Wednesday, March 09, 2005

ProTek tour 2/24

I thought I would finally post about the ProTek tour at the end of last month. Rick Utley was very generous with his time and spoke to the small group of us there for at least an hour. He spoke about film preservation generally and a bit about the history of preservation. This included information on marketing and how studios began to find preservation profitable, including the rise of cable and video. He also spoke about the future of film preservation. It is not only important to know about film, it is increasingly important to be aware of digital elements. With the future of filmmaking leaning toward digital intermediates and digital projection/delivery, our generation of film archivists must be thinking ahead.

We took a short tour of the vaults. Much of the business done at ProTek is in storing films, including most of the original Disney animation negatives. They also parcel out preservation work to other labs. ProTek was started as a part of Kodak and is one of the sites of the AMIA Kodak Fellowship. The vaults themselves were very interesting. There is of course climate control and state of the art security and fire suppression technology. The shelves that hold the film cans are moveable. This way there is much better use of space than if they were affixed shelving. Each giant row of shelving can be moved to the side with the use of a hand crank.

After the tour Rick answered some of our questions and gave us some general advice for our studies/careers. It was a very informative visit. It is too bad that there wasn't a bigger turnout. Hopefully some of you will get another chance to go when things aren't so hectic.