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  • a strip of yellow tinted film

UofSC virtual film project awarded two-year National Endowment for the Humanities grant

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at UofSC has been awarded a $349,106 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities from its Preservation Access Research and Development program. The two-year project will push the boundaries of possibility for scholarly access to motion picture film that survives today in film archives. 

The project team, funded by a 2020 Aspire-II grant from the UofSC Office of the Vice President for Research, is comprised of faculty, staff and students from University Libraries Moving Image Research Collections, the Computer Vision Lab, and Research Computing. 

The two-pronged project will build “Virtual Bench,” software that will provide scholars an entirely new method for viewing and annotating digitized archival films by imitating the experience of physically inspecting a film element one frame at a time. By allowing sophisticated frame annotation, scholars will be able to tag information on the film, save it and then share it with others.

The project will also build “Virtual Bench Compute,” AI software that will forensically examine films, looking for visual information outside the film frames including the film type, film production company, original filmmaker annotations, splices and more.

The principal investigators for the project are Greg Wilsbacher from University Libraries Moving Image Research Collections, Song Wang with the Computer Vision Lab and College of Engineering and Computing, and Jun Zhou of Research Computing and DoIT. 

The software will be open source with a Creative Commons license and cross platform (Linux, Mac OS and Windows).

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