The Blackmagic Design Media Preservation Lab (MPL) positions our museum as a leading institution in the Asia-Pacific for the vital conservation of time-based media.
Located at ACMI, Fed Square on Level 1, the lab is a publicly visible space where our Collection team can often be seen undertaking digital preservation, digitisation and time-based media (TBM) conservation activities.
Visitors can peer through glass cabinets filled with wondrous artefacts from the Collection which add to the story of preservation as told in the videos playing on the MPL screens. The objects illustrate the variety of technologies which are part of the ACMI Collection; from the earliest film formats, to digital files delivered on hard drives. All items have pages on the ACMI website.
Blackmagic Design Media Preservation Lab (MPL) was designed in collaboration with BKK Architects and Second Story.
What are some of the preservation activities that can be seen?
Film condition checking and repairing – This takes place at the winding bench (front, right, when looking into the lab). We check the condition of films when preparing for digitisation or creating an inventory of a collection, and where necessary we make repairs to ensure the film won't suffer any damage during the digital scanning process.
Film scanning – This activity utilises the Blackmagic Design Cintel Scanner (front, left). We can scan 35mm and 16mm films on the Cintel Scanner. While scanning is in progress, the adjacent computer displays a live preview of the film.
Magnetic media capture – This activity utilises the tape capture rack (back, left). We can capture VHS, Betacam, SP Betacam, SX Betacam, DVCAM. While capture is in progress, the screen on top of the rack displays a live preview of the tape.
Optical disc capture – The optical disc capture workstation (back, right) is where we capture and analyse works on CD and DVD. These are often some of the more complex works to be preserved due to their reliance on particular combinations of hardware and software.
Film viewing – This activity uses the Steenbeck film viewer (in the middle at the back of the lab). We use the Steenbeck to watch a film for
Inventorying – This activity is typically carried out on the conservation table (in the centre of the lab). When new donations arrive at ACMI, one of our first tasks is to document all the items received to ensure we have a record of them entering our care.
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, colour correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.
As our Major Partner, Blackmagic Design’s support continues to extend our efforts in the preservation of film and magnetic media, born-digital content and art through a collaboration celebrating the creativity that drives our industry.
The ACMI Collection
Our collection has amassed over 250,000 items since collecting began over 70 years ago. Not only do we hold the State Film Centre collection (education, government and a range of independent films) but also film and TV artefacts, an array of moving image formats (analogue and born digital), experimental films, home movies, videogames and a rich collection of TBM artworks.
Explore a thematic selection of weird and wonderful titles and captivating glimpses of historic moments in time on the ACMI Collection YouTube channel.
Building a Media Preservation Lab
Read more about the conception, design and purpose behind the Blackmagic Design Media Preservation Lab.
More articles on preservation
Read all about the joys and challenges of collecting and preserving moving image works.