The Digital Repository - digitising film footage


There are more than 100 000 films in the collection of the National Film Archive. Despite careful storage of the negatives, long-term exploitation, the destructive passage of time or the chemical structure of colour film, which is susceptible to degradation, all have a negative impact on the technical quality of works recorded on film. The Digital Repository was established to digitally preserve, archive and disseminate the Polish cinematographic heritage. The main criteria when choosing titles for digitisation are their age and degree of destruction of the negatives. Thanks to digitisation and the digital restoration of the film footage in high resolution (2K / 4K), the National Film Archive is able to restrict the use of analogue archival materials and instead allow the use of digital copies of excellent quality.

After going through the digitisation process, the film materials are described in detail according to the latest European metadata model. For the purposes of the newly-created databases, the European Committee for Standardisation issued standards specifying how they should be recorded in film archives. The National Film Archive was the second in Europe, after the British Film Institute, to implement the elements and structures of the EN 15907 standards. The descriptions of films include, among others, a description of the content, comments of the makers and experts and press articles or trivia, while the newsreels contained a timecoded description of the sequences and a transcript of the voice-over narration. These materials are available on the website of the National Film Archive's Digital Repository. The site was launched on 21 March 2012. There are currently more than 4 700 film materials on the website.

The Digital Repository digitisation projects

Post-war feature films

Under the terms of a grant from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, in 2010,16 feature films were digitised: "Potop" [The Deluge] parts 1 and 2 (dir. Jerzy Hoffman 1974), "Pan Wołodyjowski" [Colonel Wolodyjowski] (dir. Jerzy Hoffman, 1969), "Wraki" [The Wrecks] (dir. Ewa and Czesław Petelski, 1956), "Lotna" [Speed] (dir. Andrzej Wajda, 1959), "Błękitny krzyż" [Men of Blue Cross] (dir. Andrzej Munk, 1955), "Baza ludzi umarłych" [The Depot of the Dead] (dir. Czesław Petelski, 1958), "Zemsta" [The Revenge] (dir. Antoni Bohdziewicz, Bohdan Korzeniewski, 1956), "Lokis. Rękopis profesora Wittembacha" [The Bear] (dir. Janusz Majewski, 1970), "Skarb" [Treasure] (dir. Leonard Buczkowski, 1948), "Złoto" [Gold Dreams] (dir. Wojciech Jerzy Has, 1961), "Prawo i pięść" [The Law and the Fist] (dir. Jerzy Hoffman, Edward Skórzewski, 1964), "Gangsterzy i filantropi" [Gangsters and Philanthropists] (dir. Jerzy Hoffman, Edward Skórzewski, 1962), "Lunatycy" [The Moonwalkers] (dir. Bohdan Poręba, 1959), "Trzy kroki po ziemi" [Three Steps on Earth] (dir. Jerzy Hoffman, Edward Skórzewski, 1965) and "Agent nr 1" [Top Agent] (dir. Zbigniew Kuźmiński, 1971). Five of them have been digitally restored ("Baza ludzi umarłych" [The Depot of the Dead], "Gangsterzy i filantropi" [Gangsters and Philanthropists], "Prawo i pięść" [The Law and the Fist], "Lunatycy" [The Moonwalkers] and "Trzy kroki po ziemi" [Three Steps on Earth]).

Lotna [Speed]

In 2010-2011, under the terms of a grant from the Polish Film Institute, "Lotna" [Speed] (1959) by Andrzej Wajda was digitally restored. The work took place under the supervision of the director.

Animated films from Animated Films Studio in Kraków 

Under the Multiannual Government Programme "Culture+", in 2011-2012, 39 animated films produced by Animated Films Studio in Kraków were digitised and digitally restored. The project included films by Julian Józef Antonisz, Jerzy Kucia, Krzysztof Kiwerski, Ryszard Antoniszczak and Aleksander Sroczyński.

Pre-war documentaries

Under the Multiannual Government Programme "Culture+", in 2012-2013, 175 documentary films from the pre-war period were digitised, including newsreels of the Polish Telegraphic Agency and the Experimental Studio, news reports, educational, promotional and ethnographic films and other preserved documentaries.

Potop [The Deluge]

Under the terms of a grant from the Polish Film Institute, in 2012-2014, "Potop" [The Deluge] parts 1 and 2 (1974) were digitally restored and a new cut was prepared named "Potop Redivivus" [The Deluge Redivivus] (editor: Marcin Kot Bastkowski, 2014). The work took place under the supervision of the director Jerzy Hoffman and cinematographer Jerzy Wójcik. The project was nominated for the 8th Polish Film Institute Awards in the category of Digital Restoration of a Work of Polish Cinema. The premiere screening of "Potop Redivivus" [The Deluge Redivivus] opened the 39th Gdynia Film Festival. The film was rereleased in cinemas and released on DVD and Blu-ray.  

Pan Wołodyjowski [Colonel Wolodyjowski]

In the years 2013-2014 the Repository oversaw work on the digital restoration of the film "Pan Wołodyjowski" [Colonel Wolodyjowski] (1969) by Jerzy Hoffman, which was made at Polish Television.

Sound materials and film trailers

Under the Multiannual Government Programme "Culture+", in 2013-2014, a collection of magnetic audio material for Polish feature films from 1950-1970 was secured. Over 300 titles of source RR, ER and MR-type magnetic materials were digitised. The digitisation included audio materials most at risk of being destroyed as well as film trailers.

Animated films from the Se-Ma-For Studio [Small Film Forms Studio] in Łódź

Under the Multiannual Government Programme "Culture+", in 2013-2015, in the first tranche, 30 short films were digitised from the collection of the Se-Ma-For Studio [Small Film Forms Studio]. Of these, 24 films underwent digital restoration and colour correction in high resolution. The first part of the project included films by Zbigniew Rybczyński, Piotr Dumała, Hieronim Neumann, Andrzej Kondratiuk, Roman Polański, Wojciech Marczewski, Filip Bajon, Krzysztof Krauze, Stanisław Lenartowicz, Jerzy Antczak and Ryszard Rydzewski. In the second tranche of the project, 42 films were digitised and 26 of them were subjected to digital restoration. The second tranche of the project included animated films for children by, among others, Jadwiga Kędzierzawska, Zenon Wasilewski, Tadeusz Wilkosz, Jerzy Kotowski and Edward Sturlis.

logo Repozytorium