Technical Aspects

Making an Unrivalled Collection Accessible

The National Film Board of Canada is the steward of the largest collection of Inuit films in the world. This historic collection, 110 films and counting, continues to grow as new NFB projects head into production in the North.

Making this ever-growing legacy accessible to today’s viewers has been an intricate process.

In order to create a box set showcasing productions from the 1940s to today, experts on the NFB collection had to undertake a complete inventory of all the elements (such as sound, image, original language, subtitles and distribution rights) for each film. Every title had its own unique technical (or sometimes legal) issueschallenges that required finessing.

The films in the Unikkausivut box set have been remastered to improve their sound and image quality. For films made before 1980, it was necessary to go back to the original film prints (or inter-negatives and -positives) to create new HD masters. The sound sources were digitized, cleaned up and re-synchronized with the enhanced picture. Most of the recent films use surround sound, but the pre-1980 films were left in their original mono sound format.

To preserve and celebrate the history, language and culture of the Inuit, the box set offers an exciting new feature: each film has been dubbed in the Inuktitut dialect of the region in which it was shot. This in itself was a complex enterprise. The NFB collaborated with Inuit advisors to produce an Inuktitut version of each film so that the collection will be a key resource for today’s Inuit audiences, as well as for future generations.