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The BFI's £12 million Master Film Store in Gaydon, Warwickshire will open next month.
The new building has been designed to improve the conditions in which the archive is kept and prevent it from deteriorating - and deal with the risk of nitrate film catching fire.
The BFI's Head of Collections & Information, Ruth Kelly showed BBC News around the old and new storage facilities, as well as what happens to film when it is not stored correctly.
The Master Film Store, which is in addition to the BFI’s existing archive site in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, will house up to 450,000 cans of film ranging from the early works of Mitchell and Kenyon to The King’s Speech.
The £12m state of the art, environmentally sustainable facility has been built on a disused military installation and will use green technologies to keep the films at a temperature of minus 5 degrees and 35% relative humidity, the optimum conditions for preserving films which could deteriorate if not kept in the right storage conditions.
The fire resistant site consists of six large acetate film stores and 30 smaller nitrate stores in a building of just under 3,000 square metres. The building process, began last October.
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