We’re in the Movies (1940)

Town portrait of Traverse City, Michigan, created to help raise money for disadvantaged children, preserved by the History Center of Traverse City with NFPF support.

Preservation Assessment Checklist

To prepare an accurate cost estimate for preservation work, laboratories need a good deal of information about your film and what your archive needs. Before requesting an estimate, we recommend that you examine the film closely and begin thinking about the desired products.

Shown below is an informal checklist to guide your assessment. A good place to start for guidance on film handling and inspection is The Film Preservation Guide: The Basics for Archives, Libraries, and Museums and the AMIA website for home film collections, Review each reel of the film and fill out what you can. For complicated projects and restorations, laboratories may require a firsthand examination of the film. Many thanks to Film Technology Company, Inc., the Library of Congress and the UCLA Film & Television Archive for helping us prepare this checklist.

  1. What is the film title or identifier?
  2. When was the film made?
  3. What is the gauge of the film? (8mm, Super 8, 16mm, Super 16, 35mm, other)
  4. What is the approximate length in feet of each reel?
  5. On what type of film stock is the film?
    • Nitrate, Acetate, Polyester
    • Brand: Kodak, Agfa, etc.
  6. Is your film color or black-and-white?

    If color, what kind of film materials do you have?

    • Positive (interpositive, print)
    • Reversal (Kodachrome, Ektachrome, original, duplicate)
    • Negative (original, internegative)

    If black-and-white, what kind of film materials do you have?

    • Positive (fine grain positive, print, tinted print)
    • Reversal (original, duplicate)
    • Negative (original, duplicate)
  7. What kind of sound materials do you have?
  8. None: Silent

    Sound on film materials (magnetic, optical)

    Separate sound track



    Magnetic, Optical

  9. Describe any physical damage to the film.
  10. Color fading

    Deterioration of image

    Shrinkage (Approximate percentage?)*

    Stickiness or tackiness

    Tears, splices, and perforations

    Vinegar syndrome

    Warping and curling


  11. Will you be adding intertitles, credits or other introductory material?
  12. Does your archive have special exhibition or projection needs?
  13. What are the desired end-products from your preservation project?
  14. Internegative/Fine grain
    Video master
    Video copy
    Sound masters (reel to reel, DAT, etc.)

  15. Please provide contact information for the person who will be handling the project at your archive (name, phone number, email, fax number, address)

* If you do not have access to a film shrinkage gauge, one is available for loan from the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), 310-550-1300.