Prasad Corp, which offers a comprehensive range of preservation, digitization and restoration services worldwide, has signed a deal to digitize a considerable part of the newsreel collection of the Film Archive of the National Archives of Estonia (NAE). NAE’s newsreel collection consists of 275 hours of audiovisual material and documents a broad range of culturally significant Estonian history spanning over 70 years, currently only around 10% of which has been digitized in HD or higher.
The NAE is currently carrying out two film related digitization projects, one of which includes newsreels made between 1914 and 1991. As a result of this project, 120 hours of newsreels will be digitized and catalogued during the upcoming months. The material spans a period of 27 years – from the first Soviet Estonian newsreel, Nõukogude Eesti no. 1 released in 1940, until the late 1960s.
The project includes preparation work (i.e. inspection, repair, cleaning of reels), cataloguing which is carried out by the Estonian Film Database (EFIS), and the digitization and post processing of the 35mm black-and-white newsreels in 4K resolution by a team consisting of Prasad and Estonian digitization specialists Ratus OÜ. Ratus OÜ has diverse know-how in carrying out digitization projects, from the post processing of films to the digitization of paper-based documents and has carried out large-scale digitization projects in European countries and the Middle East for private and public sector companies and institutions.
The workflow is divided between Estonia and India. Digitization is being carried out with Prasad-owned DFT’s Scanity HDR film scanner onsite in Tallinn, while the post processing and creation of deliverables will be completed in India, following which preservation, access and online copies (i.e. TIFF, WAV and MOV files) will be delivered to the NAE.
Simon Clark, Prasad’s Vice President (Europe), said: “Being able to place a Scanity within the NAE to perform this key digitization program is a real honor for Prasad and is one of our unique capabilities. This is truly an international project with the teams in Tallinn and Chennai working very closely together to save these incredibly historic and important newsreels.”
The NAE’s internal workflow normally sees around 50,000 meters of analogue film digitized per year, but this is a much more intensive project. “We are going to handle nearly 200,000 metres of original film elements, including fragile negatives and duplicates as well as nitrate film,” says Project Manager Kadi Sikka from the NAE. “The full service and equipment offered by Ratus OÜ/Prasad met our specifications perfectly. Scanity offers a great combination of film scanning applications specifically for archival films and mass digitization purposes. Its features offer gentle film transport
and help to reach the objectives of the project in the limited time frame. We are looking forward to the cooperation with Ratus OÜ/Prasad in the upcoming months.”
The project will conclude in 2022 and is expected to meet the target of delivering more than 800 newsreels online via the online platform of NAE’s Film Archive, alongside with the technical and descriptive metadata. As a result of the project, 50% of the newsreel collection of the NAE will be accessible online.
“It is a tremendous honor for us at Prasad to be chosen as the preservation partner of the National Archives of Estonia (NAE) a Government Agency under the Ministry of Education and Research,” comments Sai Prasad, Director, Prasad Corp. “It is our endeavor to meet and exceed the expectations of NAE, and Prasad greatly values this association.”
“The Embassy of Estonia in New Delhi is delighted to see the cooperation between the National Archives of Estonia and Prasad Corporation Pvt. Ltd. from India together with Ratus OÜ,” states a spokesperson from the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia. “This project of digitizing our national heritage by cooperating with partners from India is another example of great cooperation between the public and private sectors of our two countries. Estonia and India have a great potential to cooperate even more in digital transformation by enhancing the cooperation between our public and private sectors.”