Film preservation lab
Nau mai ki te Taiwhanga Rokiroki Kiriata, welcome to the Film Preservation Laboratory.
Our film lab started production in 2015 after acquiring film processing equipment from Park Road Post Production in Miramar. Our small team of technicians have extensive training in film grading, printing and processing. Many of our team started their careers with the very production company that we are now preserving – the New Zealand National Film Unit.
Motion picture film processing is a complex process of chemical reactions to create a replicate image of a moment shot in time. The Film Lab uses this same technique to preserve our archival films. We copy 16mm and 35mm black and white, and colour films onto a polyester base film stock. This is a stable plastic with a projected shelf life of 500 years. This fares much better than the older nitrocellulose or acetate bases that make up most of our holdings. The deterioration of these films is far more rapid than people ever thought. If we preserve them now, when we access and use the film in the future, it will still look much as it does today – all you’ll have to do is shine a light through it.
Please contact us if you have any questions about our film lab.