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INESC TEC and ISEP research innovates access to cinema archives

The research carried out within the scope of the CHIC project aims to make an important source of information, with cultural and historical value, accessible to the public and society in general. By proposing a set of tools that allow intuitive access to cinema archives, the developed solution focuses on transforming the current scenario, according to which said archives are content deposits only available to specialised technical staff.  

28th April 2021

More specifically, the project focused on the development of new paradigms in accessing large cinema archives, allowing more intuitive views of the archives’ contents, thus overcoming the obstacles associated with the usual extensive lists of results, and improving the users’ experience.

This new approach allows exposing relationships between content, using techniques for big data visualisation. The presentation of content via a network of links allows, for instance, the establishment of a potential relationship between films, made clearer by the fact that they share some elements in common, like an actor, a director, certain technical features, etc. Another aspect that improves the access to archives is the creation of groups of films, namely according to common characteristics, i.e., their genre.

In addition to this visualisation mode, allowing to check the archive as a whole, the project also explores the concept of cinema metrics, in order to create new approaches for viewing individual content, through film summaries, i.e., video abstracts that explore their visual characteristics, namely the range or palette of colours, the movement, and the film’s structure, among others. In this sense, the solution allows the quick identification of certain elements, making it possible to observe potential styles, associated with creative decisions made by the directors.

It is important to mention that this form of visualisation will improve, for example, studies in cinema, by allowing to identify similar styles between films or directors through the analysis of the aforementioned metrics. The results of this project represent “an important paradigm shift in the management and access to cinema archives, exposing information that would not be visible otherwise”, said Paula Viana.

The team of researchers from INESC TEC’s Centre for Telecommunications and Multimedia (CTM) and ISEP included Paula Viana, Inês Teixeira, José Pedro Pinto, Filipe Chen and Bruno Pinto. Cinemateca was also one of the partners in activity B1 of the CHIC project.

The INESC TEC researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and IPP-ISEP.