ERC Proof of Concept Development of a New Versatile Archival Film Scanner (VeCoScan)

Projektleitung und Principal Investigator


Dr. Giorgio Trumpy, Research Scientist, Materialanalyse für Kulturgut

Dr. David Pfluger, wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter Filmrestaurierung

Lutz Garmsen, Diplom Designer, Engineering



Film archives contain large and diverse collections of historical films. In order to exhibit and exploit these collections commercially, archives need to digitize their holdings. With more than 400 Mio. € per year globally and growth rates of 8 % annually, the digitization of analog film material is an exponentially growing market. However, as a study by the research team has shown, there is no professional high-end film scanner on the market that is able to digitize the whole range of these films.

The PoC VeCoScan tackles this lack of technical solutions by developing and testing a multi-spectral and versatile core film scanner unit. This versatile design will allow the film scanner to adapt the spectral distribution and the directional arrangement of its illumination system, based on colorimetric measurements of film stocks executed by the research team. The higher image quality of the raw scans will achieve better results in terms of both the accuracy with the original colors and the potential to digitally reconstruct faded colors that concern an estimated 90% of chromogenic film stocks up to 1980.

The most important bottleneck in digitization workflows is the optical set-up of the scanners. The second bottleneck is a lack of knowledge of historical films on the part of most service providers. The PoC will address both of these current drawbacks: by improving the scanner, and by delivering a comprehensive package that includes information about the film stocks’ physical properties and models for color reconstruction, in line with high scientific standards. As a result, scanning and post-processing times will be greatly reduced and workflows will become much more cost-efficient. Furthermore, an accurate digital rendition of analog films is crucial for the long-term sustainability of digital representation.


European Research Council (Proof of Concept) mit 148’320 EUR