Lab facility allows Eastman House to enhance preservation and increase accessibility of its world-class motion picture collections
Rochester, N.Y., September 29, 2014—George Eastman House announced today that it will operate a digital laboratory as part of its Moving Image Department, thanks to Eastman Kodak Company’s donation of state-of-the-art digital equipment. The gift will enhance George Eastman House’s in-house capabilities in film preservation, allowing broader access to the museum’s motion picture collection. The lab will be used for both digitizing select titles from the museum’s premier collection of more than 28,000 films, as well as preserving digitally-born works.
“With this gift from Kodak, George Eastman House is now one of only a few film archives and museums in the world with the equipment and technology for advanced digital work,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director of George Eastman House. “We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to improve the quality of our ongoing film preservation program, which will open doors to future collaborations with other collecting institutions.”
The digital lab, located in Building 205 at Eastman Business Park, will be staffed by members of the George Eastman House Moving Image Department beginning this fall. Kyle Alvut, formerly Film and Digital Systems Lab Manager for Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging division, will continue to manage the lab as part of the museum’s staff. The museum will lease the digital laboratory space, located in Building 205 on the Eastman Business Park campus, from Eastman Kodak Company – making George Eastman House the newest of over 55 tenants on site.
“This is a great outcome for Kodak, George Eastman House, and the motion picture archivist community,” stated Brad Kruchten, president of Kodak’s Graphics, Entertainment and Commercial Films division, and Senior Vice President of the company. “As Kodak’s film business has evolved, we have been able to leverage the infrastructure and expertise we have created over the years, and repurpose those assets in places where they can provide ongoing value. This is a great example of reapplying some very valuable Kodak resources to create a win-win for our partners and for the motion picture industry as a whole. I am very pleased that Kodak is able to help preserve and expand access to the important works within the museum’s collection, as well as to welcome the organization to Eastman Business Park as a valued tenant.”
As George Eastman House gradually increases the number of titles from its collection available in both film and digital formats, the digital laboratory will enable screening venues to choose the medium in which they prefer to exhibit these works from the museum’s collection. “Motion picture film remains the best and most durable carrier of moving images. Cinema has thrived for over 120 years in photochemical form, and our museum is committed to preserving and presenting it as such for posterity,” said Paolo Cherchi Usai, senior curator, Moving Image Department, George Eastman House. “Film and digital are different media—each with its own merits. Our institution embraces their coexistence as powerful tools for creativity and knowledge. Our investment in the digital future will be as steadfast as our passion for cinema as an art form.”
The George Eastman House digital laboratory will be available to the museum’s partner archives and museums. The lab will also allow digital restoration to become a major component of the curriculum in the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, the museum’s certificate and graduate program in partnership with the University of Rochester.
About George Eastman House
George Eastman House holds unparalleled collections, totaling more than four million objects, of photographs, motion pictures, cameras and technology, and photographically illustrated books. Established as an independent non-profit institution in 1947, it is the world’s oldest photography museum and third largest film archive in the United States. The museum is in Rochester, NY, and includes the National Historic Landmark house and gardens of George Eastman, the philanthropist and father of popular photography and motion picture film. Learn more at eastmanhouse.org.