Motion Picture Preservation Specialist

Culpeper, Virginia
May 20, 2023
May 27, 2023
Full Time

Evaluates the technical quality of motion picture film elements. Performs inspections representing common problems and established methodology in evaluating routine problems with the preservation of motion picture film elements. Assists in identifying the cause of defects. Performs routine inspections after preservation is complete. Careful to preserve as much of the original content of the film as can be salvaged, the incumbent analyzes the film to determine its format; the stability of the base, binder and emulsion; the quality of image and sound; the extent of shrinkage; the kind and extent of deterioration of both base and emulsion; the physical damage that has been done to the film through projection, printing, improper handling, careless repairs or other misuse. Recognizes the duplication history of each film being preserved including flaws that may have been recorded during previous copying.

Prepares the film for printing by measuring the footage of scenes and overall length of the film; determines if the film is correctly synchronized for sound. Identifies defects in nitrate film - i.e., full perforation splices, non-standard perforations, high shrinkage, etc., and relates the problems found in the film to the potential problems that would be incurred in the printing process because of the particular type of defect present. Ensures the proper identification of film by annotating leaders. Cleans the film either on an ultrasonic cleaning machine or if necessary, by hand. Ensures that ultrasonic cleaning machine is operating at peak efficiency. Prepares written reports on the condition of the film in a format consistent with established laboratory practice so that it may be entered into the automated database.

Sets equipment parameters and conducts testing as needed. Determines the best equipment for printing. Operates optical and contact printing machines, monitors and corrects the machine to be sure the film passes through properly and that the machine is running at a speed appropriate to the reproduction of the best image or sound quality.

Performs advanced darkroom duties and minor maintenance on equipment. Cleans, oils, makes minor repairs and adjustments to motion picture film equipment, accessories, and automatic film processing machine. Maintains adequate supply of expendables and keeps the Laboratory Supervisor apprised of forecasted shortfalls. Performs other related duties as required.

Performs standard darkroom duties such as operating automatic film processing machines and related processing systems, performing densitometric testing of rawstocks and mixing and replenishing processing chemicals. Replenishes processing chemicals, film and other supplies. Maintains records and reports equipment in need of repair. Requests and stocks supplies.


Conditions of Employment

Library of Congress employees are prohibited from using illegal drugs, including marijuana. The Library is part of the Federal Government and abides by federal law, so regardless of individual state or District of Columbia laws, marijuana use is illegal, considered criminal activity, and can affect your employment at the Library. In addition, past or current drug use and activities (e.g., selling or distributing) may deem you ineligible for employment.


Applicants must have had progressively responsible experience and training sufficient in scope and quality to furnish them with an acceptable level of the following knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the duties of the position without more than normal supervision.

Ability to operate motion picture printing equipment, including both optical and contact printers.**

Skill in operating and monitoring motion picture film cleaning and processing and related equipment, including mixing chemistry.**

Knowledge of motion picture film, types, formats, and gauges in preparing nitrate and safety film for duplication and preservation.**

Ability to organize and execute work projects and related tasks.

Ability to communicate effectively other than in writing.

Additional information

Although it is the Library's policy to afford the maximum pay benefit to employees when setting rates of pay, a new appointee who has had no previous Federal service will generally be paid at step one of the grade.

The Library of Congress is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applicants must submit a complete application package that is received by the closing date of this announcement.

Appointment/retention is subject to a favorable evaluation of an appropriate personnel security/suitability investigation. For more information, please see: Vetting Process

This agency provides reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please email The decision on granting reasonable accommodation will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants with disabilities may be considered under special hiring procedures and must submit an appropriate certificate of eligibility when applying for this position. The proof or disability/certification may be issued by the State Vocational Rehabilitation Office, Disability Services or Career Services office of the applicant's college or university, or the Department of Veterans Affairs. The letter must verify that the applicant has a severe disability and must be dated within three years of the date of the application. Certification from health care providers are not accepted. For more information contact the Library's Office of EEO/Diversity Programs at 202-707-6024 or email FAILURE TO SUBMIT YOUR CERTIFICATION WILL CAUSE YOUR APPLICATION TO NOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE SELECTIVE PLACEMENT PROGRAM.

The Library of Congress is the national library of the United States and is part of the Legislative Branch of the Federal government. As such, all positions are in the excepted service.

The Library reserves the right to fill a lesser or greater number of vacancies indicated during the life of this vacancy announcement.

Initial permanent appointments to the Library of Congress require completion of a one-year probationary period. Probationary periods served at other Federal agencies do not count toward this requirement.

The Library of Congress may offer repayment for all or part of federally insured student loans. However, not all service units within the Library of Congress participates in the repayment of federally insured student loans. Therefore, determination to repay a federally insured student loan is subject to approval by the appropriate service unit.

Are you a veteran? Please indicate the type of veterans' preference you are claiming in your application materials and/or applicant profile and provide the appropriate supporting documentation to validate your claim. Those applying for 5-point preference must submit Member Copy 4 of your DD 214. Those applying for 10-point preference must fill out an SF-15 (click here for the form) and provide the required documentation listed on the back of the form. If required supporting documentation is not attached, Veterans' Preference will not be considered in the application process.

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