ERC Proof of Concept VeCoScan

Project Leader and Principal Investigator

Project Team

Dr. Giorgio Trumpy, Research Scientist, Imaging Science and Material Analyses of Cultural Heritage

Dr. David Pfluger, Senior Researcher and Film Restorer

Lutz Garmsen, Designer, Engineering Hardware and Software


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 an experimental multi-spectral and versatile core film scanner unit. This versatile design allows 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 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 addresses both of these current drawbacks: by improving the scanner, and by delivering infornation about the film stocks’ physical properties and approaches for color reconstruction, in line with high scientific standards. An accurate digital rendition of analog films is crucial for the long-term sustainability of digital representations.


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

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