MON 23RD APR 2018


Bringing the family business community together

Preserving & Maximising Archive Film Footage

14th May 2017 Paul Andrews

A family firm in Scotland has the potential to turn your archive films into remarkably cost-effective promotional tools.  

Your history is an asset and you need to need to make the most of it at every opportunity. Many companies have precious films that have been lying in storage or in a basement and as each day passes they lose these priceless films due to decay. Families put memories on film – and now’s the time to take them back off, and to put them to work for the business.

Prior to this century there wasn’t a huge amount of urgency to digitise as it was expensive, and the opportunities to showcase films were limited. The growth of the internet, company websites, Facebook and Twitter has changed all of that.  

iMetafilm, a Scottish family firm has developed incredible new technology to enable businesses to save and use their historical footage.  Scanning can now be carried out at affordable prices and to the highest resolution (no more grainy video tapes) too.

Imetafilm was founded by husband and wife team, Michael and Linda Howell.  They used their vast experience from the film industry to develop amazing technology – now patented – which enables companies’ heritage films to be kept and viewed forever.   In September 2016, iMetaFilm opened their new, fully equipped, film digitisation studios in Glasgow.

Discover What’s There

The most immediate thing family firms need to do is to discover what ‘s on their films.   With advanced, cost-efficient technology, it is now possible to see a low resolution ‘viewer’ copy.  This will reveal the content of each film and allow decisions to be made as to what material is worth fully digitising and what isn’t.  Previously, the only option open to companies was to fully digitise and consequently many of them paid thousands of pounds - only to discover their films were blank.

The ‘viewer’ copies will also identify the quality of the film and from here it is possible to begin the process to digitise an archive. This can be done in stages, and allows familyfirms to prioritise the most important content.

Digitising Films

You should choose the company to digitise your film based on two factors - quality and cost. Archive film that’s been stored over a long period of time is often very fragile and requires a digitising process that is very gentle.  It is recommended that firms only use a company with sprocket-less scanners and one that is able to deliver at least 4K resolution. (the higher the film quality, the greater the value of the content).  Location is not an issue as courier companies now offer inexpensive, trackable services too.

Putting an old film through a scanner with sprockets could seriously damage the films, causing tears and losing valuable images.  This is even more important if films have sound, as the scanning machines need to have high tension on the film to capture the sound. 

Maximising The Value of Your Content

Now that you have preserved the precious content you need to maximise its value.  Every company website should showcase its films. The history, heritage, reliability and reputation of a family business have been created through many years of trading – and archive films provide the evidence of that history. This is especially true for family companies whose history often goes back decades or even centuries.

Companies can use their footage in their receptions – providing them with a far more powerful reminder to their visitors and staff of their past than a few tired old prints hanging on the walls.

Many create their own short stories from their films and use these at ‘away-days’ and induction days to remind their staff of the company’s heritage, to show them just how far the company has come, and to provide inspiration for the future.

Archive Films can be used on social media, Facebook, Twitter and for Marketing material – something that newer companies cannot do. One company for whom IMetafilm digitised some 1950’s TV adverts gained invaluable publicity on TV and social media – with the opportunity to re-use the material some 60 years after it was created for TV – but this time on laptops, Ipads and mobile phones.

There are now thousands of different TV and internet channels and, as they all battle for elusive viewers, unique, original content is king – and there’s not enough of it around. Broadcasters, documentary makers, film companies and clip sales organisations will pay high prices for unique, landmark content – which could appear in films, documentaries or adverts.  Imagine the publicity a company could gain from a historical documentary about them aired on National TV!

Finally, we can tell you of a family company which recently digitised a film from their ‘new’ factory opening in the early 1960’s.  When the family watched the film it brought tears to their eyes - the opportunity to see their family again, alive and smiling. It really brought home to him just how far the business had come since those early days.  

For more information visit or contact David Connolly on 07711035432 or



Sign up to our newsletter for email alerts

Supporting Links



comments powered by Disqus