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From Grain to Pixel

From Grain to Pixel: The Archival Life of Film in Transition

Series: Framing Film
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    From Grain to Pixel
    Book Description:

    Film is in a state of rapid change, with the transition from analog to digital profoundly affecting not just filmmaking and distribution, but also the theoretical conceptualization of the medium film and the practice of film archiving. New forms of digital archives are being developed that make use of participatory media to provide a more open form of access than any traditional archive has offered before. Film archives are thus faced with new questions and challenges. From Grain to Pixel attempts to bridge the fields of film archiving and academic research, by addressing the discourse on film ontology and analysing how it affects the role of film archives. Fossati proposes a new theoretization of film archival practice as the starting point for a renewed dialogue between film scholars and film archivists. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1069-6
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
    (pp. 9-11)
  4. Framing Film (in Transition): an Introduction
    (pp. 13-29)

    Film is in a state of rapid change, a transition where analog (photochemical) film is being gradually replaced by digital film. Most think that digital projection will substitute traditional film projection already within a few years. This transition, evident across media in both the commercial and the cultural fields, profoundly affects not only the practice of filmmaking and distribution, but also the practice of film archiving, and the theoretical conceptualization of the medium.

    Past instances of technological transitions within film have succeeded one another throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth century, from a variety of pre-cinema technologies and practices to...


    • CHAPTER ONE Film Practice in Transition
      (pp. 33-102)

      In this chapter I will describe and discuss the main changes that are taking place in film archival practices today, from preservation to exhibition and access, as a result of the introduction of digital technology. While doing so, I will introduce links with the changes in theoretical approaches within current film and new media theory, which, in turn, will be central in the following chapter.

      The objective of the following pages is to provide a snapshot of the current practices in film archiving, focusing, in particular, on the changes brought about by the introduction of digital tools. A detailed snapshot...

    • CHAPTER TWO Theorizing Archival Film
      (pp. 103-145)

      In this time of technological transition from analog to digital film, along with changing practices, different perspectives, expectations and demands are at play. Scholars are re-evaluating the object of their study and archivists are rethinking the aims of their work. Both are questioning the nature of film and how film is changing while moving from grain to pixel. It is precisely at this time of transition that the dialogue between scholars and archivists can be particularly valuable for both theory and practice.

      However, although both film archivists and film scholars are dealing with similar dilemmas, the dialogue between them is...


    • CHAPTER THREE Film Archival Field in Transition
      (pp. 149-210)

      As I am investigating the interplay between theory and practice in this time of transition from analog to digital technology, in this chapter I will be looking at the field trying to determine how new frameworks and concepts, elaborated from film and media theory, can be related to the different approaches to film archival practice in transition identifiable in the field. This work, as I have earlier pointed out, not only looks at transition from analog to digital as its object of research, but its very perspective is positioned in transition. Therefore, I will look in the first place for...

    • CHAPTER FOUR Restoration Case Studies: Theorizing Archival Practice
      (pp. 211-253)

      In the previous chapter I associated archives and laboratories with frameworks and theoretical concepts and I pointed out how different frameworks and concepts can be retraced in their policy. It is in the everyday practice of film restoration that frameworks and concepts get mixed and combined. Film restorers are confronted with many choices, driven by both ethical questions and technicalities, and it is often difficult to interpret a restoration work from one theoretical perspective only. Furthermore, it would be artificial to do so. Indeed, to quote Bruno Latour, we should refrain from transforming film from a “factual artefact” into an...

  7. A New Mindset for (Archival) Film in Transition: a Conclusion
    (pp. 255-260)

    Before moving to a concluding note, I will briefly sketch some of the steps that have brought us here.

    My investigation of the changes occurring in film technology and practice and their influence on film archives has highlighted that archives are undergoing radical changes in their practices. This is due to the many technological, social and cultural transformations related to the transition to digital and, since such changes are ongoing and it is not clear yet where they will lead, archives have a unique chance to rethink their role and tasksin medias res.

    The analysis of the interplay between...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 261-284)
    (pp. 285-290)
    (pp. 291-292)
    (pp. 293-296)
    (pp. 297-310)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 311-320)