Photochemical laboratory

Analogue preservation and duplication

The Swedish Film Institute carries out analogue duplication and preservation mainly on films only existing on nitrate stock.

Swedish professional 35mm film was almost exclusively produced on nitrate stock until 1953. Nitrate is self-destructible if stored in bad conditions, and it is also highly flammable; it self-ignites at +38ºC.

For more information on the priorities, principles and methods involved in analogue preservation, see our Collection Policy.

Our policy is in accordance with recommendations from the Technical Commission of FIAF, as published in FIAF Preservation Best Practice.

Large-scale analogue preservation started in the 1960's, when feature-length films from the nitrate era began to be duplicated. In 1980 the Swedish Film Institute received additional funding in order also to preserve short and non-fictions films produced in Sweden until the early 1950's. In the mid 1990's a project of preserving films shot on colour acetate stock in 1950's, 60's and 70's began, since films produced on colour negatives during this period have proven to be subject to chemical deterioration, including severe colour fading.

Until 2011, all duplication and analogue preservation work was carried out at various commercial laboratory facilities in Sweden and abroad. When the last full-scale photochemical laboratory in Sweden closed down in 2011, the Swedish Film Institute set up its own in-house facility in Rotebro, where most of the analogue preservation work has been carried out since 2012. Read more about the SFI Laboratory Rotebro here.

Restoring and duplicating inflammable nitrate films onto safety stock is one of the Archival Film Collections’ main preservation missions. Photo: Gert Moberg.

Archival Film Collections

Phone: +46-(0)8-665 11 00