The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 13, Number 8
Dec 1989


Filmlife President Meets Preservation Librarians

Reprinted with permission from the New Jersey Library Association's Preservation Section Newsletter v.5 #4, Summer 1989, p. 4. Originally entitled "Spring Conference Program."

Marvin A. Bernard, President of Filmlife, Inc., Moonachie, NJ [AN Jan. 1987, p. 10], and his associate, Edward Stern, presented a talk with slides describing the company's facilities and services. Among the services Film-life provides are: chemical impregnation rejuvenation (scratch and imperfection removal); restoration of shrunken or water-damaged film; film storage; cleaning; transfer of nitrate base film to safety film; transfer of film to videotape and other format transfers; videotape duplication; film frame blow-ups; and a number of special services to the theatrical film and television market.

Barnard warned the audience that when films are copied on videotape, the original film should be kept as an archival copy. He warns, "Videotape is for now. Film is forever," and points out that there are many serious, well documented problems with the stability of videotape and with the long-term preservation of images on tape. "If you plan to stay married 25 years, film the wedding, don't videotape it. When you put the tape in the VCR at your silver wedding anniversary all you may see is snow."

Am important service that Filmlife provides is the rescue, repair and restoration of damaged, soiled and injured films. Once such films are rescued and repaired, they can be copied for preservation and for use.

Responding to questions about the chemicals used in his processes; whether there are residual chemicals left on the films; if aging tests had been done on films processed by him; and how libraries could be sure there were no potential long-term problems with his treatments, Barnard responded that his processes were proprietary and were trade secrets. He furnished anecdotal information about a number of famous, seriously damaged collections that he has treated and how long they have survived.

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