Prof Mary Stuart CBE (Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln) ‘Preparing for the 21st Century’
Matt Lee (Head of Film, Imperial War Museums) ‘Going Over the Top: What does the super-enhancement of First World War footage mean for film archives?’
Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old and its employment of original First World War footage, massively cleaned-up, with frame interpolation, turned into colour and 3D, and with sound effects, has made the promised threat to the authenticity of archive film an urgent reality. Is it time to think beyond knee-jerk expressions of horror at such digital licentiousness? Is an acceptance of such treatment of archive footage a betrayal of everything an archivist stands for? Are we secretly enthralled by the results even as we fulminate about the sanctity of the original film? We look carefully at the genesis of the project and what the process has done to the source footage, and consider what, if any, ethical boundaries film archivists might try to impose.