Internationally, EYE is a pioneer in the restoration and digitisation of film. There are more than 20,000 nitrate films from the first half of the 20th century in EYE’s collection that demand constant attention. These extremely flammable materials are disintegrating and must be copied in order to be screened.The ‘regular’ celluloid films in the collection – approximately 30,000 films from 1950 to today – also need special care, as many of them are in danger of fading and deteriorating due to ‘vinegar syndrome’, a form of acidification.
The Institute has been praised for its exceptional and technically innovative restorations of classic, experimental and silent films. Titles such as Beyond the Rocks (1922, with Rudolph Valentino and Gloria Swanson), J’accuse! (Abel Gance, 1919) and Wan Pipel (1976) by Pim de la Parra have all had a new lease of life as beautifully restored copies, thanks to the professional efforts of the skilled staff at EYE. EYE has won a number of international prizes for its restoration work in the past years, including the Jean Mitry Award, the Film Preservation Honors and the Prix Henri Langlois.
EYE works together with a number of film laboratories, including Haghefilm (NL) and Cineric (USA), to improve the quality of restoration. Together with T3Media (USA), EYE is digitising thousands of hours of film. This cinema-quality material will be available both online as well as for digital projection.
EYE provides access to its collection via a number of websites, thereby making a gold mine of film-historical material online available to a wide audience.
EYE has developed a website for young people called Film Restoration. Visitors to the site can take on the role of film restorer and repair damaged images, sound and original colours in films that were made 100 years ago. Afterwards, they can view the restoration that was done by EYE.
Images for the Future
EYE has worked together with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, the Dutch Nationaal Archief and Knowledgeland since 2007 on the major restoration and digitisation project called Images for the Future (Beelden voor de Toekomst).