The Technical Archive stores objects of all technical fields that are or were important for the production and screening of a film and shows their historical development. This includes cameras and their accessories, as well as camera trolleys, lighting technology, sound recording equipment, trick equipment, copying machines, cutting tables and film projectors. The amateur sector is represented as well as professional technology.
The archive also has a focus on the prehistory of film, preserving rare magic lanterns, mutoscopes, zoetropes and similar devices. The oldest device in the collection is a magic lantern from the 17th century, the oldest film camera dates back to 1897: a cinematograph Lumiere.
In addition to the equipment, the collection also includes technical documentation such as operating instructions, assembly instructions, advertising leaflets or spare parts lists and manufacturer catalogues.
The camera collection spans the wooden cameras of the late 1800s/early 1900s, including two rare Messter cameras from 1899 and 1900, to the classic silent film cameras and the large 35mm studio cameras of the 1950s. In terms of film projectors, DFF owns a large part of the Ernemann and Bauer product range, as well as equipment from the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France. Home cinema equipment documents the development of cine film technology from the first 17.5mm devices to 8mm and Super 8mm formats.
Technical equipment held by DFF is catalogued by type and companies. A large part of the collection is listed in the “Ariel Cinematographica Register”, a loose-leaf collection of film equipment published by DFF and Peter Ariel.
To visit the Technical Archive, please make an appointment.