his month we welcomed a new member to our team, Tulta Behm, who has joined Nulight as a Film Technician. With an MA in film preservation and years of training in both commercial and restoration facilities, Tulta brings a great breadth of experience to the team.
Making the move from the Netherlands to our home city of Bristol, Tulta has studied and worked all round the world having previously completed placements in London, New York and Lisbon as well as master’s degrees from both the University of Edinburgh and University of Amsterdam.
We have taken a moment to sit down with our new starter and find out what makes her tick!
What made you start a career in film restoration?
I have always loved the analytical nature of film restoration. I particularly enjoy researching into a film’s material properties and manufacturing history to discover the best way to approach a project. In this job you are continually problem solving which makes it both an engaging and challenging career.
You have a huge range of experience! Can you tell us more about it?
It has been important to me in all my roles to gain as much exposure as I can to skilled technicians and learn from their vast experience. Consequently, I have worked in photochemical processing, machine maintenance, sensitometric testing and carried out material analysis. I have learned analogue restoration methods and studied motion picture science.
The laboratory training I have pursued adds practical skills to the knowledge acquired through my MA, and to research I undertook at the Image Permanence Institute into the long-term impact of film handling practices. But of course, I feel like I am only scratching the surface compared to people who worked with film in its heyday.
What made you choose to work at Nulight?
Nulight Studios was recommended to me by my professor at university, a woman I really respect for her contribution to archive film research. I knew then that they were a firm that approached film preservation from a highly technical angle, and from whom I could stand to learn a lot. I met with staff and visited the facility in February 2020, and was so impressed by the warm welcome and by the specialised knowledge of their film restoration department, that I decided to go for it and make the move. Of course, I had to wait until the end of the first lockdown in late summer until I could travel!
What is your favourite part of the role so far?
It is the mystery. Every new project that comes in offers something unforeseen. Sometimes it is a particularly difficult reel that requires a bespoke approach to get the materials into shape for digitisation, sometimes it is the surprising images you see once it is on the scanner. Film still holds so much potential, as an archive object or artistic and broadcast medium, and I am still learning how to capture that at its fullest extent when I am doing a digital restoration.
What are you hoping to learn more about at Nulight?
I am particularly interested in learning more about colour management and undertaking further training as a colourist. I have trained with colourists in the past and I gained a good working knowledge of the behaviour of colour film from working in photochemical laboratories, but I would like to develop my understanding of how that translates into digital workflows through my work at Nulight.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Outside of work, I still have an avid interest in film! I obviously watch a lot of it, in the cinema when I can, but I’ve also taken part in artist-led film workshops in camera, printing and hand-processing techniques and I try to keep my hand in. In the rest of my spare time I love to read, wander, and draw, dig for records or haunt the charity shops.
And finally, since moving to Bristol what is your favourite spot in the city?
It’s been a strange year to move to a new place, I haven’t spent as much time mixing in crowds or discovering new hangouts as I’d like to, but I often walk on the Downs and take in the view across Ashton Court. I like the harbourside, which reminds me of Rotterdam where I lived before, with the wharf buildings and big cranes. And then there are hills, which I sorely missed in the Netherlands! I have had fantastic vegan food — a big plus in this city. I am looking forward to getting to know it all better as places open again.