Nulight Studios are excited to announce a major new project, working with Bristol Archives, who have awarded us the contract for restoration and digitisation of some of the motion picture highlights from their British Empire and Commonwealth Collection. The majority of the footage in the collection was shot by colonial amateur filmmakers, documenting their time in empire-dominated and Commonwealth regions, with footage spanning the 1920s to the 1970s. Examples of footage we have encountered so far range from ‘home movies’ of colonial family life, to films made with a more ethnographic intention towards the indigenous peoples and environments.

The films we have received so far from Bristol Archives were predominantly shot on 8mm – most often used by amateur filmmakers – and 16mm, as well as some less common formats, including Pathé’s 9.5mm. So far we have received negatives, prints and reversals; black & white, colour; and several films featuring magnetic audio. Quite the mix!

Focusing on the current restoration and digitisation project, Archivist Jayne Pucknell says of the Empire and Commonwealth films,

“There is a wealth of informal footage reflecting people and their ways of life, both colonial and indigenous, from many different parts of the world. By digitising this film we will be protecting its contents for future generations, and will also be making this important visual heritage available to today’s researchers by uncovering previously hidden histories.”

Once completed, the project will see these historic films accessible through the Bristol Archives’ public searchroom, and eventually will be available online.

Nulight Studios have worked previously with Bristol Archives, providing restoration and digitisation services culminating in public screening of Empire and Commonwealth films in Bristol and North Somerset. Another reunion recently took place – Nulight film restorer Ele worked previously with the Empire Collection whilst volunteering at Bristol Archives, documenting and transcribing ephemera.



In addition to our national and international clients, as a Bristol-based company, Nulight Studios are keen to support local archive film projects wherever we can. We look forward to helping to preserve these unique stories.

Follow @NulightStudios on Twitter for further updates and announcements.

You can learn more about BECC by following @BristolArchives Twitter feed, and #EmpireCollection.

And you can find Ele at @Heritology for snippets of ‘behind the scenes’ film restoration content.