecting from an attractive on-demand service giving you access to heritage films? In EFG, film archives work together closely on building a joint platform in order to promote the content they make available on their own websites. Not only the collaborative aspect is appealing but also the fact that a great number of digital collections stored in many different repositories and local servers can now be accessed through a single access point. EFG could be even more attractive by offering more moving image material. This is currently not possible, due to copyright restrictions and a lack of digitised moving image material. Other project using digital technologies which provide an appealing on-demand-services are 8

9 MUBI and Europa Film Treasures, the later being concerned with quality not quantity, the website presents each film work with great care and detail. In terms of personal expectations from a good on-demand service, it would probably be most satisfying to be offered a large quantity of material with as much attention to detail in terms of contextualisation, metadata and multilingualism as possible. f) Digital cinema and film heritage Do you think that cinematheques, and in general the non-profit sector can (or should at all) be equipped for D-Cinema projection? Would that cost be sustainable, should it be supported by public funding? And if you think that it is not realistic to expect that the non-profit sector get equipped for D-cinema projection, what in your opinion would be the consequences, from an economical and cultural standpoint? Cinémathèques must be digitised. The schedule will vary from country to country but heritage film institutions cannot stay behind the rest of the industry. In countries that digitise the majority of screens on a rapid schedule, the need to digitise the cinémathèque screens is more pressing, because in a few years, no film prints will be made nor can old ones be projected outside the cinémathèques. In your experience, is distribution of archival material for D-cinema more expensive than traditional distribution on film? Do you think there are ways to reduce these costs or is it simply a matter of time? There is already not great deal of difference in the cost, and it varies both ways. In your opinion, do the D-cinema standards (as they are currently discussed) allow for the projection/distribution of digitized heritage films? If you think they are not, please tell us how they should be modified, or if even a completely different standard is advisable The current SMPTE standard provides for a selection of archival film frame rates. These should satisfy most needs. There are no other major aspects in which archive films differ from modern films. Also in your opinion, are the same standards adequate for Long Term Preservation for born digital or digitized cinema works, or do you think that some other format should be used, and in this case, what characteristics should it have? Is there a case for European harmonization of those standards, in a European standard or similar? Would your organization be willing to engage in such a project? Should be legally enforced (for ex. in the case of legal or contractual deposit? There are no well-adopted standards for the long-term preservation of digital cinema works. The final distribution DCP can be archived as is or converted to a version with more error correction data but still using JPEG 2000 coding. Original materials should be archived either as DCDMs or losslessly coded JPEG2000 images using an archive profile like for the DCP. More research into and experience from implementations of the complete workflows and organisation of a digital film long-term repository is needed before thinking about standardising the formats. g) Legal aspects (national) h) Awareness and readiness 9

10 What is it in your opinion, the degree of awareness and readiness concerning Long Term Digital Preservation of digitized or born digital works? Please comment on your Institution / Company but also on the whole environment: National Government bodies, Film Heritage Institutions, Cinema Industry (post houses, producers, distributors ), EU Institutions, Technical Industry, etc. In case you judge that the level of awareness and readiness is insufficient, what do you suggest needs to be done? Compared to the overall discussion and the demands to boost digitisation and increase access to cultural heritage, the awareness concerning long-term preservation is low. More research in this field is needed, the initiative must be taken by national governments. 10

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