Deb Stoiber's Posts

Deborah Stoiber is the Nitrate Vault Manager at The Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center. She graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School in 1998. After graduation, she spent time at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY working on their 16mm collection.

The Vaults!!

Posted by on Sep 08 2009 | Motion Pictures

This week I will be spending my time exploring the impressive collection storage  held by the NFSA.

Materials in the collection are vast and include many areas of both film and television. This includes such items as: costumes (including the wedding dress worn by Toni Collette in the film “Muriel’s Wedding”), televisions, projectors, motion picture film, various video formats,  disks, wax cylanders, DVD’s, glass slides, production stills, film posters, film props and my personal favorite: a ‘clap-o-meter’ from a television studio.

Clap o meter

The Archive holds it’s materials in four separate locations which can basically be put into these categories: 1). Preservation materials; 2.)Access copies; 3.) Paper and registration (document) materials; 4.) Nitrate collection.  This week I will be given a tour of these separate areas and a brief study of how they are stored.

 Preservation copy-disks 1

One such area is involves the audio recording on disks.  Currently, the archive is working on a risk management project of ‘disk flipping;’ that is, taking recorded sound disks and flipping them in their vertical preservation storage containers.  This is to help prevent the the disks own weight from bending and damaging the disks.  This may sound rather odd, but image a disk sitting in the same position for 20 years.  Gravity could take a toll on such material. 


Other areas I will be reviewing include the film and video collection.  Stay tuned for more information!

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The ARC Cinema

Posted by on Sep 03 2009 | Other

One of the highlights for my trip to the NFSA is to visit the ARC , where I can sit in the dark and enjoy some of Australia’s wonderful cinematic offerings!

Trevor Anderson and Reece Black gave me a wonderful tour of the ARC Cinema and projection booths, including the lens collection they have for the Kineton projectors.  They also showed me a time a time captured video of the building of the cinema. It was fascinating to watch as the seats were built into a already existing space. 

I also got a glimpse of the HVAC system for the theatre.  It is truly remarkable, with a diffused system to allow an even exchange of air throughout the theatre.  This give all patrons the benefit of a comfortable environment, and greatly reduces the noise of  heaters and air conditioners turning on and off throughout the film.

 ARC cinema seats and HVAC

Taken from the NFSA website :

Arc’s projection booth is where the magic begins. The cinema is fitted with cutting-edge 35/16 mm changeover projection, using a pair of custom-designed Kinoton projectors chosen for their adaptability as well as for their precision technology. Arc’s Kinotons are amongst a handful of projection systems in Australia capable of screening all manner of historic and contemporary images in a wide range of aspect ratios, with the ability to run silent films at correct speeds.

Arc’s innovative sound system can present many different audio formats, from the earliest days of sound on film to state-of-the-art digital audio. Sound reinforcement for live accompaniment to silent film is also supported, paving the way for ground-breaking silent cinema events.

Reese Black-Projection 2

Arc’s state-of-the-art archival film projection system means that the NFSA will be able to screen rare prints not only from its own collection but from other libraries and archives around the world, opening up access to films rarely seen in Australia.

To read more about this wonderful venue, and see current film listings,  please visit

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A brief tour of Canberra!

Posted by on Sep 01 2009 | Other

Today, September 1st, is the first day of Spring! Now that I have adjusted to the time change, I can begin to explore my new surroundings.

Canberra (pronounced CAN-bra, with emphasis on the CAN) is Australia’s only completely planned city, designed around 1911. It is the home to approximately 320,000 Australians, most of whom are civil servants. It is also the home of some amazing museums!
On my first day of walking around the city I briefly passed some of these great sights. This included a view of Black Mountain Tower, which provides magnificent 260 degree views of the city and surrounding country.

Black Tower

The National Museum of Australia is the place to go to learn about the history of Australian settlement. It is on my list of places to visit on the weekends!

NMS sign

Across Lake Burley Griffin is the National Library of Australia. The folks at the Archive tell me it is worth a look, expecially the Ballet Russes exhibit currently on display.

National Library of Australia

Welcome to Canberra!

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Welcome to Australia!

Posted by on Aug 31 2009 | Motion Pictures


NFSA building up close

For the next four weeks I will be writing from Canberra, Australia, where I will be working at the National Film and Sound Archive. These blog posts will give you chance to follow along as I meet the staff of the archive, as well as take a closer look at their film collection.

Please join me on my journey through this great collection of Australian Heritage!

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Posted by on Aug 20 2009 | Other

Elaborate adventure drama is the latest acquisition in Eastman House’s nitrate motion picture collection opening credits

THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937) directed by John Cromwell and starring Ronald Coleman, Madeleine Carroll, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. is based on the 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda: Being the History of Three Months in the Life of an English Gentleman by Anthony Hope.  It is the story of King Rudolf V (Ronald Coleman) who, the night before his coronation, meets a man who is identical to himself. meeting in the woodsnight before illness 

As they toast their shared ancestors, the king falls ill, and the look-alike takes his place on the throne until he recovers.  CoronationAlong the way, the look-alike falls for the lovely Princess Flavia (Madeleine Carroll), the king’s intended.  She finds the “new king” much kinder and begins to love him in return.Madeleine CarrollRonald Coleman

Watching the film, some in the audience may think to themselves “Hey, this sounds a lot like the movie DAVE (1993) starring Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver” and you would be right-up to a point.  Here the plot changes and THE PRISONER OF ZENDA becomes more of an adventure story with sword fights, castles, and dungeons.

THE PRISONER OF ZENDA was a box office hit when released, giving producer David O. Selznick his second hit that year (the first was A STAR IS BORN with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March.)               

Accepted by the acquisitions committee, these elements make up a complete nitrate print, with material created in 1937 and 1945.  While the material is brittle due to the age, the shrinkage is very low, and the image quality is good.  Long term cold storage will ensure this print will last for years to come.Closing credits

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