Hawick Film and Video Group are a long-standing group of film creators from the small Scottish borders town of Hawick. The group was formed by a band of lovers in 1965, with the aim of combining their love of film and Hawick, to make their own original news reel style films that captured the life of their beloved town.
Since 1965, the group have released one independently shot film per year, each one lovingly titled The Hawick Pictorial. Each year a new member of the group had the chance to direct the film and shoot the town’s news and events from that year through their eyes.
Over the decades, the Pictorials have captured the cultural, social and economic history of this once thriving industrial town. The topics vary with some exploring the changing industrial landscape of Hawick, featuring the political debates surrounding the mill closures through the locals’ eyes. While others feature more feel good and nostalgic events such as local traditions and past times, like the Hawick Common Riding, the canoe club and rugby club. Also featured is the town team getting to the finals of the international It’s a Knock Out TV series, after having won the national competition the year before.
Having created an extensive and truly unique archive, we were delighted to be contacted by Alchemy Film and Arts, who Hawick Film and Video Group have recently partnered with, to help them preserve their time capsule collection by transferring their 8mm cine film to both a digital file and to DVD.
Why did they need an 8mm film transfer?
The main reason was to preserve the films and make them accessible to watch on modern devices.
The film club were keen to show their 1971 pictorial on its’ 50th anniversary. Given that 8mm film can degenerate over time, preserving the quality of many of the early films was crucial. The sound had been recorded separately on ¼ inch reels and there were deterioration issues there too. Synching the audio to the picture proved challenging.
With such an important anniversary date on the horizon, the group realised that they needed to take steps to preserve their archives so that they could be enjoyed for many more anniversaries to come.
How we helped
When Alchemy and the Hawick Film and Video Group got in touch, we knew that the solution would be to transfer their audio and cine film to digital. This way they could keep hold of their old reels for nostalgia, but also preserve their archive for future generations to enjoy.
For this project, the digitisation process worked in three parts. There are three film and audio reels for each film. So, we first needed to transfer the 8mm film to digital and then we needed to capture the sound reels separately. Once that was done, we then edited the video and sound recordings together to make a complete synchronised film – supplying the client with a DVD and master digital file for each film.
We started in October 2021 and transferred their 1971 Hawick Pictorial to digital so that it could be shown on the group’s 50 year anniversary event. Thankfully, the group were so happy with the results that they got back in touch with us to digitalise their entire archive and the project is due to be complete early this year.
It’s been great to work on such a unique project and help the Hawick Film and Video Group to preserve their town’s memories for future generations. If you would like our help with 8mm or other film transfers, get in touch today for more information on how we can help preserve your archives.