Performance of Abel Gance’s 1927 masterpiece Napoleon, September 24, 2007 at the Coliseum in Rome with the Triptych being shown on an 8.5 x 33 meter screen. The screen was built next to the Arch of Constantine on the Plazza del Colloseo, with the seating area and projection room in the Via de San Gregorio. Napoleon image copyright; Zoetrope Corporation and The Film Preserve, Ltd, with permission Courtesy: Boston Light & Sound, Inc.

Nitrate Committee

Chairs: Rachel Del Gaudio and Oscar Becher

The Nitrate Committee is dedicated to promoting the safe and professional management of nitrate film by the AMIA membership. Its presence is founded on the recognized longevity of nitrate film when stored according to archival standards and its principal goal is to ensure the longtime survival of the world’s nitrate film heritage.

The Nitrate Committee was originally established to converse about nitrate film in an intellectual/theoretical manner. Over the past few years the committee has evolved into a  coalition to help institutions manage the regulations that accompany storing, packing and shipping nitrate film. By linking together all archives, libraries and laboratories that work with nitrate film, we can achieve more cost effective prices in film handling as well as aid one another.

Buying or Selling Nitrate Film?

If you are looking to buy nitrate film, please read the document titled Identifying and Handling Nitrate Film. It was put together by members of this Nitrate Committee. While as film archivists we are concerned with the film itself, our main concern is your safety when dealing with material many governments deem as hazardous. Nitrate film is highly flammable and therefore cannot be legally shipped by conventional mail services due to restrictions.

Need to inform someone that an item they are buying or selling may be nitrate film? The committee has written these blurbs that you may feel free to send as an email in order to provide more information.

Current Projects

  • Creating a document that outlines the pertinent regulations for nitrate film as well as sources for materials required for packing and shipping.
  • Oral history testimonies of what it was like manufacturing and working with nitrate film during nitrate’s heyday.
  • Compiling a complete list of institutions and their contact information that house nitrate anywhere in the world. This will help individuals who have come across nitrate in their collections get in touch with the nearest establishment for assistance.
  • Working to get regulations such as the NFPA and MSDS for nitrate film to more properly reflect the qualities of the substance and not what has become common misconception.

Ongoing and Past Projects

  • A Flickr site to help identify any unknown films, actors, color processes, or equipment. This is not limited to only nitrate based films but instead is open to all kinds of film.
  • Adding any interested institutions to the group discount that the NC has established for the required Emergency Response Telephone Number.
  • Offering a mass certification course on even years at the AMIA conference to certify attendees to pack and ship nitrate film.
  • Promoting nitrate film screenings throughout the year as a way to visually promote the importance of preserving nitrate.
  • Nitrate Film Identification and Handling Guide – document can be found on the NC’s webpage.
  • Regional meetings where nitrate archives are visited, nitrate films are screened and any issues or research is presented. The first of these is currently being planned for 2011.