Fast Forwarding Video Preservation and Digital Engagement

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Art, Media and American Studies


The aim of this project is to utilise the video digitisation suites that the East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA) acquired in our previous Capability for Collections grant (AH/V011952/1) to actively engage new and, particularly, youth audiences in collections-based research and digital engagement. These activities will make use of and preserve valuable, under-studied and at-risk parts of our collections that are of local, national and international significance. We will achieve the engagement strategies through partnership with the BBC who will collaborate on the selection of content and the digital outputs, and make use of the generated digital content for their 'BBC at 100' celebrations (2022).

EAFA's extensive collections of film, video and born-digital content, covering the 1890s to the present, are a valuable resource for academics and educators working across a range of disciplines. EAFA is a thriving research centre, collaborating on a range of funded research projects and educational initiatives. These projects reflect the strengths of our collections in amateur filmmaking and regional television (BBC East / ITV-Anglia), but also EAFA's cutting-edge digital expertise and infrastructure. In 2020, EAFA was successful in securing funding for seven video digitisation kits from Capability for Collections. This consisted of:
- 7 x FSI DM240 (professional 'reference' video monitor with waveform displays, legal levels and vectorscopes)
- 7 x HP EliteDesk PC's
The new equipment, in combination with Leitch Timebase Correctors, Vrecord (open source video digitisation software) and Blackmagic video capture cards make up seven video digitisation workstations that can digitise a wide range of formats and are able to be operated by student volunteers (following a short training programme).

The BBC collection includes a number of 'at-risk' video formats as well as film titles. EAFA's proposal is that the archive will digitise a range of BBC videos and films alongside selections from other valuable EAFA collections to meet the objectives of the research and engagement strategies. This grant will fund digitisation of approximately 550+ hours of video and film content. Some of this will be undertaken by the technical team in EAFA but we will also train a small group of UEA students to: digitise BBC and other EAFA tapes; to catalogue the material; to assist in selecting material for EAFA's annual Mash up filmmaking competition; and curating a selection of BBC content online and programmed at a live event. The material will also be viewed and interacted with by the public as part of the BBC's 100th Anniversary, within their flagship 'Story of Us' online platform.

The qualitative and quantitative research undertaken at the end of the project with the archive volunteers and Mash Up competition entrants will be used to produce an open-access report aimed at key stakeholder organisations we consulted (BBC, BFI, National Lottery Heritage Fund, INTO Film) and the wider heritage / screen education sectors. This will address their desires to understand the values and impacts of digitisation training, online curation and creative reuse projects for engaging youth audiences and developing their future skills.


10 25 50
Description Preserving and presenting BBC archival content for BBC at 100 
Organisation British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Department BBC Information and Archives
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution - Digitsied films form BBC East Collection for preservation purposes - Provided content for BBC Rewind platform (for BBC Centenary) - Curatorial expertise in identifying content for BBC Centenary - Feedback to BBC regarding value of creative reuse / youth engagement projects
Collaborator Contribution - Staff support with additional knowledge and research about the holdings to help make an informed decision about the best selections for digitisation and creation of metadata. - Allowing selections of content to be made available to EAFA's Mash Up filmmaking competition and content wapproved subject to editorial and rights checks. - In-kind licensing of content for proposed non-commercial engagement activities eg screenings - Allowing a small selection (exact numbers TBD) of digitised films to be made available on a curated highlights page on free of license fee
Impact Digitisation of BBC films and videos (see main form)
Start Year 2022
Description Mash Up filmmaking competition 2022 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Creative reuse competition with 40 entrants form under 18 and over 18 categories. As some worked in groups, resulted in 29 new mash up films based on theme of 'Climate Crisis' . These subsequnetly screened at public events and curated online
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
Description Shorts - The East Anglian Collection at the Norwich Film Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Special screening and awards fore winners of the Mash Up competition which was key engagement activity of project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022